I saw this film advertised in the paper as one of the shorts headlining the LGBT Festival here in San Francisco and was disturbed by the premise. A young black man who's TRYING to get HIV?? My co-worker and I took off early to go see it, and there were about 5 or 6 fairly good shorts before it, but when the Young & Evil came on the entire mood of the crowd changed. Let's just say the first scene is a bit of a showstopper. Everyone was beside themselves cheering and carrying on, and it got even more intense after that.
First of all, I go to the festival here every year and RARELY see a black gay themed film at this quality level, and overall this was one of the best I saw at the fest. Some of the shots are simply breathtaking (I really loved the one with the nude black boys standing like statues), and the young man who played the lead (who is also that Joe Boxers boy, Vaughn Lowry) was exceptionally good (and as you can imagine, not half bad to look at).
Going in my biggest concern was that the story might portray gay black men or men with HIV as evil, but it didn't. As an older man who's seen several people succumb to the disease, I feel like it dealt with the matter in an upfront but sensitive way. My friend and I were so shaken up by the way it ended that we stayed after to hear the filmmakers and actors talk. I guess it's what you'd call a "call-to-arms" piece, and as one of the ONLY black men in the audience (there were at least seven-hundred people there, mainly white) I hope more of us in the community go to see it. It's a tad controversial, but very well done. If you're like me you'll be hoping for a different ending, but I guess that was the point. We always do.
Kudos to the young people who made it and to the SF LGBT Fest for screening something like this.
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