May 5, 2009

Have you seen Shelter?

If the 2007 movie Shelter had screened here in the country, I definitely wouldn’t think twice about watching it in the cinema. But as it is, I had to resort to downloading the film and watching it last Christmas break. Anyway, Shelter is a gay-oriented movie about a young man named Zack who discovers he might be gay and develops a relationship with Shaun, his best friend’s older brother who came back home. Zack then struggles to balance his commitments to his family and his dreams of going to art school while contending with his feelings for Shaun.

The plot is actually pretty flat compared to other movies that tackle similar themes. I’m also actually surprised by the relative lack of homophobia displayed by characters in the film. Then again, the setting is coastal California, Prop 8 notwithstanding. So despite the simplistic storyline and the lack of any really deep conflicts, I still ended up liking the movie a lot. I guess I’m just accustomed to watching lots gay movies having sad or tragic endings (Brokeback Mountain being the classical popular example) that seeing a lighthearted feel-good film for a change was very much welcome.

Well, it also helps that the actors playing Zack (Trevor Wright) and Shaun (Brad Rowe) were both yummy, making the movie very likable. Hehe. The sex scenes are solidly R-13 but the passionate kisses are really sweet and just right.

The existence of foreign gay indie movies like Shelter and Boy Culture really makes me wonder why local indie filmmakers can hardly create films of similar quality. While there’s a place for sex, sex and even more sex, a good polished story with tight film-making can win audiences just the same and even garner awards in international film festivals. Out of the several Pinoy gay indie films I’ve seen in the past year, most haven’t been really satisfying at all.


vintage versace and vodka wrote on May 8, 2009 at 2:01 AM:

I totally love this one! so much so, that I have it on my ipod, along with get real, beautiful thing, latter days, and rock haven. lol.
I couldn't agree more with your thoughts :D
I recently made a post on this too...

Vince wrote on May 8, 2009 at 2:11 AM:

VVV, hmmm. I've only seen Latter Days among the movies you've listed. I guess I'll have to see tho others. :-)

Anonymous wrote on May 8, 2009 at 1:39 PM:

Shelter's story and execution was to make us fall in love with the confused artist/ surfer, Zack. While the complete polar opposite was the sister who was completely unlikable. It's a "chick flick" for gay men. :P

Why can't we make something like this locally? It's all about balancing budget and earnings and piracy and laziness. Most indie film maker would not risk losing the small amount of money they have to make something that will not be a crowd drawer. Sex sells. Some indie film makers however forget that one can have gratuitous showing of the flesh and still dish out a decent story.

ML wrote on May 9, 2009 at 2:14 AM:

I really liked this movie. It really set me in a good mood. I liked how it wasn't heavy on the drama.

VVV mentioned Beatiful Thing. You should look for this film. It is definitely my favorite gay themed movie. It's pretty old though. I think it was made in 1996...but i'm sure it's somewhere online.

I didn't really enjoy Boy Culture. I'm not a fan of allan brocka. His other film Eating Out was prettu bad too. Yes, there's alot of eye candy in both these films, but there's also a lot of awful acting.

Recently I watched Save Me. I was intrigued by the poster. It's a pretty dark image of a guy holding a crucufix to his head as if it were a gun. The actual movie wasn't as impressive as the poster, but still worth the watch.

For the Bible Tells Me so is a documentary that's gay-themed. It's an excellent documentary about how people have dealt with religion and homosexuality. It's very interesting, and cathartic. Religious or not - everyone can learn something from this film. This is a must see.

Vince wrote on May 11, 2009 at 2:03 AM:

Tony, "chick flick for gay men"! Tumpak! :-D I don't mind the gratuitous sex, but at least make the story decent, right? As for chick-flick type of films, I guess that's why I liked Kambyo too.

ML, thanks for the additional tips! I'll be definitely looking into these titles. For the Bible Tells Me So seems to be pretty interesting.