Article Title:Gone But Not Forgotten
Author or Credit:Chris Banks
Published on:6th June 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:269
Text:GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Dir: Michael Akers, USA, 2003, DVD, 93 mins Low-budget films can certainly be enjoyed, even tolerated, especially within the world of gay and lesbian cinema, where the majority of films are made outside the mainstream and away from the big budgets. What cannot be tolerated, however, is amateur dramatics. Gone But Not Forgotten is badly acted and directed. It is not an exaggeration to say that I have seen better performances in community theatre groups. The story begins with small town forest ranger Drew rescuing stranger Mark from the mountains. Mark has amnesia, and Drew isn't telling him the full story of what happened. The attitudes displayed by Drew's brother and sister-in-law, as well as the hospital doctor, suggest that Drew may not be all that trustworthy. Mark, who can remember nothing of his life before his accident, moves in with Drew. As their relationship develops, Mark's memories slowly return, forcing him to confront his past and his awakening sexual identity. Sounds ripe with possibilities, doesn't it? However, imagine watching A Streetcar Named Desire as performed by Melbyville High School and you'll understand the level at which we're operating here. The performances are as wooden as the log cabin that forest ranger Drew lives in, the characters are so thinly drawn they're anaemic, and to top it all off the bulk of the movie is underscored by an acoustic guitar soundtrack reminiscent of a Learn To Play In Seven Days infomercial giveaway CD. The Out Takes programme says the film is “direct from sold-out screenings at gay and lesbian film festivals world wide”. I am truly mystified by this. The audience at my screening laughed and kidded the picture the whole way through, groaning at the implausible resolutions and giggling at the cheesy performances. There were at least a couple of walkouts to boot. Perhaps the large crowd were attracted by the promise of “fireside lovemaking scenes”, which actually amount to some poorly-lit close-up shots of ambiguous body parts. It's like a cross between “Young and the Restless” and late-night softcore porn, only it's the version made for Islamic television with all the good bits cut out. It's probably one of the least erotic sex scenes in living memory. Gone But Not Forgotten is quite frankly below the standard for films which one would expect to see at a festival; perhaps at a festival specifically for low-budget movies, but certainly not for Out Takes. How a film like this can be given multiple screenings, when knockout fare like Yossi and Jagger gets only one, and critically-acclaimed movies like The Event (the opener at this year's gay and lesbian film fest in London) get rejected by the Out Takes programmers is one of life's great mysteries. Chris Banks - 6th June 2004    
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