a poignant piece on the rise in the HIV infection rate
Beginning with the quotation "nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul" from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, this unsettling, yet equally poignant piece sees writer and director Julian Breece deliver a thought provoking sermon on AIDS, only not in any shape or form as previously seen.
For here Breece has gone for the jugular, by deliberately telling the story of sexually charged Karel Andrews; a promiscuous HIV negative African-American who rather than rejoice in his status, is on a mission to get infected by way of his seduction of an older HIV position man, now turned prevention advocate. Although as to why he is hell bent on playing with fire, determined to get burned in the process, is never fully explained or at least, made clear. Or is it?
For by discussing the issue of why anyone would intentionally set out to be infected with HIV, others factors are raised in the cinematic conversation, not least of which is a desperate need for human contact - at any price. That Vaughn Lowery plays to a tee the part of a lost soul dicing with death, brought up in a homophobic community tarred with religious extremism, only adds to the disturbing nature of the narrative.
And yet this is far from being a sombre short. For in this well-executed work Breece takes delight in playing with his audience, along the way adding some neat touches, ncluding a surprise tableaux model conclusion. That said and whatever way you look at it, at heart this is a lecture on the alarming rise in the HIV infection rate, namely a problem that many young men, regardless of their ethnic background, simply prefer not to talk about, even when the topic itself is one that frankly cannot be raised enough. And if this short makes anyone, black or white, think twice about playing Russian roulette with their life, then it's a job well done from a filmmaker who clearly has a point to make.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue - 'Boys on Film 3: American Boy' release
starring: Vaughn Lowery, Diana Jordan, Heather Halley, Les ‘Eljay’ Jennings, Raja, Eric Pumphrey, Mark Berry
Thugs: Reggie Watkins as 'The One' with Michael Oliver Perry, Antonio Ramirez, Carlos Taylor
Tableaux Models: Cedric Hagler, Ryan Gill, Trey Richardson, KC Cardwell, Jovan Garrell,
Michael Carter, Charlie Butler, Devaughn Rattery, Sheldon Baily, Michael Foster