Toronto
2 min

Short & sweet

Pop goes the cherry

WITTY PARANOIA. The Virile Man, one of the few queer offerings at the Worldwide Short Film Festival. Credit: Xtra files

There are a few homo flicks worth checking out at the Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival running at various venues during the second week of May.



Required viewing: Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay’s Live To Tell, in which Nemerofsky Ramsay works with themes, structures and ideas that he has been developing for some time – pop music, multiple frames, camp, the artist himself as multiple subject, among others. With this work, these themes collide and intersect in the most impressive way to date.



Sixteen frames (four by four) make up the image, each showing the same room from a different high angle; in each, the artist appears performing various tasks (sweeping, for example), dancing and singing Madonna’s “Live To Tell” to the camera. The singing is the basic organizing principle, with some of the Bennys singing in unison while the others go about their other business; patterns emerge (squares, crosses, colums, rows). Then (and this is the genius moment) suddenly all 16 Bennys sing to the camera at the same time.



This moment satisfies a desire you aren’t aware of until it comes; the result is shockingly moving – suddenly you’re all sniffly because of the squishiest, most maudlin of Madonna tunes. Pop, Nemerofsky Ramsay shows us by letting it creep up unannounced to yank at our jaded heartstrings, is in our bones, like it or not (screens at 1:30pm on Wed, May 12 and 9:15pm on May 14 at Isabel Bader; 93 Charles St W).



Barbara Marheineke’s E-mail Express is a German big-dick joke. Like all jokes about grosse schwanze, you can’t help but laugh (if you’re a man; in my experience, women generally find men’s endless chatter about the hugeness of their endowments tolerable at best), but there isn’t a whole lot of substance here. Sebastian mistakenly e-mails a picture of his cock, with text reading “size does matter,” to every address at the advertising firm he works for – it was intended, of course, for last night’s trick. Chaos ensues. Cute (midnight, Fri, May 14 and 15 at Isabel Bader).



The other short I particularly like is David Zellner’s The Virile Man, in which a straight father of two hides in the closet with a phone to call a psychic because he wants to know what to do about this “really good guy” with whom he works, plays racquetball, fucks and sucks.



This is a well-scripted, nicely timed film – it throws out a couple of obvious but well-done jokes about men’s fear of emasculation and makes good use of the inanity of the psychic’s “reading.” But far more interesting is its take on the fears straight/married men have about their man-on-man affairs. This fellow isn’t worried that he’s gay or that he’ll catch something; he isn’t repulsed by his behaviour and isn’t denying what happened. He’s solely concerned – paranoid, in fact – that people will find out. This is a refreshingly honest look at the difficulty of being a straight guy who likes to give head: The problems come from outside and they are laughable, but terrifying (9:30pm, May 12 at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave, and 1:30pm, May 15 at Isabel Bader).



WORLDWIDE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL.

$8.50. Tue, May 11-16.

(416) 445-1446 ext 815.

Worldwideshortfilmfest.com.