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Confessions (DVD/TLA Releasing/2015)

Writer/director Mark Bessenger has come up with an intriguing, if decidedly uneven, idea of filming gay men’s inner dialogues in ten scenes, with witty sayings in between, in his “Confessions.”

The actors expose the various aspects of gay men’s fantasies:  orgies, hand-jobs, deep oral, deep penetration, love, revenge, tackiness, etc., with very little of it amusing (the film’s downside), but instructive nonetheless.

He has also included some semi-witty truths, spelled out on the screen: “I love socks on a naked man. With guys I’m impotent, but show me a silky argyle, I get a boner as big as Montana. Why would I want to come out of the closet when that’s where I keep my socks?”  Or “I bought a blow-up doll and named him Roger. But he doesn’t like me. Roger says I’m a bad man. He won’t let me fuck him and makes me sleep on the floor at the bottom of the bed.”  O-kay. Pithy and profound (on some level).

All performed as monologues, the actors mostly do their job with skill and even dignity, with some soft-core nudity sprinkled about. The best of the bunch was the finale, where we meet a gay dancer in the throes of an AIDS-related delusion, in 1982, in his hospital bed, dying. Leigh Wakeford makes his Dancer sympathetic and dazzling as, in his final moments, he homage’s Fred Astaire. Also terrific was Mark Cirillo as a revenge-seeking killer in the spookiest episode, where he relates to his unseen victim the viciousness of his persecution, persecuted for his queerness by this fellow. Unsettling it is, however refreshing the sentiment.

Other deeper monologues include “The Song,” sung by Tom Goss, about loneliness. And the one in which an emotionally unaware gay man cannot understand why his lover is breaking up with him, when it’s apparent to us they should have done that ages ago. Peter Stickles makes his character oddly funny as well as almost-human. And who can forget “Sweet Sixteen,” when a semi-nude lad (handsome Caleb Hoffman) does what he can to seduce his father.

And then this weirder one:  two brother puppets, one of whom finds the courage to come out to his oblivious human parents about his puppetness; clearly a metaphor for LGBT coming-out to family, but very odd as it lacks subtlety. Another episode that didn’t quite work has a man in Bunny Ears (Dylan Vox), in front of an on-going orgy, defending his constant rejection of the attractive men who are attracted to him.

At 89 minutes, there are ten episodes in all for the film, but with six others deleted, but now seen in the Bonus Section. The cinematography (Bessenger, Matthew Grace and Clifton Radford) is crisp, clean and focused, as is the editing by Bessenger.

This is a positive-message film, with some of the potentially-painful images used to point out current attitudes about accepting one’s sexuality.