Join 3,363 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Slow: No More Down Low
September 12, 2011 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Slow is a short film by Darius Clark Monroe that's won best Short at the 2011 Martha's Vineyard African-American Film Festival. You can watch it on Vimeo. [NSFW: Nudity, bad words, reefer]

Some background from Obatala Mawusi,"The audience would be mostly black, and we hoped that Slow would allow for an opportunity to show the black community different shades of humanity and sexuality."
posted by artof.mulata (19 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The reaction, while far from pitchforks and protests, showed us that even as black people expand and reach newer heights, we leave our art behind to dwell in the same shallow pools. We need to embrace all areas of our culture -- this includes homosexuality.
Not for nothing, but depending on the audience, I suspect that people of a certain (conservative) demographic would walk out or react tepidly no matter if the characters were white or black.

That said, it's a poignant bit of film and I think that it accomplished what they set out to do.
posted by disillusioned at 1:44 AM on September 12, 2011


I am what I am. And I really, REALLY like this.
posted by ZaneJ. at 2:19 AM on September 12, 2011


Thanks, can't wait to watch this later.
posted by Theta States at 6:11 AM on September 12, 2011


Great acting in that. Quite liked it.
posted by dazed_one at 6:13 AM on September 12, 2011


Well that was brilliant.
In this age of "down-low brothers" and an abundance of effeminate gay best friends, there are still black people who can't accept gay intimacy. The reaction, while far from pitchforks and protests, showed us that even as black people expand and reach newer heights, we leave our art behind to dwell in the same shallow pools. We need to embrace all areas of our culture -- this includes homosexuality
I'm hesitant to say this is true of almost all audiences for the simple reason that every discussion about non-white, non-straight things usually has a few of us straight white people piping up to say how this affects them. But it's always struck me how there is an incredible lack of gay intimacy in mainstream culture. Not so much that it does not exist, but how utterly absent it is. Progressive/liberal/whatever audiences very rarely discuss what is such an incredible absence on a purely statistical level. We don't just need more examples of gay intimacy, we need some.

As for the film, to explore the audiences expectations in that way and still feel non-manipulative was astonishing.
posted by fullerine at 6:25 AM on September 12, 2011


I was unimpressed. I give Monroe credit for making the film and not doing all the same old same old. Other than that, I was pretty bored.
posted by cashman at 6:46 AM on September 12, 2011


Regardless of the subject matter, I appreciate any media that credits its audience with intelligence and doesn't explain everything like we were 5 year olds. This was great.
posted by desjardins at 7:01 AM on September 12, 2011


I appreciate any media that credits its audience with intelligence and doesn't explain everything like we were 5 year olds. This was great.

Okay, maybe I have the dumb this a.m., or it is a function of vimeo skipping half the film. What element did I miss that made this great?
posted by cashman at 7:12 AM on September 12, 2011


I don't know what makes it great, but I'm a heterosexual white dude and it was totally devastating to me, somehow, for what it's worth. Something about basic human intimacy and how it's mediated by society.
posted by palidor at 7:38 AM on September 12, 2011


Thanks for sharing. I thought it was confusing and thought provoking on many levels. People often joke about the mythical disabled, Black lesbian. Here, we actually had a story about a disabled, Black gay man, perhaps even more mythical -- and he's portrayed as utterly human. Very refreshing.
posted by PigAlien at 8:05 AM on September 12, 2011


If the blindness is metaphor, it is heavy-handed and takes away from the realism if the rest of the film. If it was written in, in the spirit of acknowledging that sometimes people just happen to be blind, too, that distracts from the intensity with which the film presents what I assume to be its main concern: homosexuality in black culture.

If the actor that won the audition just happened to be blind, sweet.

That said, every other aspect of the film was great, and reminded me of one of my favorites: 'Nine Lives' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez' son. If it was '10 Lives', this might have been included.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2011


The one thing that bothered me was that the guy was capable of making a nice dinner without the use of sight, but he walks into a countertop and a chair in his own house. The film had already showed us that he's blind; that part was unrealistic and unnecessary.
posted by desjardins at 8:58 AM on September 12, 2011


I noticed the same thing, desjardins. It took me a bit by surprise. Perhaps the actor really was blind and the set wasn't actually his own apartment, where he would be familiar with the layout... ? I guess they could have re-shot the scene LOL.

I didn't sense the blindness as any kind of metaphor, TheRedArmy, but that doesn't mean it wasn't meant to be. I'm curious for what it might be a metaphor. It also didn't seem like just a meaningless detail thrown in to show that some people happen to be blind.

It seems that the blindness was just one tool used to challenge the viewer's expectations. What are those expectations? I'm just throwing some out there for thought... Do gay men go online to hook up? Do gay men only want sex when they hook up? Are the lines between hooking up and dating blurring in the age of online connections? Are black men all sexually aggressive? Can there be room for forgiveness when sexually assaulted? Did the trick know the other guy was blind before he came over, and did that give him more license to get aggressive?

Just some thoughts. I feel like there are many more wrapped up in this little package.
posted by PigAlien at 9:38 AM on September 12, 2011


My guess at the blindness metaphor, if there is one, is merely the gay black man who is ready to rock and be open and experience passion and physical intimacy and sex with other black men is can see. The gay black man who has not allowed these things within himself is 'blind.'

I hope it's more than that.

Also, did it seem like there was some CG to make the blind guy's eyes shine at the dinner table? Or else, doesn't that mean he is at risk of some serious brain problem?!
posted by TheRedArmy at 11:16 AM on September 12, 2011


'is can see' was a typo---not trying to sound like a lolcat. :(
posted by TheRedArmy at 11:17 AM on September 12, 2011


Martha's Vineyard African-American Film Festival

I think I'm REALLY confused about the demographic of people that live/vacay in martha's vineyard.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:41 AM on September 12, 2011


Out of morbid curiosity: African-Americans make up 3.1% of the residents of Dukes County (which includes Martha's Vineyard). Mixed-race persons of which one of the races is African-American* make up 1.7% of the population. Source: 2010 Census

*apologies for possibly atrocious grammar
posted by desjardins at 9:03 AM on September 13, 2011


I think I'm REALLY confused about the demographic of people that live/vacay in martha's vineyard.
There's a tradition that goes back to the 19th century of members of the East Coast black upper class summering in Oak Bluffs. This has received a lot of attention recently because of the Obamas' decision to vacation in Martha's Vineyard.
posted by craichead at 5:33 AM on September 14, 2011


I think I'm REALLY confused about the demographic of people that live/vacay in martha's vineyard.

Oak Bluffs has historically had a large African American summer presence.


posted by shushufindi at 8:51 PM on September 15, 2011


« Older The Digital Antiquarian discusses ludic narrative ...  |  In the year 2040, America's ec... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments