Film #236: Alaska Is a Drag (2012)

alaska-is-a-dragdirector: Shaz Bennett
language: English
length: 14 minutes
watched on: 16 October 2016
Boys on Film 11 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

I quite enjoyed this one, the third short of “Boys on Film 11”. It’s about a drag queen in Alaska, who feels trapped at what he calls “the end of the world”. He works in a fish packing plant, and deals with daily homophobia (and/or racism) from his coworkers, which often gets very violent. Then a new guy comes to town, shaking things up as he obviously enjoys spending time with the first guy, and comes to see his drag routine in the local gay bar, which is absolutely deserted. He helps the first guy defend himself from the homophobes.

It’s left ambiguous, technically, whether the new guy is actually interested romantically or just platonically. He has his arm round his shoulder at the end, though.

What I really liked about this one was not just the drag routines, which are gloriously colourful, but also the mise-en-scène and the contrast between the dreary outside world and the colourful drag world. I thought an obvious parallel was drawn there. I also liked some other stylizations, like that the homophobes are obvious pastiches of 1980s high school movie archetypes, what with the girlfriend hanging on to the alpha-male in charge of the group, and their general bullying demeanour.

I’m quite glad to see this one is getting the feature-length treatment. Obviously it’s not going to be that popular, but I’d be interested in watching it to find out how they will expand it.


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