Gigli

Victor and Silvestre Rasuk
Wirtten and Directed by Peter Sollett
Running Time: 88 mins
Rated: R

Give this small-budget, independent New York film a few minutes. It begins with the vain 16-year old Victor thinking that he is the macho gift to women, that this is how he ought to be. The rest of this short film is about who Victor really is uder the poses and the baravado. And the film and the characters grow on you so that at the end you have a real feel for them, for their situations and struggles. It is a film of considerable humanity.

Writer-director Peter Sollett set his film in his own Brooklyn area but transferred it to Lower Manhattan after he met possible cast members. He chose amateurs who wanted to work hard in the film and let them improvise much of the dialogue. It works very well. Besides Victor, there is his younger brother, Nino, and his couch potato little sister, Vicki. They are being raised by their grandmother who migrated long ago from the Dominican Republic. Victor is infatuated with Judy and their up and down relationship is the centre of the film. There is Julie's tubby younger brother who wants to be friends with Vicki and there are the peer friends.

There is nothing particularly new in the film. What is pleasing is the way that it is made and communicates. Brothers Victor and Silvestre Rasuk are very good as the brothers as is Altagracia Guzman as the grandmother with her old world values, her exasperation at her grandchildren (even trying to send them away through local social services) but loving them just the same.

Fr Peter Malone MSC is the International President of SIGNIS: the World Association for Catholic Communications and an Associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office.