Little Sparrows Yu-Hsiu Camille Chen

Little Sparrows Yu-Hsiu Camille Chen
Back in the mid-'90s, there was a genre of female empowerment television and film that bridged the gap between Showcase and Lifetime, telling stories of female sexuality and identity enlightenment with unflattering piano waltz scores and flowery dialogue that would often compare genitalia to a poem or glibly begin monologues with, "as a woman." And while Australian melodrama Little Sparrows doesn't feature Denise Crosby getting her lesbian dominatrix on in a police uniform, it does play out exactly like one of these low budget artistic expressions, only without the middle-aged breasts flopping into armpits. With frequent testimonials to the camera, suggesting that this was originally some sort of amateur fringe play, Sparrows examines the lives and reactions of three sisters before and after learning of their mother's cancer. Anna (Melanie Munt) is an actress, like her father, who cheats on her controlling, pretentious filmmaker husband, citing a lack of personal control, only to run into her younger, closeted, lesbian sister, Christine (Arielle Gray), on the street, creating discomfort for everyone. Oldest sister Nina (Nina Deasley) struggles with the ghosts of her dead alcoholic husband, who routinely neglected and emotionally abused her, when she runs into the best man from her wedding. It's all told through flashback and re-enactments of monologue, jumping forward to the preparation and celebration of mom's final Christmas. The women all cry, shake their heads and raise their hands to their faces in theatrical fashion, seemingly thinking they're in the very stage production that the overly prosaic script suggests. The entire thing feels like it was sponsored by Dove beauty products for the calorie-counting Oprah crowd, making it almost laughable for sincere women and men both gay and straight. This is an unfortunate misstep for the typically reliable Film Movement label. And since this is a Film Movement release, the short film A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation, directed by Martin Wallner and Stefan Leuchtenberg, is included with the set, featuring the voicing talents of Ian McKellen and Joseph Fiennes, detailing the symptoms and realities of cancer with Burton-esque animation. (Film Movement)