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Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Surface: Gay Youth Drama Premieres at Frameline

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge Harry Hains as Evan Jones. - SURFACE FILM WEBSITE
  • Surface film website
  • Harry Hains as Evan Jones.

Michael Saul's The Surface will premiere at Frameline on Saturday night. The reflective film screens at the Castro Theater at 6 p.m. A slow-moving character study about one man's journey of self-discovery, The Surface is a throwback to the kinds of films that were made during the early 1970s. 

click to enlarge Director Michael Saul - SURFACE FILM WEBSITE
  • Surface film website
  • Director Michael Saul
Australian model Harry Hains gives a finely subdued performance as Evan Jones, a young gay college student who grew up in a series of foster homes. Evan has no family that he knows of, so he embarks on a search for a man he can create family with, and on a deeper search for himself. Meanwhile, Evan's relationship with the wealthy Chris (Nicholas McDonald) is falling apart due to their income disparities. 

Evan's life begins to change after he purchases an old 8mm movie camera at a yard sale. The camera comes with some movie film of two young boys who might have been best friends — they might  have meant more to each other. One of those boys is the now 43-year-old Peter (Michael Redford). Peter and Evan enter into a romantic relationship as Evan breaks up with Chris.

The Surface doesn't have much of a plot per se. Saul's film is a journey deep inside Evan's heart and soul. Hains is superb at conveying the loneliness and emptiness of this somewhat lost young man and his need to feel connected. Part of Evan's voyage is about learning who he himself is. 

Redford is equally fine as a man facing middle age who learns that he cannot run from his past. The scenes he shares with Hains are lyrical and lovely—the two men are reaching out to each other as each comforts the other.
click to enlarge Michael Redford, Harry Hains - SURFACE FILM WEBSITE
  • Surface film website
  • Michael Redford, Harry Hains

The chemistry between Hains and Redford is intense. Age differences notwithstanding, they make a beautiful couple and are able to give each other a few moments of fleeting happiness. 

The Surface probably won't break any box office records. But for gay viewers who might be thirsty for films that tell deeply personal stories while letting you know who the people on screen are, this film has much to offer. Beautifully shot in sun-drenched, beachfront Southern California, The Surface is a welcome delight, a much needed respite from the overblown blockbusters on display at the megaplex.

Check it out! 

The Surface, Saturday, June 27, 6 p.m, at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, 415-621-6350.

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