Drama / Fantasy / Musical
Drama / Fantasy / Musical
A 14 year-old-boy, struggling with gender identity and religion, begins to use fantasy to escape his life in the inner city and find his passion in the process.
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May 04, 2018 at 08:48 PM
It's still not easy being gay, but it's easier if you have friends
Saturday Church (2017) was written and directed by Damon Cardasis. It stars Luka Kain as Ulysses, a young gay African-American man who would like to be a cross dresser. He's tormented and bullied in school, and verbally abused at home by his aunt, who takes care of him.
Ulysses finds Saturday Church, a place where gay men can express their identity, and where most of the members can, and do, cross dress safely. Saturday Church introduces Ulysses to the voguing scene, and the film gives us plenty of music to hear and voguing to watch.
It's discouraging that we still need places like Saturday Church, but at least they are there. (There really is a Saturday Church in NYC.)
I enjoyed this film because of the great performance by Luka Kain. (Performance in the sense of acting, as well as performance in the sense of voguing.) To a certain extent, it opened a window to the world of drag queens. It also reminded me that, even in 2017, in the United States, it still isn't easy being openly gay. I think that all of us need that reminder.
We saw this movie at Rochester's great Little Theatre, as part of the wonderful ImageOut, the LGBT Film Festival. It won't work as well on the small screen, but it's still worth finding it and watching it.
Proof that Heart is most important in Art
I has seen the Saturday Church trailer on IMDb two months or so ago, and was intrigued. However, after seeing it's release date in January, I was cautious to expect grandeur. In some aspects, my caution proved true. The dialogue and acting in parts was off beat and awkward, and certain mood shifts (especially with musical numbers) made the seams of this film all the more noticeable.
However, you could feel the love in every scene and character. Each cast and crew put their heart into this project. That's the most important part in creation. And while the musical scenes cause a bump in the film, as they continued they didn't feel out of place anymore. This movie is of course about drag culture, and the black LGBTQ youth and community. Theatrics aren't awkward or forced, they're innate to those communities.
I saw this film the day after Call Me By Your Name. And while it may be unfair to compare the two, as they are vastly different and cover different subject matters, I will say that Saturday Church fully exceeded CMBYN, in style, tone, and joy.
I would like to see this crew turn out a film with more resources and support for their visions, because I believe they are on their way to being great filmmakers.
I gave this film 7/10 because of technical reasons. A seamless film brings the audience deeper into the story and, unfortunately, this movie wasn't seamless. But I'd highly recommend that everyone see this movie.
Read more IMDb reviews
My new favorite film
This movie was beautiful. It's a story about feeling right in your own skin, taking risks in your quest for happiness, and finding your people. The moving story of Ulysses coming to terms with his identity in New York City is imaginatively intertwined with song and dance. The music serves as a vehicle to give voice to the hidden world inside the characters. It is enchanting, visually enticing, heartbreaking, and empowering. The cast is also wonderfully talented and deeply connected to this personal story. We rarely get such realistic and rounded stories of queer experience in cinema, but Saturday Church breaks the standard and reveals at its core a story that many unheard voices can relate to.