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[whitespace] 'Boys to Men'
Coming to Terms: Bert Kramer looks to a priest (Christopher Liebe) to ease his last days in 'The Confession.'

Delicate 'Confession'

Carl Pfirman's short drama winds up of 'Boys to Men' compilation

By Richard von Busack

THE TRADITIONAL WAY to organize a package of short films is to save the best for last. The quartet of gay-themed films that makes up Boys to Men is no exception to this rule. The best of the lot is the fourth film, the 22-minute-long The Confession, by Carl Pfirman, which played earlier this year at Cinequest. I've got nothing but praise for this remarkably assured short about a lover's quarrel. Joseph (Bert Kramer) is on his deathbed and knows it. He requests the services of a priest, much to the scorn of his lover of some 30 years, Caesar (Tom Fitzpatrick). The priest, Father Marcus (Christopher Liebe), is as good-looking as he is callow. While he's kind, he doesn't yield on the church's teachings about homosexuality. Pfirman handles three touchy, oft-prettied-up subjects--terminal illness, gay love and Catholicism--with evenhandedness and delicacy.

The other three features include ... Lost, a sexually explicit film about an afternoon tryst; it is titillating but preachy. The Mountain King, a well-staged story that's a softer version of ... Lost tells of an encounter between a straight married man (Jon Sloan) and a nervy $40-a-trick hustler (Paul Dawson).

The opening film--The Crush (not to be confused with the witty Alicia Silverstone thriller or Alison McClean's cool New Zealand mystery)--is Boys to Men's other highlight. Filmed in Carthage, Ill., it tells of a summer crush of a precocious 12-year-old girl (Ema A. Tuennerman) on a slightly older boy, Robbie (Brett Chukerman): you've heard of the kind of boy who never came out of the closet, because he was never in? It's an endearing comic story. Tuennerman, who has the slight affectedness of the professional kid actor, uses this theatrical quality well in depicting a young, bright girl's exuberance. Amusing, too, to imagine how a melodramatic director would treat this story material of a party of drinking and truth-or-dare playing at a young age. Director Phillip J. Bartell, like director Pfirman, has a bright future.

Boys to Men (Unrated; 75 min.), a collection of short films, opens Friday at the Towne Theater in San Jose.

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From the August 9-15, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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