Friday, June 28, 2013

Valentine Road

The marriage equality street party in the Castro was underway when I arrived at the Castro Theatre for a Frameline screening on Wednesday evening. The music was thumping & the atmosphere happy.

Inside the theater, Matt Coles of the ACLU told the Frameline audience to "Celebrate & then get back to work!" Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, came on stage with her family & similarly exhorted us.

We saw Valentine Road, a documentary about the murder in February 2008 of 15-year-old Larry King in Oxnard, CA by his high school classmate, Brandon McInerney. Larry was a small, effeminate boy who had just started wearing women's accessories to school. He teased McInerney by asking him to be his Valentine, & a day later McInerney shot him during class. The documentary is multilayered & unfolds at a thoughtful pace, gradually uncovering the abusive home lives of both boys & the impact of the murder on the community. The film treats its subjects respectfully, even though there are some disappointing characters. The audience yelled at the screen when interviewees averred that Larry's behavior & dress actually instigated the crime. Everyone gasped when the film revealed the owner of a "Save Brandon" tattoo.

The director Marta Cunningham was in attendance & received a standing ovation. She told us how gratified she was to present the film at Frameline. During the Q&A we learned that she decided not to involve Brandon McInerney. Since Brandon took Larry's voice, she did not want to give Brandon a voice. She characterized Brandon's defense attorneys as "zealots." I got the impression that Ms. Cunningham is a persistent & canny filmmaker.

§ Valentine Road
Director: Marta Cunningham
USA, 2012, 88 Mins.

Frameline 37
Wednesday, June 26, 7:00 PM
Castro Theatre

2 comments:

Michael Strickland said...

"Since Brandon took Larry's voice, she did not want to give Brandon a voice." Brandon took quite a bit more from Larry than his voice, but it would have been interesting to hear the shooter's version of what happened and why.

Sorry to have missed you at the street party. Actually, spent most of the evening in the back yard of Toad Hall on 18th Street with James Parr & Friends. A fun time was had by all.

Axel Feldheim said...

It was an interesting comment for the director to make. Brandon's mother & one his brothers appear in the film, but none of Larry's family. We do see Brandon receiving his high school diploma in a prison. Interviewees include Brandon's girlfriend, both the prosecution & defense lawyers, jurors, 2 teachers at the school, & female classmates. It would be interesting to know which people the director wanted in the film but who refused.

A friend got me into a Frameline party afterward so I did not miss out on some partying as well!