The Owls

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It’s been almost three years since I asked the question: “Where in the world is Guinevere Turner?

We find her turning in a questionable performance as Iris in the 2010 Cheryl Dunye venture, “The Owls“.  To me, Iris is yet another incarnation of the character Gabby, portrayed in Showtime’s “The L Word”, and while I am happy to see Turner in front of the cameras opposite the likes of V.S. Brodie (“Ely” from the 1994 cinema classic “Go Fish”), I am also choking back the disappointment.

I’m simultaneously (slightly) embarrassed and not surprised to admit that I had to add this entry into Guinevere Turner’s Wikipedia page myself.

Cheryl Dunye's The Owls

“The Owls” is a semi-experimental piece from Cheryl Dunye’s collective made for roughly $22,000 and filmed entirely in Los Angeles.  The film revolves around the members of a long-defunct all-girl band called “The Screech”, now aging and disillusioned, some of them broke, as they deal with the ramifications of an accidental homicide.

OWLS is an acronym for “Older, Wiser Lesbian.”  All of the characters showcased here, save for lesbian heartthrob Deak Evgenikos, are well into their 40s, and while that technically makes them “older” I ponder where the “wiser” is meant to come into play.  All of these years later, following the massive surprise of “GoFish”, we’re still making the same comments about the younger generation of lesbians – that they don’t understand or care about our contributions to the cause, that they find us irrelevant, that they’re too reckless with what they’ve “inherited”.  A convenient argument, but is it really true?  And if it is, does it even matter?  Hasn’t this been the ongoing argument from generation to generation since Stonewall?

Cheryl Dunye's The Owls

I haven’t even gotten to the point where V.S. Brodie’s character “M.J.” kills Evgenikos’ baby dyke “Cricket” in a fit of drunken jealousy at a party, because, really, the homicide is a lackluster plot motivator that feels contrived and stereotypical.  That lesbians are jealous enough to kill each other seems somehow pedestrian.  That M.J. commits murder while drunk at a party is just lazy.

I am reticent to say how hopeful I was when screening the film.  That Dunye, Turner and Brodie were making a film about what happened to an all-girl band after the spotlight had faded from them was an exciting concept – one that would have been compelling in and of itself, outside of the pseudo-documentary schtick played upon here by Dunye.

Cheryl Dunye's The Owls

Should you see “The Owls”?  Possibly.  Beyond my adoration of the players, I haven’t made up my mind whether or not I should recommend this movie to anyone.  Does it give us something new?  Does it start a conversation?  Is it sexy?  Only you can decide that.  To me, “The Owls” is one disappointment piled atop another.

And this, my final plea, to Guinevere Turner – we miss you.  Get rid of Gabby and find us.

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Explore more at the official website: The Owls

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