"The titular "575 Castro Street" of Jenni Olson’s short is the address of slain supervisor Harvey Milk’s camera shop. Viewers of the film “Milk” know this shop as the base for the gay leader’s political runs for office. But the shop also processed the Super 8 studies in light and motion that became the basis for the San Franicsco Gay Film Festival.
Olson’s short pays homage to both these legacies. Visually, the viewer is treated to static shots of the shop’s interior, which was meticulously reconstructed for “Milk.” Reflections from the outside traffic resemble rivers of quietly flowing light. The effect renders the shop as a contemplative shrine.
The audio track will rattle certain viewers’ cages. Despite being recorded over three decades ago, Harvey Milk’s posthumous post-assassination message still has the power to discomfit. His reminders about the evils of organized religion, complacency in the LGBT community, and those who put their egos above the movement is still timely advice that has been sometimes ignored in the decades after his death.
Olson’s union of these two individually powerful elements creates a mournful whole. Milk’s monologue feels like wind whispering through a mausoleum. But it also stimulates the viewer’s imagination to visualize the many political meetings in that shop and to muse over the sociopolitical changes brought to the LGBT community by ensuing decades. Unmediated by Sean Penn, Milk’s voice still compels."
Monday, July 06, 2009
Beyond Chron review of 575 Castro St.
The San Francisco International Film Festival press office just sent me clippings of coverage they got for my short when it played the festival in May. Consider me extremely impressed! And thrilled about this quite substantial review from BeyondChron: