Review of TORREY PINES (2016, 60min), a centrepiece screening at FLARE, London’s LGBT Film Festival. BFI Southbank, 18.03.17.
A hand-drawn, stop-motion animation, TORREY PINES tells of a transgender pre-teen’s life and impromptu road trip with his schizophrenic mother. Part PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, part TARNATION, Clyde Petersen’s film is packed full of humour and surreal discovery as trans queer identities take flight.
TORREY PINES premiered in Seattle with a live performance of the film’s score by a 24 piece band and foley artists. We get the more practical three-piece touring version in the UK and Ireland, featuring Petersen’s excellent band, Your Heart Breaks. Seen under the vaulted ceiling of BFI’s biggest screen, this combination of live and prerecorded score feels a little undercooked, like we should be sat on beanbags at a more intimate in-progress screening. For all its beauty, there are similarly unresolved elements in the naive drawing style and Petersen’s decision to avoid spoken language lacks the characterful charm of PEANUTS’ more subtle saxophony.
Having scrunched his stop-motion skills with music videos, there’s a prematurely Kickstarted feeling here, as if Petersen has created a shorter, more powerful film that lurks within a feature-length frame. Despite these limitations, TORREY PINES remains a distinctive artwork, crammed full of ingenious ideas, heart-warming nostalgia and startling honesty. Petersen’s decision to tour his film is a welcome return to old-school showmanship and should be embraced.
IN MOVING PICTURES
- Catching sight of his naked mother, 12-year old Petersen enters a body horror nightmare of lactating breasts, graphic childbirth and a very literal baby shower.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
- TORREY PINES, Clyde Petersen and Your Heart Breaks are on a UK and Ireland tour until 30.03.17.
- Catch up with Petersen’s acclaimed internet video series, BOATING WITH CLYDE.
- Pair TORREY PINES with TARNATION, Jonathan Caouette’s 2003 assemblage of home movie footage about life with his mentally ill mother.
- FLARE continues at BFI Southbank until 26.03.17.
Featured image: TORREY PINES (2016).