The indie gay cinema movement in America was a necessary response not only to mainstream studio filmmaking but also to the hetero bias of other “alternative” cinema avenues; because of the outsider status of the films it was once difficult to too harshly criticize their narrative and aesthetic faults. The field was also narrow enough that there wasn’t room for directors without a vision, or at least a technique, to slip in. Whatever their limitations, New Queer Cinema films (from Tom Kalin, Bill Sherwood, Gregg Araki, and so many more) were given deserved passes for the boldness of their inquiries. The torch has been passed, and with the ever-rising cheapness and accessibility of video, the new generation of gay American filmmakers has responded by moving inward: the gay coming-of-age tale has naturally converged with the video diary format, and the result has been enervatingly solipsistic. In its own hermetic way, the growing-up-gay film has become as rote, unimaginative, and self-regarding as the mainstream teen dreck that crowds multiplexes.
Case in point: Ash Christian’s preening Fat Girls, a film as crude as its title that treads such familiar ground that it’s nearly impossible to distinguish from its DV brethren. With its stunning lack of visual ingenuity in its parade of flat, barely cobbled together scenes, one might think it the work of a child. Well, that wouldn’t be far off: the directorial debut of the only 22-year-old Christian, Fat Girls (the title refers to Christian’s homogenized description of the state of mind of gay men) seems to be haphazardly shot from the kind of script that most aspiring filmmakers write in their late teens and then disregard when the world opens up to them a little bit more. Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of Fat Girls.