Stanley’s Mouth 2015
1h 1min | Drama | 20 October 2015 (Australia)
Christian boy Stanley enters the gay scene, encountering new experiences and melancholy as he comes of age. The classic tale of a bird leaving the nest is expressed through textured and experimental imagery. The film is shot vertically in 9:16 aspect ratio and blurs the line between documentary and fiction. Stanley’s Mouth is a contemporary piece of religious art that embraces love and sexual experience.
Shot with a camcorder on its side to produce a vertical portrait image, “STANLEY’S MOUTH” harks back to video’s early cinematic instincts (i.e Dogme 95) with little regard for clean images or special clarity. Instead, we get a claustrophobic, rough and textured portrait of youth, sex and organized religion. It seems to avoid all politics and in its rough way, just dives in.
The sex scenes may be some of the most close-up tightly filmed I have seen. The close grainy quiver of faces offer something more explicit than nudity. British Actor Stanley Browning (from kids TV’s Sam Fox: Extreme Adventures) is thrown into adulthood as both actor and character. Browning exhibits an engaging naturalism. He floats around long takes in a film apparently named after him.
The narrative is vague, it feels a lot like a gallery piece at times. A mix tape hacking from scene to scene. Coming of age as surveillance tape. But the meandering fades into a riveting ending, a kind of extended onslaught of vision and sound. This kind of fluid picture seems to come out of Australia every year or so, amongst documentary-style and expressionist features. The film is shot by the director Mike Retter and cut/carved together in a stimulating irrational way.
There are extra features on the DVD that go into the micro-budget production method. Worth watching using the full vertical option, requiring a widescreen to be turned on its side into a vertical shape.
Director: Mike Retter
Writers: Allison Chhorn, Mike Retter
Stars: Stanley Browning, David Geddes, Joshua Mensch
Release Date: 20 October 2015 (Australia)
Filming Locations: Port Adelaide, South Australia, Australia