Seat In Shadow (MiFo Film Festival)
Avant-garde sculptor and artist Henry Coombs helms his first feature film and stretches both his imagination and our patience with "Seat in Shadow," a micro-budget Scottish gay psychodrama. It's the story of Albert, an aged gay therapist (David Sillars who also co-wrote the script) who is inveigled upon by an old friend (a scene-stealing Marcella McIntosh) to try and sort out her morose young grandson Ben (Jonathan Leslie), who is also gay.
The sessions take place in Albert's disheveled apartment, which is dominated by a large cheese plant that Albert has named Priscilla, and to which he talks when he has smoked a joint or imbibed purloined tablets of ecstasy. The young man's problem? A case of unrequited love involving a local DJ who seems to want to break up with him after their ever sexual interlude. Albert's problem is that despite his lofty and over-intellectualized statements, he's really just jealous.
A striking passage in the second half of the film, when the characters are on drugs, gives Coombs the opportunity to let his imagination run wild with some vivid, dreamlike sequences.
The two main leads are making their film acting debuts, and that shows all too often. Sillars is at least enthusiastic in his role as the older man, but Livingstone's wooden performance as Ben lets the whole piece down.
For the most part, this is an intriguing film, and it deserves full marks for tackling the gay psychodrama genre, which very filmmakers dare to take on. It will appeal to those who like their LGBT movies to challenge them, but it will certainly not float everyone's boat.