Short Film Profile

The Masculine Mystique

Nate is alone in a run down boxing gym, working the heavy bag with fierce intensity. His best friend Darcy enters the gym and quizzes Nate on why he's asked him to meet up so late at night, in this bizarre location. Nate tells him that he'd like to have a sparring match, but Darcy refuses, claiming that he needs to sleep.

Before Darcy can leave, Nate blurts out that his wife has left him. Darcy struggles for words of comfort, but is out of his element. Instead, he tells Nate to 'suck it up' and move on to greener pastures. Nate struggles to get Darcy to connect with him and stop making his pain a joke.

Finally, Nate gives up and goes back to working the bag, but cannot contain his emotions. As Darcy watches in amazement, Nate unleashes a flurry of energy on the bag before breaking down and sobbing.

Forced to finally confront his friend's pain, Darcy again is unable to connect meaningfully with Nate, who finally brings up the subject of Darcy's ex. Darcy immediately rebuffs him and tries to leave the gym, but Nate provokes him until Darcy takes a swing at him and Nate has to physically pin Darcy to the ground.

Nate pleads with Darcy to give him the gift of sharing his painful past. In a long exchange, lying exhausted on the floor of the gym, the two men finally exchange words that will leave their friendship changed forever.

Film notes

Director Statement
This film was adapted from a short play that I wrote, which was featured in several play festivals over the last few years. People who saw the play commented that it would make an interesting short film. I forgot about the idea for awhile until I walked into the beautiful and decrepit confines of the Astoria Hotel's basement boxing gym, located on Vancouver's rough and tumble east side.

As I wandered through the gym, rank with the smell of sweat and must, littered with fight posters and tattered boxing equipment, I thought to myself, "this place is the epitome of primal masculinity". The story of The Masculine Mystique is about surpassing the limits of traditional masculinity, but the thought of setting this very tender conversation piece against the backdrop of the environment interested me.

We shot this entire short in one day, with heavy rehearsal time preceding the actual shoot. We used practical lighting, came in with the actors well rehearsed, the shots story boarded, and let loose with a hectic 12 hour shooting day. The primality of the location, the simple camerawork and the vulnerable performances are hopefully evident on screen.

I admired movies made in the 1970's, when shots were able to play out longer and the audience's attention span was respected. If all elements are well crafted, I believe that the audience will stay tuned in to subtle nuance and the inner monologue of the characters in close-up. I spent dozens of hours with our editor watching and fine tuning the piece and to this point, the performances still speak to me on a profound level. I hope the audience, particularly the young men of this generation, feel the same.

Aaron Craven - Director/Writer




Copyright © 2009 Mitch and Murray Films

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 18 Aug 2009