In Dutch filmmaker Daan Bol’s documentary short Straight With You (Niet Op Meisjes) we’re asked to consider questions of what it means to be different and to have a secret through the eyes of an eleven year boy.
Playing as part of the Empathy: Pass it on shorts program at this year’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Straight With You was created as Bol’s graduation film from The Netherland’s Utrecht School of Arts in 2012. The film tells the story of preteen Melvin who even at the age of eleven has discovered that he is gay. Out to his parents who are surprisingly comfortable with this realization given their son’s age, Bol spends most of his time on the casual acceptance that Melvin, his family and friends have for this revelation rather than Melvin’s biggest fear: what would happen if he came out to his peers at school.
It is in that casual acceptance where Straight With You finds its biggest strength and is highlighted by his coming out to his classmate Yentel, who has recently sent him a love poem. Not sure how to respond, Melvin takes the big step of telling her that he prefers boys. Accepting Melvin’s revelation as casually as if he had told her he preferred chocolate over vanilla, Yentel vows not to tell anyone else his secret.
“You feel free when you’ve told someone that you’re gay because they know something that you don’t have to be ashamed of anymore,” says Melvin at the conclusion of the film. A powerful message learned so young and why you can’t help but wish every young gay man would be as lucky to have a Yentel in their lives.
A sweet message of hope for future generations that may be more willing to
simply accept, the big downside of Straight With You comes in its
Straight With You (part of the Empathy: Pass it on shorts program)
2013 DOXA Documentary Film Festival
Vancity Theatre – Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 1:00pm
Visit http://www.doxa.ca for tickets and more information.