Saturday, April 26, 2008
The first screening we attended this year included the short "$4 Haircut" -- which is exactly what it sounds like -- and the feature "S&M: Short and Male."
$4 Haircut, set to a soundtrack of tuba music, is a fun profile of a man who frequents a bargain barbershop. It's funny, but it's only the third-best barbershop documentary I've seen this year. It didn't entirely live up to the raging ovation heard from the director's friends , but it's an unpretentious, fun film and I did laugh out loud more than once.
S&M: Short and Male is a well-put-together film that's too all-over-the-place to succeed completely.
I love the premise -- that males below average height are discriminated against both overtly and unconsciously -- and enjoyed the process of meeting an initial batch of characters with exactly that problem. From there, though, the film attempts to look at world-wide issues, including a teen who struggles through painful surgery to gain height, and the legal fight over job height requirements in China. While each part is fascinating, it feels less like we've expanded the story than that we've tried to cover every possible aspect of the issue. By the time we return to resolve the story of our initial group of height-challenged guys, the movie feels 15 minutes too long.
And I have one other gripe: the main story that gets resolved is only a story because the director has withheld information from us. While that's interesting, it doesn't feel as if we've followed along with someone to the end of the story, and that we've just seen an essay rather than a journey.