›› Iris Prize Film Festival 2023 highlight reviews ‹‹

›› Ticker ‹‹

a short film by Thom Petty.

2023 | 9 mins | UK.

a touching depiction of an aging long-term relationship.

Dave says:

From writer and director Thom Petty comes this touching depiction of an aging long-term relationship.

For Howard (Paul Copley) and Joseph (Ian Gelder) have been together for more years, than they care to remember. Devoted to each other for four decades, their love has not surprisingly taken a backseat to the never-ending duties of tending to their farm, with their few moments alone together other than meal times, being walks in the lush countryside that surrounds their Staffordshire farm. Only all that is about to change when Joseph's health takes a turn for the worse. Now clearly out of breath and finding it increasingly difficult to undertake the demanding work that was once so easy, a high risk operation on his heart is the order of the day. Only in driving his partner to the hospital, could a mix tape from decades ago provide the two with the opportunity to rekindle their love for each other?

With so many films devoted to the beauty of youth, it's so refreshing, if not something of a gay cinematic rarity to find a short film that opts instead to showcase the love between a pair of elderly men. And here Petty has gone out of his way to show just that, with Copley and Gelder wonderfully natural in their roles, as the genuine love and friendship between the two men shines through every frame of this all too short, short film.

Complete with the timeless classic that is The Communards' Donít Leave Me This Way, frankly I wanted to see more, given the narrative could have taken many an interesting direction. What we do see however is a perfect example of how two men who have obviously lived through times when gay rights were but an aspiration, as against a reality, got on with their lives in their somewhat furtive styled relationship, as seen in the telling closing scene when Joseph says goodbye to Howard. Whether or not that's just a goodbye, or a final goodbye would be saying. What can be said is that this simple, but ever so tender love story is a pure joy to watch.

Gay Visibility - covert | Nudity - none | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

›› Before He ‹‹

a short film by Thom Petty.

2019 | 10 mins | UK.

the unconditional love that a father held for his son to his dying day.

Dave says:

Not an Iris Prize nominee, but as I'm in a Thom Petty mode, here's a review of an earlier work written, directed and starring the man himself. And once again it's a telling relationship drama that here focuses on the parental love of a father, only for such to arrive too late to be reciprocated.

Too late being the fact that the father in question, has passed away. Arriving home from the funeral reception, a grieving mother, nicely played by Lindsay Eavis, welcomes her son's ex partner Luke (Gareth Bennett-Ryan) into her home, only for her son Andrew (Petty) to want to have nothing to do with the man who cheated on him. Yet Luke is on a mission, having travelled to the funeral service to not only pay his respects to a man who was more like a father to him, but to say something, or rather show something, that's set to throw a whole new light on how accepting Andrew's father was of his son's relationship with another man.

Well-played throughout, if a little stagy in parts and notably devoid of a backstory to the central father and son relationship, this nonetheless makes for a simple, yet ever so touching story on the unconditional love that a father held for his son, to his dying day. Little else remains to be said; other than the need to tell those you love how you feel about them, before it's too late to do so. But then, that's to state the obvious.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - none | Overall - file under ... 3 stars

›› copyright © 2023 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com ‹‹
›› archive reference #IrisPrize2023 ‹‹
donations are the lifeblood of Gay Celluloid;
every drop helps keep it online - thank you :)