Elevate Difference

Bye Bi Love

Directed by Giovanna Chesler

Bye Bi Love is a short film about a woman named Vera who receives a wedding invitation from her ex, and has a decision to make. Ticking this box is answering the most loaded question ever, and the reasons for this become clear as Vera’s story unfolds in a series of flashbacks depicting scenes with her current and former partners, all in the same apartment.

Stylistically, it’s a rondo, which is really nice to see executed on film so sophisticatedly. It’s easier and more expected in classic stage drama, but whoop, there it is in 2010, which makes a linear story more cyclical, and shakes up the viewer with suspense and familiarity at the same time. I didn’t even think suspense was possible outside of a Hitchcock thriller, but director Giovanna Chesler repurposes both of these storytelling tools in a more naturalistic narrative, and nails it.

Lots of queer people of colour are represented here, positively or incidentally (points scored for both). Attitudes to commitment, marriage, and breakups bear the brunt of the bitterness, and, although the word "bi" is in the title of the film, there are no specific jibes about or plaudits for bisexuality, and there are hints of parents approving of their children’s same-sex relationships. The apartment is as much a character as the characters are, and it reflects the style of the film itself: minimalist. Every person and prop has a reason for being there, and the film is as well crafted as the stylish setting.

It looked great, and felt pretty good too. Watching it was like mainlining gossip without the guilt: I cringed at Vera’s situation (no “plus one” on the wedding invitation you send your ex? Damn!) while she remained none the wiser. But I was distressed to realize I couldn’t comfort the characters either. They weren’t real—they were over there on the screen doing uncanny impersonations of my friends, and in some ways, me. The ending was completely and utterly satisfying.

Find it. Watch it. And look out for Giovanna Chesler’s next big thing, because it’s gonna be awesome.

Written by: Chella Quint, June 22nd 2010

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