“The Short Films of Constantine Giannaris”–a triple bill

“Constantine Giannaris, The Short Films”

A Triple Bill

Amos Lassen

Releasing from WaterBearer Films is the triple movie DVD of “Caught Looking” (1991) and “North of Vortex” (1991) and “ A Plaee in the Sun”. They are both interesting films and are a good look at early gay filmmaking.

“Caught Looking” shows a man sitting at his computer as he logs into an interactive game called “Caught Looking”. He roams through virtual passages, looks at the rough trade section, gives it some consideration and moves on. He then goes to a teenager, a threesome and sex in a public bathroom and finally comes to “The Grotto of Tiberius” which once was, in the 50’s, a kind of homosexual meeting spot. Finally he virtually sends himself back to a couple of sailors and ultimately to a young Tunisian named Karim. As he journeys through his imagination, we get insight into the gay mind. It is a short look into the fantasies of the gay mind and is homage to past gay icons.

“North of Vortex” shows a gay poet who heads west in a convertible. He picks up a muscular bisexual sailor, and they are joined by Jackie, a waitress in a diner. Jackie likes the poet who is not interested in the least but this makes her all the more interested. The poet and the sailor share a mutual care for sex but he sailor makes advances to the waitress who finds him crude. The sailor shows a touch of violence, the poet remains passive and Jackie is detached. We are left to guess as to who gets whom. This is an art film that tells a story, very slowly but it does tend to be a bit too long.

“A Place in the Sun” (1994) is about a Greek man of 35 who falls in love with an 18 year old from Albania. The only thing the two have in common is that they are bored and the only way that they can relieve that boredom is through sex. This short says a lor beneath the surface about the nature of emotional feeling and love (if sex is to be defined as part of love).

Giannaris is generally considered to be one of the finest Greek filmmakers and after having made these short films went on to direct full length movies. His most popular here in the United States is probably “From the Edge of the City” which I also have reviewed. Each of the short films on this DVD is preceded by an introduction from Giannaris.

All three are interesting in that they show us something about early gay film. The movies were probably considered outlandish at the time they were released. They seem quite mild today.

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