Adam is a young gay adult who finds himself alone in New York following his mother’s suicide. He moves in with a rather flamboyant acquaintance named Deena, who moonlights as a prostitute. Inspired by Deena’s example, Adam decides to earn extra cash as a rent boy, and on his first night he gets picked up by a somewhat dyspeptic older man. However, this encounter does not quite turn out the way that Adam or his john could have ever imagined.
To say anything more would spoil the impact of the most violently imaginative short film now in release. What can be said is that writer/director Ahmed Ziari has crafted a truly original journey into isolation. Ziari’s vision, which is brilliantly captured in Cal Robertson’s cinematography, is a world of visual extremes: the harsh streetlight glow of the tacky twilight streets, the gray chill of cemetery headstones, the color-overload of Deena’s jumbled apartment, and the paleness of Adam’s flesh in his morning-after awakening. There is no comfort zone in this city – everything is too murky, too stark or too vibrant for comfort.
The film is blessed with genuinely stunning performances by Mason Heidger as the would-be young hustler and Steve Carter as the bitter john. Their climactic scene, which is played without dialogue, is a masterwork of acting that will leave viewers with difficulty recovering from a gut-punch-forced exhale.
“Anecdote” won the Best Short Film Award at this year’s New England Underground Film Festival. It deserves as many awards as possible.