Review: ‘Saved by the Belles’

In a bid for the Andy Warhol mantle of the ADD set, novice helmer Ziad Touma looks to capture the decadence of Montreal club kids in "Saved by the Belles." But the drugged-out denizens of the Factory had a lot more charm than this group of Ecstasy-laced night birds. Pic is perfect fodder for disco vidscreens.

In a bid for the Andy Warhol mantle of the ADD set, novice helmer Ziad Touma looks to capture the decadence of Montreal club kids in “Saved by the Belles.” But the drugged-out denizens of the Factory had a lot more charm than this group of Ecstasy-laced night birds. Edited down from 55 hours, with a cast of non-professionals mostly ad-libbing in an attempt to blur the lines of fiction and reality, pic is perfect fodder for disco vidscreens.

Drag diva Sheena (Brian Charbonneau, who also does double duty as d.p. under the name Brain C. Waren) and his fetish-friendly pal Scarlet (Karen Simpson) encounter a nude amnesiac cutie they dub Chris (played by Steven Turpin and Danny Gilmore). Back at their home, which looks like a cross between a “Big Brother” house and the ship of sexual freaks in “Caligula,” they nurse him out of a coma and parade him through the club scene in search of his identity. Improv lines vary wildly from amusing to stilted, and despite claims of inner lives, nothing contradicts the mind-numbing shallowness. Sound quality is poor, which is a blessing.

Saved by the Belles

Canada

Production

A Cinema Libre release of a Couzin Films production. Produced, directed by Ziad Touma. Screenplay, Touma, Brian C. Waren.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Francois Dutil; editor, Mathieu Bouchard-Malo; music, Frederic Berthiaume-Gabbino; production designer, Christian Legare; costume designer, Corinne Montpetit. Reviewed at Turin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (competing), April 25, 2004. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Brian Charbonneau, Karen Simpson, Steven Turpin, Danny Gilmore, Matt Williston, Ron Diamond, Marcelle Lapierre, Mado Lamotte, Nohemie Renaud, Dennis O'Brien, Varda Etienne, Terry Sigalas, Lydia Leiffer.
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