Saturday Church

A queer Bronx teenager, bullied at home and at school, finds refuge in a community of homeless young people, some gay and some transsexual, who encourage him to own his sexual identity and his desire to perform in drag. Writer-director Damon Cardasis goes all out in telling this coming-of-age story, eliciting larger-than-life performances and incorporating show-stopping musical numbers. The songs aren’t very good and the acting sometimes borders on camp, but there’s no denying his ambition or his concern for homeless youth; like the outstanding Kartemquin documentary The Homestretch (2014), this draws attention to the plight of gay and transsexual runaways. Hillary Spera’s cinematography is another asset; the images of New York City are warm and dreamy, reflecting the hero’s reassuring acceptance by his new friends.