Todd Haynes takes us into a forbidden realm of childhood sexuality. Haynes' work is some of the most original, unique and provocative material that can be seen in American cinemas today. He has resurrected the melodrama and elevated it into cutting-edge Queer Cinema.
A really beautiful short by Todd Haynes, positioning him as a kind of early 90s "suburban absurdist"—New Queer Cinema's answer to Tim Burton, say, with similar eye for kitsch and affection for stifled weirdos. His big themes are here—repression, pop culture, and the relation between people and themselves—but in such a compact, inviting form that it also serves to explain his longer, more complicated films.
His acumen for mid-century melodrama combines with his keen intellectual sense. The way those sharply angled shots of our hero scrawling the curls of his television idol on blank paper, bought by parents who were content with blankness, comes to represent desire for me more than any Brokeback. Understands the silence of childhood as the silence of gayness. Hard to say where the dream ends and the melodrama begins.
A self-exposing inquiry into the sexual fluidity of pre-pubescence and its relation to the Freudian imaginary. It captures the indeterminacy and confusion associated with our earliest stages of sexual exploration, the plasticity of sexual identity, and the way private fantasies gradually transform into a source of shame, self-loathing, and repression. Haunting and heartbreaking.
It's always really difficult for me to watch this, but this time around I was acutely aware of Steven's desire — particularly after he sees Dottie assume control over a spanking scene in the studio. Steven's fantasies are way more compelling than his shame.