Following the success of his acclaimed short Teddy, writer and director Christopher Banks turned his attention to the plight of a young Orthodox Jew struggling to reconcile his religious and sexual callings, only to raise the dramatic bar by showcasing his burgeoning sexuality in the form of the close friendship between two men of varying age.
Told from the reflective mindset of Jacob, we encounter this young man as he finds himself bequeath the estate of his former university lecturer Andrew. Taking a commemorative tour of a property once visited, memories come flooding back as objects on display vividly recall times past spent with a man only too happy to court the affections of a youth, yearning for a career in public relations. Only it is their relationship that this telling work plays with.
Based on a one-act play by David Blakey and optioned, reworked and filmed within six weeks following its Auckland staging, this touching short is dominated by the theme of inner struggles, as Andrew's on / off relationship with his brash boyfriend Charles, is countered by his feelings for a young man who in himself, is clearly finding it difficult to come to terms with his path, both sexual and otherwise, in life. To that end, Rudi Vodanovich is pitch-perfect as shy and somewhat naïve Jacob, leaving Alexander Campbell to shine as his opposing number in the form of worldly-wise, if in love Andrew.
Beautifully shot, scored and backed by a series of picturesque vistas of New Zealand in all of its Whangaparaoan beauty, here we find Banks as ever priding himself on the art of storytelling, having opted to close his work with a series of flashbacks to scenes previously undisclosed, so as to answer the question that is on everyone's mind. Only for all of the pros of this delightful piece, the inheritance aspect of the story signals right from the onset that tragedy is but a reel away, as a failure of communication, that of not saying what's truly in your heart, results in a work ingrained with the emotions of love, longing and regret. A lesson in life, indeed.
Gay Visibility - covert / overt.
Nudity - strictly from the waist up.
Overall - file under ... 4 stars.