FILM REVIEW: The Ending

By OckyDub | Posted May 4 2013 | 26 Comments  
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Cypher Avenue Rating: 4 of 5      
 

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Directed by: David Eduardo Flores Perez
Written by and Starring: Seek The POET
Featuring: Jarid Manos
 

The Ending” synopsis:

“A poignant spoken word piece that addresses sexual addiction, stigma, and homophobia.  In this independent short film the main character played by Seek The Poet struggles with sexual addiction, self control issues, and risky behaviors which leads him on a prowl to satisfy his sexual appetite.”

Yeah that’s the elevator pitch now let’s get to the job interview.   Bottom line, this is a great short film!

There are a few sequential positive things that stuck out to me.  I feel I can make an educated guess and say this film had a very small budget.  However Seek teamed up with David E.F.P of 2osos Production Company and produced a high quality product.

From the beginning of the film I was happy that the audio and sound quality was on point.  As we have expressed in the past, the audio quality is something that has not been up to par in numerous black gay web series. The scenes were in focus and the editing was for the most part seamless.  Kudos to 2osos Production for not having any technical issues that would have distracted us from the story.


 PictureI am glad that Seek The Poet decided to play the lead in this film.  I now this compliment is going to sound odd; however, even though he is attractive, Seek The Poet has a little more meat on his bones than many actors you see in black gay films.  I point this out for a reason.In real life, everyone does not have chiseled muscles and rock hard abs of steel.  Of course nothing is wrong with those who do but it seems like many black gay films and web series specifically have that type of eye candy just to attract and keep viewers versus focusing on story, acting and technical quality.

Thus the body type realness of the “just an average man” gives the film creditability.

Seek does a great job of bringing his words of poetry to life with his acting. Much of the film is not the main character speaking but actual narration of his thoughts and emotions. Kind of like a voice over.  Most of the acting is done through body language and facial expression.

Because Seek is the writer, he almost makes me question is this really how he is in life?  Are these his real thoughts and emotions or is he just “acting” within the role?  Either way his portrayal is very convincing.

The brief interaction between Seek and the street thug (play by Jarid Manos) is what brings the short film to its climax.  It reminds us how we gay men sometimes put ourselves in situations that could impede on our safety.

Looking at their interaction I thought, “Finally, a masturbation scene that works and is integrated into the story”.  Unlike the masturbation scenes we have seen in some black gay web series.

The only trivial criticisms I have (SPOILER ALERT) is that there is a scene where the main character starts his car and the engine noise briefly downs out his words.  Also I thought the ending could have been slightly better if it had showed the street thug robbing him after his act of violence.

In all, the scenes where very natural, nothing seemed forced.  I had the same feeling when I watched “Slow” for the first time.  Watching The Ending made me feel like I was just observing the everyday life and struggle for the main character; unlike watching a short film or webseries where the actors are attempting to act.

The Ending along with films like The DL Chronicles: Episode Thomas has renewed my faith that black gay films and writers can produce and deliver high quality work.  These are the type of projects that can and should benefit from our financial support.


 
 
About the Author
OckyDub

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

   
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26 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. African King | July 29th, 2013
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    This was a great short film! I think it highlights a very real set of issues that happen in the gay community (heck even in the str8 world too). Sex addiction is something that is crippling and it can be highly problematic for those affected by it.

    I’m going to e-mail you guys a secret that I noticed in this film….

  2. Liberated Libra | July 29th, 2013
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    Great review and equally great short film. I think the film in eight minutes covers a lot of the feelings and thoughts black men who identify as gay or bi struggle with on a day to day basis. Thank you for highlighting this short film.

  3. Craig | July 29th, 2013
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    Haunting……..great short, poses the question “Are we victims or do we victimize ourselves for sex?”

  4. Millen | July 29th, 2013
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    Wow…that was some interesting stuff. I like it cause it was real, not just a bunch of hot mess. It made me glad I stopped doing things that way cause surely, I could’ve gotten caught up that way. A learning experience for this young boy…

  5. Code & | July 29th, 2013
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    I can relate! I had a gun pulled on me twice and robbed both times picking up trade.

  6. Anthony Davis | July 29th, 2013
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    This short covered so much in just 8 minutes.I kind of knew that something was going to happen because dude looked like dangerous trade.There was definitely a sense of foreboding with the pickup but this tells the story for many who in the pursuit of sexual gratification sometimes throw all caution to the wind.It was a short that packed a powerful punch and was very haunting.

    Also Ocky you said that you felt as if the ending could have been better served if it had ended with the thug robbing him.I say that the ending made sense because in the beginning he questioned whether he was the characterization of being a faggot and if this would be his ending. However in the end his behavior was viewed as that of a faggot which led to his ending.

  7. JamaicanBigLove | July 29th, 2013
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    i love this film and love your review. Sexual addiction and risky sex among gays are a serious issue. I hope this video reaches to some young boys who need guidance.

  8. Jarid Manos | July 29th, 2013
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    Thanks for the thoughtful good review. Yeah, as writers and filmmakers we feel sloppy art is an insult to the reader or viewer, so we work to honor their time/experience.

    Side notes: That film loc just south of downtown Houston is a real-life trade pick-up spot; it was hectic acting like I was just at the bus stop so I could avoid the mf’s rolling up, then jumping into the role each time the crew rolled around in that car.

    Also, I think my character was so homophobic even he didn’t know until the last moment that he was going to pull out his gun instead of the dick.

    It was weird: the next day I passed by the “crime scene” and for a jumpy moment it felt like I had really done that.

    • African King | July 29th, 2013
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      I live in that area and went to school there! When I saw “HCC” I was like “whoa!” Then I saw ELGIN!!! Then I was actin’ crazy! I was like… I live there!!!!

      • Liberated Libra | July 29th, 2013
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        I had the exact same reaction when I saw the park and then Elgin!

  9. Ben | July 29th, 2013
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    I really enjoyed this short film. I love the flow of the piece, the pacing of the video and the performances. It always make me smile when I’m treated to something creative that makes me think and leaves an impact. Thanks for posting this brothas.

  10. Coshamo | July 29th, 2013
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    I LOVED IT! The first piece that I can truly say had ALL the RIGHT elements. The ACTING was superb. THE CAMERA SHOTS WERE SUPERB. The AUDIO was superb. The filming was very good. AND IT WAS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR to see someone really trying to do it right with a PLOT and A REAL SCENE that made sense.

    I love the way the introduction was done. I like the music too. It gave me a since of dramatic anticipation. It was smooth and not overpowering. The scenes were believable.

    MAN, PEOPLE CAN TAKE SOME POINTERS FROM YOU TWO. You did it well. REALLY WELL. I hope you only get better.

    It’s so good to see SOMEONE putting real THOUGHT and EFFORT into making a good product. I COULD SUPPORT THIS FOR SURE.

    NICK AND OCKY PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYE ON THEM AS THEY ARE DEFINITELY A TEAM TO WATCH FOR MORE GOOD THINGS….

    I am just so elated to SEE A GOOD PRODUCT MY ACCOLADES MAY BE OVER THE TOP. This film should receive an AWARD just for the subject matter.

    This is even a PUBLIC SERVICE announcement. And they could go back and PUT ANOTHER ENDING ON IT… LIKE A ROBBERY and it would still be THRILLING. It was so D*** GOOD!

    So glad it was MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE up in this piece. I am just so relieved that there IS TRUE TALENT AMONG US. I was beginning to WANDER. Seriously I was.

    Something very similar took place very near – very very close to me last summer. Only it was at the guy’s house. He was killed right in his house. IT WAS VERY VERY SAD. It was a very UGLY scene of horrific murder.

    When I was growing up, a very young TENDERONI, twentysomething, a very good friend of mine was killed in his house. And although he so loved me and showed me MUCH LOVE and RESPECT, NOTHING sexual ever happened between us. He was brutally murdered in his apartment. A VERY CLASSY MAN. A business owner. Dapper, special, eloquent, sophisticated, and SMART. Yet, one WRONG move cost him his life – “A PICKUP.” I will never forget this as long as I live.

    The first guy above was stabbed about 15 times. This is not an infrequent occurrence and THE STORY NEEDS TO BE TOLD.

    Sometimes we can be very UNCOMFORTABLE seeing OUR REAL LIVES on SCREEN, but that is “ART.”

    REAL ART speaks to you. Speaks to the soul, the essence.

    • AndrewJS | July 29th, 2013
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      Man…..spoke STR8 to it..makes some open their eyes a lil wider (hence the PSA statement u made & this “haunting” I’m noticing, I guess)

  11. AndrewJS | July 29th, 2013
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    O_O
    Daaaamn…everything was calm at first…I thought he’d actually resolve his problem after he had acknowledged it, but wow… 🙁

    Great film tho..& DEFINITELY havin a familiarity with “Slow”.
    (the whole “WTF did I get myself into?” factor is relatable in RL too..*shudders*)

  12. Nick D | July 29th, 2013
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    Maybe I’m just hard to please but this WASN’T all that. LOL. It was a good watch and I appreciate the vision, don’t get me wrong. All of the technicals were on point and the visuals were dope, but story-wise, I’m like: Huh?

    I won’t get deep into it but this “short film” was clearly more just a companion piece to the spoken word essay heard in the voiceover than a narrative story like “Slow” or “Animal Drill.” The whole first 4 minutes was just a photo shoot in a park, thats not a what makes a story.

    I also wasn’t feeling the clear perpetuation of the stereotype that being gay equals debased “sex addict” and parking lot sex with strangers. Maybe I’m a prude that dates men too much like normal people but I never got the whole parked car/public restroom/public park gay sex hookups that I thought died out in the 80s and 90s.

    Lastly, the end of the film made it seem like it was an anti-gay propaganda film. If this was posted on WorldStarHipHop, all of the typical homophobes in there would be saying, “Yes, kill all them faggots!” The writer/filmmaker must really have some internal gay issues if this is how he chose to close out the “message.” Whatever the massage was supposed to be. True, none of us gays are psychologically perfect, but do we need our own films basically agreeing with the people who hate us?

    • Think 1st | July 29th, 2013
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      Nick D I believe this short film was created to highlight the issues that plaque some of us as African American same gender loving men. You should count it an honor, and a blessing that your life somehow has bypassed these issues, and you sit in an elitist chair to dissect and judge. You state that this “short film” is a companion piece to a spoken word essay, when the beginning credits clearly says that this film is an adaptation of Seek ThePoet’s The Ending which is a spoken word piece I’m detecting. The beginning is clearly a narrative of thoughts which puts this film in the category of a narrative film. Please do more research, and if you will…admonish me in digging a little deeper.
      In the first 4 minutes of the film which you completely degraded to a photo shoot lies the crux of the issues that the writer ponders…religious homophobia, lack of self-acceptance, impulsion, compulsion, sexual addiction, and stigma etc…. Now it would take an element of intellect to understand that in its complexity, or maybe it wasn’t clear enough because it wasn’t written in BIG BLOCK letters, however I got it, and most of the people who commented on this film got it. With all that said your comment and perspective is still appreciated. But I’m not done.
      I didn’t get a clear perpetuation that being gay equals debased sex addict. For me he was a man with issues of self-acceptance and addiction that causes him to act out, and sex is his drug of choice. And FYI coming from someone who works in law enforcement, a parked car, public restrooms, and public park gay sex hookups are all too prevalent even today. Now top that with A4A, Jack’d, BGC, and phone sex lines if used to band-aid serious issues such as addiction then we have bigger issues sir. I think the ending of this film is left to interpretation. Yeah worldstar hiphop probably would do exactly what you said they would do, but look at what they represent. So what! I’d rather watch something that is thought provoking then anything that comes from world star hiphop.
      My brother I leave you with this…Humanity has internal issues no matter if you’re gay or straight. It is my hopes that Seek ThePoet’s team will explore these and other issues that cripple us as black gay males, and is rarely talked about in our community, but continues on…and on…

      • Nick D | July 29th, 2013
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        Wow, saying you don’t like a 5 minute short film really brings out the Crazies.

        So far, everyone who has lashed out at me for saying a few negative words about the film have been from the Houston area so I’m assuming that these are all friends of the director or the director himself.

        Do this for me: Take a deep breath. Now exhale. You feel that? That’s the calmness I feel when I read the opinions of others who don’t agree with me. I read others opinion: I agree or disagree, and I move on. I don’t call them names or insinuate heavily that they lack intelligence, as the Houston area fans of this “short film” have done.

        I did not attack all of the people who loved the film just because they didn’t see it my way. I merely articulated my own opinion. No matter how many paragraphs of subtext you add to the film that wasn’t present in the film itself, it still doesn’t change the fact that this film wasn’t very good TO ME.

        Five minutes of internal narration over a guy sitting in a park does not make a good film. Zero character development does not make a good film. Perpetuation of stereotypes (no matter how true they may be) does not make a good film. Ambiguously tragic endings to characters I neither liked or knew anything about does not make a good film.

        If you want to see what I do consider a good film, check out this one. Lets compare the first four minutes of both films and see which is more engaging.

        http://cypheravenue.com/watch-gay-short-film-slow/

        • Seek The Poet | July 29th, 2013
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          I come in peace…

          Before I go into my next comment I would like to say that the only reason I’m commenting is because I received a confirm subscription reply from discreet city via my email address. Then I was contacted by a fan on Facebook who confirmed that he had used my email address so that I could see his post in defense of my film.

          A wise man once said “you never have to defend your work… you work will defend itself.” So that I’m clear this is my first time commenting on this site. But I can assure you that I’m not a crazie at least to some degree … just a writer who believes that you have the right to your opinion. And unlike some I can take it.

  13. Seek The Poet | July 29th, 2013
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    I would like to just say Thank You to everybody for their comments. Good, Bad or Indifferent they can only strengthen me in creating bigger and better projects. The Ending is my first film out, and it really feels good to witness the reception, and internet play it has gotten thus far. Let me share a little background information about this project with you if I may. The Budget $500, and with that $500 2osos Production Company managed to help me create a project that was accepted for screening at Reeling International Film Festival the second largest LGBT film festival in the world.

    The Ending has gone on to be accepted at Atlanta ShortsFest, Marlon Riggs, and most recently asked to be apart of The Hotter Than July Film Festival in Detroit, Michigan this summer. In addition, it has been the featured film for several exhibits, and events. Pretty big for a very small budget, you think! (wink) BIG SHOT OUT to Octavius Williams for taking the time out to write this amazing review. I appreciate it. It has garnered me fans across the nation. My Facebook inbox and friend requests have never been so full. I am forever grateful to you guys at Discreet City.

    This is very interesting. I’ve spoken with Darius Clark Monroe, who I thought was very progressive as a straight African American young man to write and direct a film such a Slow. It is an honor that The Ending would even be compared to Darius’s work. By the way he also gave The Ending 2 thumbs up once he saw it. So I say all that to say this…as an artist I know that I won’t please everybody and everybody will always have an opinion. The world is much too big of a place to be pigeon holed in telling the same stories over and over again. We are complex individuals with complex lives…layers and layer of stuff we come with. So I am here to tell the stories that I haven’t seen, and hopefully build an audience who can appreciate the work.

    • Ocky | July 29th, 2013
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      Thanks Seek for allowing us to display your work. For $500 you did an outstanding job. Nick and I for the most part agree on damn near everything and we also agree everything is not for everybody.

      It seems like commentors missed the fact that he praised the technical aspects of your work, which is something he doesn’t do often (LOL).

      Even though I understand and agree with his criticism, I still enjoyed the short film for everything that it was intended to do…which is why I wrote the review.

      Keep up the good work and we look forward to seeing it in the future!

    • Coshamo | July 29th, 2013
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      Thank you for your feedback. Nothing says more about a man than one who comes says, “I care about my work and how it influences the intended, and not so intended, audience.” Thank you for coming with a voice of your own. We all have a voice and we should use it. I cannot say how much your being here has had an impact on me regarding “black gay filmmakers.” I’m impressed.

      And thank you Ocky for having the insight to critique this wonderful WORK OF ART!

  14. Black Ice | July 29th, 2013
    0

    The ending was confusing to me, why did he kill him? The dude gets him off then shoots and kills him and dosent even rob him?? Then says “how does that feel faggot”… So was homeboy commiting a hate crime or did he have issues with his own sexuality that made him kill a man for no reason?

    • Nick D | July 29th, 2013
      0

      According to the other commenters who responded to me, the dude with the gun didn’t want to rob him or even commit a hate crime…He just wanted to teach the guy a lesson that his addiction was a road to self-destruction, Armageddon and the devastation of the Gay Agenda Machine. I think.

      • Donald | February 21st, 2014
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        Well, if he did learn any intended ‘lesson’ it must have been within seconds of being shot point blank like that. IJS

  15. DC | July 29th, 2013
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    All I can say is: “DAYUMMM!!!”
    That coulda, shoulda, woulda been me on so many levels….caught up in the heat of the moment of being ‘in heat’… common sense tossed out the window. Thank God for His grace.

  16. SoulOnFire | July 29th, 2013
    0

    WOW. This film shocked, touched, and scared the hell out of me. This film has such a sobering ending…I can thank my lucky stars that I’ve always kept myself out of this kind of trouble…scary stuff. But I definitely enjoyed it! Amazing.




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