Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. Just not your same-sex couples. So it goes in America’s ongoing battle with the tinkering of the marriage definition. Filmmaker Jim VanDeventer explores the impact of US State ballot measures, including Prop 8 in California, on four couples in their documentary short, Love Exiled which plays as part of From Coast to Coast is Queer at the 2010 Vancouver Queer Film Festival.
Shorts by their very nature are difficult, with a limited time to tell a story with a complete beginning, middle and end. Documentary shorts are made even more
challenging because most times the subject matter can be so broad that it can only
begin to scratch the surface of a particular issue.
VanDeventer does a good job providing us with as complete a picture that his
almost twelve minutes can allow. By focusing on just four couples, VanDeventer ensures that the viewer is able to reach some empathy with the subjects, providing us with some background to their relationships, why it was important for them to move to Canada to have their relationships officially recognized, and finally why they want to someday return to the USA.
Interspersed with the interviews are clips from a Prop 8 rally held in May 2009 organized by the film’s producer Roger Chin. While sometimes repetitive, the juxtaposition of the rally footage with the personal interviews provides a solid foundation for the film to tell both its factual and personal story.
I did find the filmmaker somewhat manipulative in his use of the young Kenzie to plead the case as well as somewhat self-indulgent in the use of the final minutes for their
own. But despite my small quibbles, I admit to an immense sense of pride as
I watched these men and women talking emotionally about how they were welcomed to Canada with open arms.
Chin and VanDeventer assert that the reason for the movie, the rally and their ongoing activism, despite neither being American, is to ensure we do not lose focus of the fragility the rights of a minority really are. Through their film Chin and VanDeventer not only effectively tell us why their crusade is important, but they do it in the simplest and most powerful of terms: through the eyes of those living it.
Saturday, 21 August 2010 @ 6:30pm (part of From Coast to Coast is Queer)
Visit http://www.queerfilmfestival.ca for more information and tickets.