Last days got word from the Split Festival that they will show, along with Bowman Lake, the film Blue Strait, shot in Port Angeles WA with John Manno and Stephen Taylor. Long ago my friend Marcus Hu, of Strand Releasing, bugged me about doing a “gay film” – Strand sort of specializes in them. It sat on the back-burner of my brain for some decades, and then sometime after finishing the shooting of Coming to Terms I had the very vague thought begin to coalesce around the idea of something built around a middle-aged couple breaking up. I went to Port Angeles and the house of my good friend Steve Taylor (Coming Home, Over Here, Parable and Coming to Terms) and intuitively shot this film. I was clearly not interested in anything remotely like a conventional narrative film, but rather something else. Blue Strait offers no explanations, no background, and in the usual sense, no narrative. Rather it immerses the viewer in a tonal setting, a place, it’s vibes, and drops you in the midst of an acrid relationship teetering on collapse. The tension is not narrative or literary, but that generated by a visual gorgeousness which frames an ugly relationship.
While adamantly non-narrative in its form, Blue Strait is quite accessible if one is game for visual and aural play, and willing to forget about “the story” (though there is one) and surrender to what is a delicate tone-poem in time, vision and sound.
The film has been rejected by a handful of festivals in the past year, from Rotterdam to Sundance to the NYFF. I suspect it is just too not-narrative/conventional for their tastes. Nice that Split splits from that view. Festival is September 12-19.