Men Cry Bullets

Gloria (Honey Lauren) publishes pseudonymous books that move the sensitive Billy (Steven Nelson). Because her jacket photos deliberately obscure her face, he doesn’t recognize her as the insanely jealous woman who disrupts his drag performance at a club where he hopes to be steadily employed. The characters in this beautiful story of doomed love seem almost hyper-heterosexual, yet they defy gender stereotypes. Writer-director Tamara Hernandez fine-tunes the tone of scenes that would sound slapstick or surreal if I described them–but that are neither–suffusing with emotion even the most eccentric moments. Her instinct for subtext peaks when Gloria’s debutante cousin Lydia (Jeri Lynn Ryan) commits one of the movie’s most violent acts offscreen; we can never be sure whether Lydia is a schemer or an innocent as she and the self-loathing Gloria compete for Billy–and with him–to define femininity. On the same program, Attack of the Hungry Hungry Nipples, a 1997 animation by Walter Santucci. Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont, Tuesday, August 11, 7:00 and 9:00, 773-866-8660.

–Lisa Alspector

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.