›› True Love: an anthology of seven gay short films, written and directed by Michael J Saul. ‹‹
True Love by Michael J Saul True Love: an anthology of seven gay short films,
written and directed by Michael J Saul.

2004 | 72 mins | US

›› A Christmas Story

›› Going Gay

›› History

›› Sunday

›› He Was Perfect

›› Staying Together

›› A Little Drama

see also:
www.michaelsaul.com
Moving away from the traditional gay film per se, writer and director Michael J Saul opted to shoot seven individual short films and compile them ensemble fashion, with no connection cast or plot wise between them. The result is this highly personalised short film programme, a work of mixed tone and narrative, as devoted to le véritable amour.

Or so the title would imply. Only therein lies the irony of this cinematic anthology, given relatively few of the shorts featured are concerned with a love that is true. Rather what is on show are aspects of gay life; from growing up to growing old, to falling in and I dare say out of love itself.

With cast credits confined to the opening and closing reels, feature fashion, self-contained stories are left free to take to the spotlight, with as ever personal preferences defining the work you may come to favour, above others. What is consistent however is the creative dedication from Saul to this project, one that took over a year to film, dependant upon weekend shoots when both cast and crew were available to donate their time to the adventures of the homosexual heart.

The following are summary reviews to each of the seven works aired, listed in their order of presentation, with promotional footage featured at the bottom of the page. Enjoy.

 ›› A Christmas Story ±

 a short film by Michael J Saul
 2004 | 4 mins | US
 a trans-tender Christmas styled appetizer.
A Christmas Story by Michael J Saul Set in 1969 and devoid of words, this over before you know it tale showcases a loving mother fussing over her son and daughter, whilst an off-screen father films his family opening their Christmas presents, Super-8 style. That their son is more interested in his sisterís frilly party dress and make-up rather than his manly gifts, results in an ending that should arrive as no surprise. A trans-tender Christmas styled appetizer, if ever there was one.
 starring: Rachel Leah Cohen / Mother, Rachel Hirschfield / Daughter,
 Alin Silcock / Son and Craig Weiffenbach as the Father.
 ›› check out the promo videos.
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 2+ stars. 

 ›› Going Gay ±

 a short film by Michael J Saul
 2004 | 12 mins | US
 a telling work on a broken heart, first crush style.
Going Gay by Michael J Saul In this poignant short, a father and son share a car journey from hell, as the father comes to question the sexuality of his son following an overnight stay with his best friend. In short, this is as much a piece on adolescent sexual experimentation, as it is about love and rejection. It is also a work in two acts, with the first part profoundly cutting to the core as to why so many gay teenagers end up as runaways when faced with the intolerant mind of a homophobic parent, whilst the second act perfectly reflects the nature of its title. For just who is going gay here? And what if in the process, you find yourself going down that road alone? A telling work on sexual identity and of a broken heart, first crush style.
 starring: Michael Jerome West / Father, Tyler Marks aka
 Mark Weathers / James and Michael Bierman as Greg.
 ›› check out the promo videos.
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

 ›› History ±

 a short film by Michael J Saul
 2004 | 17 mins | US
 a bittersweet short on dark events of the past.
History by Michael J Saul Beginning light in tone but soon turning dark, this bittersweet short details the strained relationship between Kevin, a young post graduate opting for a career in law and his affectionate Uncle Byron. Yet not everything is as it appears, when events of the past return to haunt them. With seasoned actor Sewell Whitney giving an assured performance in a difficult role, this compelling work deals with and cue the cinematic spoiler, the ugly face of child abuse. Only this is a piece that raises more questions, than it answers, in particular regarding the issue of whether Uncle Byron is guilty or not, of the child molestation accusations brought against him. And here I suspect that many would have preferred Saul to have delivered a directorial verdict, rather than present a hung jury, paving the way for a resolution that is just too neat and tidy, given the gravity of the charges raised. That said, this remains a well executed piece on a subject that by its very nature, makes for disturbing viewing.
 starring: Michael James Crowley / Kevin and Sewell Whitney / Uncle Byron,
 with: Tom Martin / Friend and Robert Da Rocha as the Waiter.
 ›› check out the promo videos.
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

 ›› Sunday ±

 a short film by Michael J Saul
 2004 | 4 mins | US
 devotion of the long-term variety, true love style.
Sunday by Michael J Saul A Sunday lie-in heralds an anniversary celebration in this charming, if all too short tale on love of the long-term variety. Frankly it ends all too soon, having ever so briefly, if lovingly, showcased the devotion of two middle aged men to each other, when one wakes up to greet their big day, whilst the other is still asleep. Or is he? True love, indeed.
 starring: Gregg Richardson as Gregg and Bob Cortez as Bob.
 ›› check out the promo videos.
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

 ›› He Was Perfect ±

 a short film by Michael J Saul
 2004 | 14 mins | US
 the raw emotions of love, hurt and betrayal.
He Was Perfect by Michael J Saul Living in a gay frat house, Lonnieís roommate is determined that his best friend is not going to spend the night alone. Only what's this boy to do, when Lonnie has set his heart, love and romance fashion on a cutie he saw earlier in the week, but who probably has a boyfriend. And sure enough it isnít long before the man of Lonnieís sexual longing turns up on their boys night out; albeit with his partner ever present. A sure case of look, but donít touch. Or is it? For in a work that plays heavily on looks and reflections, star of the show Heath Daniels of Go Go Reject fame delights as Lonnie, along the way flying the rainbow coloured flag with some car styled man sex, his character seemingly hooked on a guy that clearly has other things on his mind. The result is a piece ingrained with the raw emotions of love, hurt and betrayal, when the man of your dreams turns out to be, far from perfect.
 starring: Heath Daniels / Lonnie, Ethan Mechare / Drew, Cameron Northey / Spence,
 Joshua Ziel / Rudy, Damian Pelliccione / Grant and Marques Maben as Mickey.
 ›› check out the promo videos.
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

 ›› Staying Together ±

 a short film by Michael J Saul
 2004 | 8 mins | US
 an emotional work on love and commitment.
Staying Together by Michael J Saul A choice remark from an ex boyfriend causes trouble at a birthday party, in this emotional work on love and commitment. For Mark and Will are lovers of the long-term variety, only rather than be filled with joy on his day of celebration, Mark gets the blues, questioning why his boyfriend is still with him? Namely whether heís staying with him for all of the wrong, as against the right reasons? Naturally played by its youthful cast, this touching piece charts the ups and downs of a relationship and how the caring words of a partner can, as in real life, overcome any such feelings of doubt. A lesson on love, indeed.
 starring: John Ainsworth / Will, Alex Wyatt / Mark, Alec Sanford / Taylor,
 Jack Waldron / Alex's Boyfriend, Bree Purcell / Sandra
 and Bryan Nelson as Alex.
 ›› check out the promo videos.
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

 ›› A Little Drama ±

 a short film by Michael J Saul
 2004 | 7 mins | US
 O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?
A Little Drama by Michael J Saul Essentially a play within a play, this ever so likeable short, like the work Dare charts a lighting boy's love for the star of the stage. In this case, such longing looks are directed at the Romeo, rather than the Juliet in a schools' production of the Shakespearean classic. Only is the actress playing Juliet, the sole member of the cast and crew destined to be kissed by the leading man? Set to the dramatic operatic score of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, this dialogue free piece is as sweet and tender as they come. No surprise then that Saul wisely chose to conclude his cinematic anthology with this delectable ode to romance. "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?" - indeed.
 starring: Brett A Newton / Lighting Boy, Ryan Thomas / Romeo and Carlita Pena Herrera /
 Juliet, Cameron Lee / Mercutio and Ben Milner as Tybalt, with: Carolyn Standish /
 Teacher, Elizabeth Eyler / Jenna, Charlotte-Ann Bulow / Susan and Cohen as Ron.
 ›› check out the promo videos.
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 
Overall: a varied mix of pleasing narratives, merits and tones, clearly made on a limited budget, but equally written and directed from the heart. For that is what hits you here, that of a set of stories that are remarkably true to life, having run the gauntlet of emotions; from joy to pain and from laughter to tears. Five years later, Saul returned to the anthology format and released Crush; a work of four shorts devoted to the emotions and colours found in gay relationships. Need more be said?
 And now over to the promotional footage ...
   
Official US Trailer   Official German Trailer   Michael J Saul Director's Reel 2010
Copyright 2010 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #343
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