Thursday, 30 June 2016
Edinburgh Film Festival: Slash
As director, Clay Liford mentioned before the film began, Slash is a coming of age film as most indie movies are, but this is different.
Slash caught my eye in the festival programme and it was lucky that it happened to be on while I was there. Set in the world of fan fiction writing as well as the act
ual fictional world that Neil, has immersed himself into. A loner at school, going almost unnoticed until, Julia, slightly older and rebellious find his work. She is also an fan fic writer and encourages Neil to publish his work. The two writers grow closer but as with all teens, things are complicated as they are still figuring things out. Neil is definitely bi-curious, conflicted about his feeling for Julia and his attraction to men. It especially shows in his writing.
Neil write about a fake famous character in the sci-fi world, Vanguard and uses his stories as a way of exploring his sexuality. Julia write about another fictional character, an elf, even going as far as dressing up as the character. She seems to write to prove something to herself. These two form a bond that is both endearing and dangerous, but then, that's most things when you're a teenager.
What great about this film is that there is no clear ending, suggesting that both Neil and Julia are still deciding who they are. It's positive and different to most films in this genre.
I thought I knew what fan fiction was, but this film actually cleared a few things up for me. I've read a few stories about various characters, gad knows I've read some FitzSimmons stories. I feel it is something I can read but not join in on. The film reminded me of Jared and Jerusha Hess' Gentlemen Broncos, also set in the world of writing, also about a young writer who has his science fiction novel stolen by a famous sci-fi author. The similarities are with the obvious young writer and the coming-of age experiences but is the writing coming to life that connects these two. We get to see Bronco, both versions of him, trying to complete his mission. In Slash, we see the established character, Vanguard, play out Neil's stories. This adds something extra to the 'coming-of-age' theme and immediately immerses you into Neil's universe.
I really enjoyed the film and it was even better to listen to the director talk about the film. Hoping that it gets a release in the UK but I'n not expecting a large audience which would be a shame. I think there are some sceptics out there who would warm up to fan fic writing.