Plot: What’s it about?
Before she was the warrior princess Xena, Lucy Lawless played in these short films. Whenever someone becomes famous, it’s inevitable that their earlier, lesser known works be released, so that the newfound fame can sell the older product. Of course, whether or not the earlier works are any good is totally unknown, but the works do serve to fill a place in the collections of the actor’s fan base. With the case of this double feature of early Lucy Lawless short films, not only does the release fill a place for fans, but the movies are actually quite good. While they are short films, about 16-20 minutes each, the directors manage to squeeze in all the information we need to enjoy the shorts. So, if you are a Lawless fan, or would like to sample some early work of hers, this release offers a wonderful chance to do just that. The short films are well worth your time, and a nice documentary is also included. While a rental seems more in order, I don’t think you’ll find this at your local Blockbuster. I think the price is more than justified here, so a purchase is not a bad idea at all.
The first of this short film double feature is Peach, which was directed by Christine Parker. While I am not sure how to describe this short film without telling too much, I’ll give it a whirl. The story revolves around a young woman and her peach. Sounds kinda out there, I know, but it works. This young woman lives with her mother and has a small child, whose father is an abusive tow truck driver. She doesn’t like the father of her child, so when a female tow truck driver (Lawless) keeps giving her the eye, she isn’t quick to look away. While this is billed as a “lesbian fantasy” short film, those looking for hot and heavy love scenes should look elsewhere. There is no nudity, but the short is still sexually charged, the film draws passion from mere eye contact and a slight touch. The visuals are excellent, with the entire film having a sort of golden glow to it, much like the fuzz on a peach. As far as short films go, this is one of the better ones I have seen, with enchanting visuals and good overall direction. This is also the film used to primarily sell this release, with the second short film advertised on the cover in much smaller letters.
The second short film is entitled A Bitter Song, and was directed by Athina Tsoulis. This is more of a straight forward style short film, and lacks the lesbian overtones of Peach. The storytelling is a little easier to follow, with much more dialogue present in this short film. The story involves a troubled young girl, who is taken to the hospital, where the nurse (Lawless) tends to her. The father of the small girl is not a nice guy, and the little girl and her mother both seek a way to avoid him. The girl even has nightmares about her father, and being with him. The story the follows the relationship between the little girl and her nurse. While this was more traditional, I found Peach to be more entertaining. This is a decent short film, but I just didn’t myself as interested in this one, perhaps due to the bland visual style used. However, this is still worth a chance, so don’t skip over it if you view the disc.
Video: How does it look?
Both films are presented in full frame transfers, which appears to be the correct ratio, since no visible pan and scan can be found. Peach has an intentional golden glow to it, so don’t stress when you notice it. The contrast levels seem a little on the dark side in this short, which can hamper detail level somewhat. A Bitter Song has some grain, but displays accurate color and contrast levels. Both transfers are free from all but minor compression errors.
Audio: How does it sound?
These short films are not audio driven, so don’t expect powerful mixes when you sit down to check them out. The elements are separated well, show no inconsistencies, and overall have a quite rich audio texture. Dialogue is the most important facet in both, and it comes across clear and crisp.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A bonus documentary titled Lavender Limelight: Lesbians in Film is included. This piece shows many directors and actresses who specialize in lesbian (not porn) films. The documentary runs about an hour, and features interviews as well as film clips.