2001-2010ArthouseExperimentalMichael WallinUSA

Michael Wallin – Black Sheep Boy / Decodings / Place between Our Bodies (2004)

Black Sheep Boy is the first of three short films by Michael Wallin on his Water Bearer Films DVD. All three films present images with voiceovers and are included. There are no extras.

Black Sheep Boy (37 minutes, color) …

Like lyrical segments of Genet’s Chant D’Amour, the scenes of guys undressing in BLACK SHEEP BOY are refreshingly unencumbered by a plot. Instead, a man’s voice serves as the guiding consciousness of the film as he describes his fetishizing of these youths, admitting that he is after a fantasy, not a reality. … The beauty of this film goes beyond the visual splendor of youth. Wallin’s technique preserves multiple takes of the same subject: this stuttering tempo, combined with bursts of flash and the candid quality of the posing, gives the film a rough, underground look that’s very appealing and appropriate to its grunge milieu. … Because the soundtrack is independent of the visuals, Wallin is able to make some good sonic jokes, such as a nifty popping sound whenever a guy undoes that first button of his jeans. BLACK SHEEP BOY celebrates that uncorking with eroticism, philosophy and poetry. – Roberto Friedman, Bay Area Reporter

The second film, Decodings(15 minutes; black & white)….

Michael Wallin’s DECODINGS is a profoundly moving, allegorical search for identity from the documents of collective memory, in this case, found footage from the ’40s and ’50s. … The search for self ends in aching poignancy with stills of a boy and his mother at the kitchen table, catching the moment that marks the dawning of anguish and loss; desire becomes imprinted on that which was long ago. – Manohla Dargis, The Village Voice

The third film, Place between Our Bodies (33 minutes; color)…

THE PLACE BETWEEN OUR BODIES (1975) seems to come from another planet, another epoch, in its frank and tender extrapolation of gay sexual hunger and the kindling of a first relationship. The film is stridently pre-AIDS – much more so than any mid-’70s porno. This is partly because it is a personal film that discusses sexual hunger and love in a context that endows them with transcendent powers …. Sexual love overcomes the light of gay alienation and sexual hunger. And that is what begins to turn the film around, so that its most beautiful moments become its most painful. Wallin’s indescribable expression during orgasm, and the enveloping tenderness with which he (unsafely) fucks his boyfriend, left me chilled with sadness barely discernible beneath the usual tough-skinned attempt – on my part, on everyone’s – to endure.”- Todd Haynes, Afterimage, 1988




  1. Is there any chance of uploading Decodings once again? Have been searching for it. Thank you.

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