Seth is a youth with artistic leanings, a fascination with Black pop culture, and a dead-end life in an Adirondack village. He's alternatively sensitive and brutal with Kristen, who wants a... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Seth Carlson
...
Knowledge Johnson
Murphy Guyer ...
Sheriff Mott
Graham Alex Johnson ...
Peter Carlson
Heather Gottlieb ...
Kristen Mott
...
Marty
Maureen Shannon ...
Francine
...
Sally Carlson
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Seth is a youth with artistic leanings, a fascination with Black pop culture, and a dead-end life in an Adirondack village. He's alternatively sensitive and brutal with Kristen, who wants a sexual relationship that he explosively rejects. Late one night, as he's closing the cafe where he works, a young Black man attempts to rob him at gun point but faints from illness. Seth takes the man, Knowledge, an escapee from a nearby prison, to a family cabin where he nurses him and they begin a tentative friendship. When the sheriff learns of Seth's harboring a fugitive, a confrontation looms. Relationships between fathers and their children dominate the subplots. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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7 November 1996 (USA)  »

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A Powerful Little Film That Examines Prejudice, Bigotry, and Color-blind Love
7 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

PARALLEL SONS is a very fine piece of work, a film ahead of its time, a film that may yet surface in the theaters since the success of 'Brokeback Mountain'. It deserves that kind of attention. Writer Director John G. Young (The Reception) takes on razor-sharp issues, molds them in a natural, non-exploitational way, and finishes his message with a calm clap of thunder. This little film contains more food for thought and hopefully for discussion than most of the last ten years since it was first released.

Seth Carlson (Gabriel Mann) lives in the Adirondacks in a little town closed off form progressive society. He is a gentle soul, a closeted gay out of necessity, a budding artist and a young man infatuated with African American culture, so much so that he wears his blond hair in dread locks and paints muscular Black men and African American symbols. His father barely tolerates his oddities, his little sister shares his secrets, and Seth longs to leave the choking little town for New York City.

Seth briefly views a Black man in custody in the sheriff's car: an eye to eye connect occurs. That night in the diner in which Seth works the Black man Knowledge Johnson (Laurence Mason) sneaks into the diner and robs Seth at gunpoint, only to collapse from a wound inflicted during his escape from a correctional facility. Seth is drawn to Knowledge, and when Knowledge faints, Seth sequesters him in a little cabin where he nurses him back to health. In the process of the healing the two men bond and become sexually committed to each other. Knowledge sees his only hope for survival as an outlaw being an escape across the Canadian border and the two plan for this adventure, Seth suffering setbacks from a town turned against him, and it is in the escape attempt that the tragedies occur that leave the story with many subtexts.

The film is beautifully shot by Matthew M. Howe and scored by Emile Menasche, but it is the acting skills of Mann and Mason that allow director Young to make this understated film work so well. The supporting cast is also very good, each underplaying roles to the benefit of the progression toward the devastating ending. By remaining to a sensitive story, economically written for the screen, Young is able to bring the audience to face some frighteningly real issues about bigotry and prejudice that tangentially includes color and sexuality. Highly recommended, Grady Harp


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