A young man sets out to find his identity and calling in this film that looks like a documentary but really isn’t.
Angus is a young man and political activist who lives in Berlin. Since the taking down of the wall, the city has become a place of acceptance. He lives with his girlfriend Angie and together, they spend the day canoodling while at night, they hit the local nightlife. However, while life may seem great for Angus, something within him has been eating away at him and that’s the struggle to find out who he really is.
Upon meeting Judy, a local drag queen, Angus begins to relate to Judy as to why Judy does what she does and that’s cross-dress and entertain crowds. This becomes the inspiration for Angus to begin experimenting to see if this is what he is meant to do. However, when Angie discovers Angus’s newfound freedom, it sets off a chain reaction of truths and revelations that can make or break Angus on his quest to discover who he really is.
You have got to hand it to Samuel Kay Forrest. He is a brave filmmaker who brings the vibrant acceptant of LGBTQ norms in Berlin. The reason for the brave factor lies within the first few moments of the film, which actually was shot during a May Day protest, in which Forrest and other crew were arrested but eventually freed upon learning that they were making a film. The film can be said to be split in two. A night and day mood to the film if you will.
In the lead role of Angus, the first half explores Forrest as a political activist who will go to great lengths to get his message across. Whether it’s causing chaos at a protest or even, attempting to hack into a government system. It also explores a fun side to the character as we see Angus canoodling with girlfriend Angie, played by Marie-Cecile Yildrim. The two obviously have that love for each other but through his narrative, Angus feels a sense of a struggle with his identity. He wants to try different things but doesn’t know how to go about it.
The second half explores Angus’ newfound sense of experimenting when he tries dressing up as a woman. This leads to a conversation with Angie after she discovers first-hand his newfound attempt at crossdressing. What makes this conversation interesting is that it breaks from a sense of normalcy in which usually one would respond in a damning sort of way. In this case, Angie seems accepting of Angus’ attempt to try something new but for some reason, he still feels threatened by the idea of what is normal and what is not. This leads to a break in their relationship, and both soon narrate what could be If they would just past their issues.
HipBeat is a vibrant and dramatic look at the LGBTQ underworld of Berlin in the modern day and one man’s attempt to find himself in this beautiful world. It has a bit of a documentary feel at times, but it is far from that.
WFG RATING: B
A Mother Earth Films production in association with Castle Matrix Productions. Director: Samuel Kay Forrest. Producers: Samuel Kay Forrest and Alexander Forrest. Writer: Samuel Kay Forrest. Cinematography: Joshua Monroe. Editing: Kieran Peters.
Cast: Samuel Kay Forrest, Marie-Cecile Yildirim, Beatrix Michelet, Andriana Manfredi, Judy LaDivina, Enzo de Liguoro, Ian Loughran, Jurjan van Nes, Javier Taboada.