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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
James Franco
Based Upon
Poem by Anthony Hecht
Remy Germinario, Ty Anania, Louis Anania, Phil Naess, Theo Naluan
Running Time
5 Mins.

 "The Feast of Stephen" Review 
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If you haven't caught on to the indie film works being created by James Franco and his Rabbit Bandini Productions, then you're missing a rather amazing, yet admittedly largely non-commercial, side of Franco.

Based upon a poem by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Anthony Hecht, the 5-minute The Feast of Stephen played recently during the 2010 HollyShorts Film Festival and captured the Teddy for Best Short Film during the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival.

To say that The Feast of Stephen will not appeal to everyone may be one of the bigger understatements in short film this year, the film being either a masterful, honest interpretation of Hecht's erotically charged writing or, as seemingly every user on IMDB seems to think simply out and out gay porn.

This critic is somewhere in the middle. While it would be difficult to peg The Feast of Stephen as a short cinematic masterpiece, if one reads Hecht's original work it becomes quickly clear just how perfectly Franco has brought Hecht's words and images to life within the span of a mere 5-minute short film (IMDB lists the U.S. version of the film at 4 minutes). The Feast of Stephen is, at least on a certain level, a rather brave little film for Franco, the kind of film that will make you wonder about his sexuality if you actually care about those types of things.

What I do care about is what happens on the screen, and what happens in The Feast of Stephen is a powerful mix of teenage fantasy meets brutal reality, poetic images unfolding in the form of a young man named Stephen, whose visual playground feast is brutally interrupted by a group of athletic young men who don't particularly fancy being the subject of his fantasies.

Filmed in black and white, The Feast of Stephen features unforgettable camera work by Christina Voros and Franco manages to create image upon image that will stay with you long after the closing credits have rolled.