Saturday Church

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 10 Comments

Saturday Church tells the story of 14-year-old Ulysses as he struggles to express his personality & sexuality in a hostile environment.

Ulysses, the young protagonist of Saturday Church, is first seen at the burial of his father, a soldier killed overseas. The New York teen, played by Luka Kain, has delicate features and carries an air of quiet about him.

He and his younger brother will now be looked after by both their mother Amara and strict Aunt Rose. The latter does not mince words after Ulysses is discovered trying on his mother’s shoes. “If I ever hear of you even looking at women’s clothing, I will beat it out of you. You are a man. Start acting like one,” she says, enunciating each word with controlled rage.

But the boy is in no way conflicted about his sexual orientation — he’s just surrounded by disapproval. As a form of escape, he imagines his life as a musical, and the movie is dotted with song and dance, beginning with a particularly audacious locker-room scene in which Ulysses’ jock tormentors turn into backup dancers.

For real-life affinity, Ulysses seeks companionship on the pier by Manhattan’s Christopher Street, where he is enlisted into Saturday Church, a program for at-risk queer youth (the program in the movie is based on a real one).

The film was written and directed by Damon Cardasis, making his feature debut. It is a disarmingly and consistently sensitive movie that remains engaging even when its reach sometimes exceeds its grasp (a musical number set in what might be the world’s tidiest homeless shelter for example).

The wonderful cast brings the story home, and Luka Kain in particular is a real find. When Ulysses first puts on lip gloss in a room full of people who accept him, the smile that plays on his face is both ebullient and heart-rending.

Comments 10

  1. This film looks to be presenting some kind of “gay/trans purgatory.” This is the type of film that is difficult to produce, watch and accept — because of the impromptu musicals, not because of the sexuality. And I question the name and particularly, the usage of “church” in this film [conveniently, the trailer doesn’t show/present its hidden religiosity] These “churches” quite often use the same ‘technique’ that [homeless] food shelters use: keep the needy [in this case, the extremely hungry] as “hostages” until they at least sit through a bullshit sermon if not outright “demand” some type of “repentance.”

    I seriously hope I’m wrong about this — but why else would they use the concept of “church”?

  2. Hard to believe that since Saturday (one week later) there’s still just one comment on this. The primary character is very attractive.

    C’mon, horsey, haven’t you a few words about him? (chuckle, chuckle).

  3. I mean there isn’t much to add, the film is totally uninteresting for me. First of all: I can’t stand this faggot-character-type, I just can’t, especially when they are portrayed as the typical homosexual. But also when it is more of a transgender plot, still no reason to act like the biggest bitch. In a kid it’s kinda cute, but when you are older it just becomes ridiculous. And as you already put it perfectly, this friendly LGBT-church thing really bothers me too as a hardcore atheist. The same bullshit is happening in one my favorite series right now, shameless. Religion as the savier for gay people… this new social justice story-line is also not my cup of tee, so it’s really hard to enjoy this show at this moment. And when they start snapping with their fingers, instead of clapping, I really have the urge to kill them… that really triggers me :D I’m waiting for the new atheist character that destroys their religious bullshit. But that will not happen.. so, yeah, but back to the movie: Seeing again a young character being played by an older actor is also annoying, it doesn’t even make sense from a production point of view, a 17-year-old is subject to the same rules as a 14-year-old.

    1. Marvin:
      “this friendly LGBT-church thing really bothers me too as a hardcore atheist. The same bullshit is happening in one my favorite series right now, shameless. … so it’s really hard to enjoy this show at this moment.”

      I so agree with you about this. It appears we’re on the same page regarding religion (although I’m so hard-core, I could be considered the permanent watermark of that page).

      Just curious, which series is it? Possibly, The Fosters? I foresaw the breakup of ‘Jonnor’ because it was very poorly written and directed. And then immediately after the loss of ‘Connor,’ they wasted no time in introducing christianity into it — not just because of what you stated (it was obviously their* intention to insinuate that without “god,” young gays would NEVER BE ‘moral’).

      .

      “I’m waiting for the new atheist character that destroys their religious bullshit. But that will not happen.

      That would be the deathknell of the churches if the series was intensely popular (very attractive and desirable actors) and still supported by corporations (advertisements).

      .

      “Seeing again a young character being played by an older actor is also annoying,”

      Again, that won’t change for a long time in America, at least — having a REAL young gay actor is so problematic because of our fucked up societal rules (because of christianity) which they would place the “real” blame on the fact that a younger actor would need a studio-sponsored and paid for tutor.

      * The corporate-funded, FAR-right religious (churches).

  4. It’s literally ‘shameless’ ;) The US-Version. You have to know it, is it even possible not to do?

    I stopped watching The Fosters a long time ago, for exactly the reasons you list, the way this gay character was written was so unbelievable stupid… must be the first gay kid that is afraid of sexual intimacy. I understand that a realistic story where the two blow each other wouldn’t go that well, but at least don’t insult my intelligent with that Coitophobia bullshit.

    And of-course this US-typical anti-sex parents bullshit, this time from gay parents, because gay parents are, obviously, just like every other parents in Murica. “Hey, gay parents also have a problem with their kids experimenting, they’re like us, hurray”. The only good thing really was Connor and they destroyed that too. Because they were afraid where the story would have goon to and they couldn’t let that happen. A gay kid kiss was already, somehow, groundbreaking.

    So many shows I liked at one point and they all become so unbearable frustrating to watch… when a once sympathetic character becomes an violent vengeful asshole, because writers don’t know how to make an interesting story/character without…

    Why can’t I just like this popcorn cinema type like Star Wars, our newest superhero or dumb action-movie, it would be so much easier…

    Or when you have an Episode like ‘Shut Up and Dance’ (Black Mirror) and think like, okay, that was an interesting plot twist, people will actually feel empathy for that dude, but no, of-course not, he is still just a piece of shit that should be killed… lesson to learn: The world sucks.

    1. “It’s literally ‘shameless’ ;) The US-Version. You have to know it, is it even possible not to do?”
      No, I’ve never seen it so I didn’t recognize the name. So, sorry, I “misread” you.

      “but at least don’t insult my intelligent with that Coitophobia bullshit.”
      Great line and great new word!

  5. I will never understand how anyone can be religious and gay, you can believe in a god (a not personal god), yes, but how can you look into history and say “yeah, being gay is totally okay in my religion” ? Reading this Christian and especially Muslim clown in the comments is just so sad. Painting your cage pink isn’t changing the fact that you are still in a cage. And when you realize you know more about their religion than them it just becomes ridiculous. They are a disgrace…

    1. “And when you realize you know more about their religion than them it just becomes ridiculous. They are a disgrace.”

      Just recognizing and being an atheist is proof enough that we (atheists) obviously know more about their religion(s) than they do. That’s WHY we’re atheists. I’m not just an atheist, but a firebrand gnostic atheist.

  6. Has anyone who’s left a comment actually watched the film????

    I have and it’s very good. While his mother loves him, the aunt who comes to take over his welfare is old school and given to a fair amount of hate.

    “Church” is used in the sense of like minded people coming to celebrate their lives.

    The young lead does a brilliant job of communicating his feelings and how he has problems relating to his new family as it is just that, very new. He’s a fledgling chick finding his wings.

    I’ve seen people in the audience crying at the end.

    If you didn’t like the film I’m afraid you have little empathy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *