Social bubbles are all the rage this week with the announcement from the UK Prime Minister that lonely, single person households can now mingle with one other without risking a visit from the coronavirus popo.
Spectrum, directed by Kieron Moore, Abigail Henry and Christopher Bowles is on a similar social theme. In the gay ghetto of Manchester’s Canal Street a series of lonely hearts with exaggerated hopes set out on a night of trying to taste the rainbow.
Filmed like an antidote to Instagram the lighting is harsh, the outfits don’t quite fit and not one of the partygoers is burdened with abs. In other words they look like real people. At first this is so surprising that it feels like it must be satire. It is satisfyingly off balance. The situations they end up in also straddle an edge between surrealism and utter familiarity.
There is the guy who finds a pup lost on the street and uses it as an icebreaker with the people he meets. Petting or praising your dog makes it easy for people to introduce themselves. The twist is that the dog is an eager man pup in a rubber facemask, which nobody acknowledges, because this is really a fable about social manners.
There is the unsexy app hook up with the guy who is ‘looking2suk2night’. After negotiating their safety and hygiene it becomes clear that they are discussing vampirism rather than sex. The clumsy exchange captures the awkward mismatch of app hookups.
The social perils of bisexuality are explored when one guy bumps into his male ex while out on the date with his current female partner. Both are outraged that he failed to mention his preferences. But exactly when is it appropriate to share that detail? When he brandishes the info to a confused stranger on the street it’s apparent that it’s not with your first hello.
Spectrum rises above the level of a collection of shorts even though it is curated like one. The haphazard and disparate glimpses of a night out somehow come together in shared absurd realism. If the weeks of lockdown have given you a craving for a night out in the gay ghetto this will give you all the feels even though you are staying home alone.
Spectrum is now screening on Amazon Prime
Review by Andrew Hebden
Queerguru Contributing Editor ANDREW HEBDEN is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.