Father Son Holy Gore - Jazzberry - Jazzberry's RhythmJazzberry. 2020.
Directed by Maxwell Nalevansky.
Screenplay by Nalevansky, Max Gottlieb, & Harrison Nalevansky.
Starring Samantha Robinson, Oliver Cooper, Lorin Doctor, & Ian Michaels.

Good Max Bad Max Productions

Not Rated / 17 minutes
Fantasy

★★★★★Father Son Holy Gore - Jazzberry - CrowHave you ever seen a film so horny it made you sweat? What about a film so strange it left you slightly confused and extremely excited? Well, prepare to be excited, confused, and horny because Jazzberry has arrived!
Director Maxwell Nalevansky is a production designer, not hard to tell. The whole film is gorgeous from top to bottom. Nalevansky also has visionary ideas in terms of his style, as well as his ideas—he co-wrote this short’s wild screenplay alongside Harrison Nalevansky and Max Gottlieb. Surprisingly the film, written by three men (apologies if I’ve assumed any of the writers’ gender identities incorrectly!), is a surreal feminist vision of society that celebrates female sexuality and, for once, objectifies male bodies in absolutely fantastic, satirical ways.

Jazzberry (Samantha Robinson) is a beautiful creature: part woman, part leopard, all power. She lives in a city called Beeftown, where all manner of sexy beefcakes seek to win a chance to go on a date with her. The city used to be a nice place to live, a peaceful existence—until an evil man named Crowe (Oliver Cooper), spurned by women, began turning all the beefcakes into flightless crow-men. Now it’s up to Jazzberry to put a stop to it, before Crowe’s destroyed every last beefy boy in sight.

“You are whatever I say you are”

Father Son Holy Gore - Jazzberry - Jazzberry at HomeThere’s a lot to love about this short.
Seventeen minutes holds tons of plot and story, and the pacing is quick, so the plot never gets bogged down. The centrepiece is Robinson’s performance as Jazzberry, oozing an odd sexuality and boatloads of charm; many will recall Robinson best from her impressive lead performance in Anna Biller’s The Love Witch. Here she steals the show, in a short film full of show-stealing elements, from the makeup and costumes to the hilariously satirical screenplay. Jazzberry loves boys, and her unbridled enthusiasm for sexual freedom makes the story compelling. While she’s allowed to be a free woman, un-judged for her sexual habits—y’know, like real women should be—the beefcakes of Beeftown have their asses, abs, and nipples on display for Jazzberry, and the audience, to feast upon. Usually it’s women on display via the male gaze, but Nalevansky subverts this by satirising the male gaze. The best example is when one of the beefy men flexes his gigantic muscles and literally rips his pecks open; a gruesome but laugh-out-loud image.

Most genius is the writing, digging into men’s rights activism, incels, and toxic masculinity. Crowe and his band of crow-men are so outrageous and funny, yet scarily true to life. Crowe tries to force Jazzberry into being monogamous, threatening violence on the entire city if she sleeps around; her response is perfect, cackling at the notion of heteronormative marriage and monogamy. He’s the epitome of an incel, declaring a hatred of women and making clear his terrorising of Beeftown is directly due to his rejection by women: “So many years without ejaculating!” Again, an outlandishly satirical perspective of MRAs and other like-minded men. It’s just so informed by the reality of our world in 2020 that while being funny, it’s darkly comic because these are only exaggerations because of the makeup and the fantastical costuming; underneath that, Crowe and his fellow woman-haters are everyday men.

There are very few films like Jazzberry. It has all the absurd satirical spirit of something like Brazil crossed with the artistry and surreal strangeness of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle. Nalevansky doesn’t just use the weird and the sexual here for the sake of employing them as elements in his short, he uses them for satire. The film is unapologetic in its feminism and sexually liberated female protagonist. I always say there should be more men’s bodies onscreen depicted the way women’s bodies have been for over a century of cinema, if only to help show the contrast between how the sexes are represented in film/television. Jazzberry turns that male gaze on its head, as well as attacks traditionally toxic masculinity, which—as the short shows—affects not just women, it deeply affects men, like all the beefcakes who go missing at the hands of Crowe, being turned into crow-men because that’s the accepted vision of masculinity in the eyes of men like Crowe. This might seem at first like a crazy, silly film, and on its face, it is, but it’s so, so much more. One of the more important shorts of 2020.

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