This collection of shorts about queer women claims to be "sexy and
romantic," but is mostly neither. Fortunately, a few of the films are
engaging and kind of sweet.
Directed by Abbe Robinson, 10 minutes, United
Pop quiz: name the least "sexy and romantic" animals to
center your "sexy and romantic" lesbian short film around. Answer:
cockroaches. In this modern-day queer fairy tale, a woman suffering from a
cockroach infestation summons the pied piper to lead them from her apartment.
Surprisingly, the pied piper turns out to be an adorable, sprite-ly chick who
puts more than cockroaches under her spell. Fairly low production values and a
clichéd ending help the cockroaches sink this short.
Directed by Louise Runge, 12 minutes, United
In this artful, atmospheric short, casual snooping gives rise to
outright stalking between two women in an L.A. apartment complex. Nicely
composed shots and a good score help set the mood, and the dialogue
appropriately creates interactions as awkward as being stalked probably would
be. Unfortunately, The Uninvited feels extremely unfinished, almost as if
the production ran out of ideas or money 12 minutes into a good story.
Directed by Tamika Miller, 23 minutes, United
By far the best offering on She Likes Girls, Sarang
Song traces the relationship between two black female activists during a
tumultuous period of racial strife at UCLA in 1972. Simone is the leader of a
student group fighting for civil rights and racial equality, but her obsessive
focus on her activism—and the extreme measures she eventually takes to
support it—threaten to end her relationship with her girlfriend, Nessa.
Director Tamika Miller packs the 23 minutes of Sarang Song with great
acting, efficient transitions, smooth camerawork, creative set design, and
really fun '70s costumes. She touches on the tension between violent and
non-violent approaches in the racial activism of the period, and even includes
controversial professor Angela Davis as a character. As a small political gripe,
Miller fails to mention the challenges facing female—and especially queer
female—activists within the civil rights organizations. But in light of
how muc h she does cover, perhaps for once this was an appropriate issue
to leave on the back burner.
Directed by Amy Burt, 22 minutes, Canada
sweet story about puppy love and loyalty, tomboy Kit pursues her crush on her
schoolmate Holly by breaking into her empty house and snooping around. While Kit
wants to explore and leave (even taking a minute to tidy up Holly's room), her
bored and annoying friend Mike decides to trash the living room. After fleeing
the scene, Kit has to decide how to face Holly and whether to turn Mike in for
the crime. As Kit, Leah Ostrey is adorable, especially when she dresses in drag
as John Lennon to woo Holly.
Directed by Meredyth Wilson, 18 minutes, United
High school angst abounds in this story about an awkward, dykey
guitarist who is infatuated with her band's female bassist. Matilda soothes her
crush by doing drugs, blowing off school and her family, and playing the guitar.
Mirroring its apathetic characters, the film doesn't elicit strong positive or
negative feelings. But it does come to the nicely understated and
subject-appropriate conclusion that sometimes people who seem to be cool are
lame and vice versa.
Directed by Fiona Mackenzie, 15 minutes, United
The showcase film of She Likes Girls is a real
disappointment, with a shoddy appearance and characters we are asked to care far
too much about too quickly. Belle feels trapped in a dead-end relationship with
her college roommate, Delphine. Nothing much happens for most of the film, and
the sex scene has typical artsy rather than arousing intentions, but there is a
cute puppy featured. Amazing songs from Sia and Joseph Arthur (that you may
recognize from the soundtracks of Six Feet Under and The L Word)
waste their emotion on characters we neither know nor like.
Picture and sound quality varies from short to short on She Likes
Girls. Sarang Song, for example, looks gorgeous and thoughtfully
planned, with soft light and muted earth tones setting the mid-'70s mood.
Cosa Bella, on the other hand, appears consistently washed out and dull,
with inexplicably shaky camera work in the second scene as the most glaring
goof. Sound quality is similarly inconsistent, with dialogue often muffled and
no subtitles to assist. Trailers for other Wolfe DVDs are the only extras.