Review: ‘Open’

"Open" gives the old boy-meets-girl template a very 21st-century update.

Set among a transgender scene in Minneapolis, helmer Jake Yuzna’s interesting, low-budget feature debut, “Open” gives the old boy-meets-girl template a very 21st-century update. If only the pic’s nicely composed and strikingly lit lensing weren’t out of focus so often, the thesping weren’t so amateurish, and the screenplay were more interested in drama than in illustrating theoretical notions of gender, “Open” might stand a better chance of breaking out of gay and underground fest enclosures.

Gen (Tempest Crane), born a man, and his born-female partner, Jay (Jendeen Forberg), are having plastic surgery and gender-reassignment therapy (in Gen’s case) in order to look as alike as possible, thus becoming one?pandrogynous being. When Jay leaves on a trip, Gen takes in homeless hermaphrodite Cynthia (Gaea Gaddy), but it gets awkward when Cynthia falls for Gen. Meanwhile, Nick (Daniel Luedtke) picks up female-to-male transman Syd (Morty Diamond) in a club, and romance with much more long-term possibilities flowers. Characters do a lot of wandering around deserted car parks and buildings, talking constantly about gender and identity. The relentless navel-gazing and lack of action grows wearisome, even over the pic’s brief running time.



A Narrative Films production. (International sales: Narrative Films, New York.) Produced by Kelly Gilpatrick, Jake Yuzna. Directed, written, edited by Jake Yuzna.


Camera (color, HD), Adam Olson, Mathew Carlson; music, Adam Lee Miller, Nicola Kuperus; production designer, Maeri Hedstrom; art director, Sarah Jean Kruchowski ; costume designer, Ben Fredrickson. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 15, 2010. Running time: 88 MIN.


Gaea Gaddy, Tempest Crane, Morty Diamond, Daniel Luedtke, Jendeen Forberg.

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