Soon, I will be starting on my gagaoolala marathon so for today, I will start with a tease by talking about this lovely short film which left a big impact on me!
Well, at nearly 40min it is longer than usual short films but and while I call it short, do not let that deceive you because just like a tiny grenade, this little thing packed a punch!
Like, I don’t remember when I first saw it but to this day I still feel close to tears just thinking about it and our girls!
Tears of course mean that this is no HAPPY END story but as I said, I have outgrown being petty at the trope and deciding on whether the story being told is in sync with real life situations and if the outcome would actually happen in that scenario!
In the case of this little movie – KALANCHOE, named after a flower that looks strangely like red lily, I could not see a different end that was realistic enough in this situation. Any other ending would have been too fantastical and while a GOOD END is welcome, this was not the place for it!
ART > THIRST!
It is short but so well crafted that you will have to watch it at least twice because by the end you are sure that you missed something and when you go back for the second round you see the clues all that about Sakura being into girls and most importantly, her feelings for Tsuki!
I’m not sure if I wrote about the trailer for this on my blog but either way, I watched the trailer ages ago and I have had it in my library but I never managed to find the movie!
In came gagaoolala, wearing a rainbow cape to save the day, and by the way, if you have ever seen a trailer for a gay short film, chances are it’s on this site! Seriously, we should be thankful for all their hard work! The only issue I have is that they region lock stuff, like, at least give an option! While I understand that some countries have restrictions, some do not. Give the choice!
I recommend you check that site out, seriously!
Back to the story at hand, after a student visits the school nurse to have a heart to heart about her having feelings for another girl, the school decides to have a special lecture about LGBT and as expected, chaos ensues! Rumours begin to fly and what’s worse, when that student, who we later find out was actually Sakura, talked to the Nurse, another student, who also happened to be a friend of Tsuki, dropped in that conversation and she started to talk.
So, on the one hand you have rumours about there being a lesbian in class and on the other hand, there’s someone who know it’s Sakura and had probably already talked to someone else before she talked to Tsuki so there is one going around this person being Sakura!
You can already imagine the drama from that prospect alone!
And yes, what you think the reactions will make you feel like is what you will be made to feel like! But if you feel that way as just an outsider watching a movie, imagine the characters’ feeling, especially Sakura and Tsuki and to an extent I guess, Tsuki’s friend who overheard the conversation.
You can totally see all sides’ opinion and justification for their reactions even though some reactions was frikkin anger inducing but really, that is real life!
I have seen and read many a story have this conversation but for some reason this time it felt real! The Nurse felt real talking about this, the students had varying reactions to the lecture, all real! Even as it was made clear the issues surrounding these identities from prejudice to discrimination to fear and the Nurse saying that there might be students in that class who will have those same reactions, it ended up happening anyway!
Some started making jokes about it. Some started bullying others about it. Some tried to be supportive of it! Some were scared and anxious about it! And some, totally were at the receiving end of all of it!
But by the end of the movie, everyone was affected and hopefully in the positive direction! Of course the most affected were our main girl Tsuki and Sakura, since they were in the thick of things, so to speak! There was a sacrifice made but it was worth it in the end, me thinks and Tsuki had to carry the weight of Sakura’s sacrifice, possibly for the rest of her life!
What I find so great about this little story is that, while you can see something as a veteran, you can’t really tell who the person is until towards the end! And going back, even during the lecture, they show other students and Tsuki but not Sakura! Me guessing because her reaction, which should have been realistic seeing as this was what they were going for, would have given her away so I guess I understand them not showing her.
Even as we see her and Tsuki have these little friendship moments, which actually were platonic enough to not see anything more into it, despite them being obvious after the revelation, you just dismiss them all!
Speaking of this friendship, the sad thing is that Sakura had managed to do what only Tomoyo managed to do. To really choose friendship over love even as she was so desperately in love with Tsuki and her feelings were so dangerous that she had to go talk to someone. She would have been okay had Tsuki stuck with her even without returning her feelings. But that betrayal is what destroyed!
Now, I do not hate Tsuki here for what she did. That was a very desperate situation. Tsuki was already shown to be the neutral, stay out of trouble, kind of girl so being surrounded by your fellow students with judging eyes and broken perception and worst of all with a herd mentality, this is no superhero story, I would have given her the world had she managed to stand up for Sakura in that moment but let’s be real here!
But, I’m’ jumping ahead as usual. Taking a step back, to support my thoughts on why Sakura’s reaction was not shown during the class, when that annoying Dick started talking about how he had talked to other students and it turned out that it was just their class that had gotten the talk, and comes to the conclusion that the gay person was in their class, we get a glimpse of Sakura, who glances towards Tsuki and there is this look on her face…
And while I do not want to call it fear, Tsuki’s conversation with her mother the night before was a kind of foreboding, where she all but seemed to not know what to do with what they were told, asking her mother about how she would feel being around LGBT people, like if she was afraid or anxious and I am like, dear Tsuki, you had better not!
But that conversation lets us know that the place this story is taking place, the people there are not that exposed to others who identify this way which makes the students’ different reactions that more valid!
Some girls turn around or wait for other to leave before they change. The class cracks when a fight breaks down between those who are supportive and others!
As the minutes go by, the tensions keeps on rising! During class when Tsuki sees her friend looking lost, they go for a talk and this friend tells Tsuki that she knows who the person the whole class it talking out is.
Tsuki asks who that person is and I am there like, you are not ready for that kind of weight, why even try! Well, I guess I can give her props for that at least! And, I am not sure if it was intentional but during this silent but heavy scene, as Tsuki asked that question and waited for an answer, there was this sound in the background that was almost like a heartbeat!
That confession scene hit me hard when Sana (the friend) was saying how Sakura was in pain and she wanted to help but she did not know how and while I can see Tsuki’s side, who only saw the happy face of Sakura that she put on for everyone of her classmates, it hurt that more, when she did not stand up for Sakura and then when you think of how much hurt was piled onto an already filled tank of Sakura’s…
Upon learning that it was Sakura, Tsuki of course could not help beginning to act strangely with her and Sakura being a smart girl totally sees the difference. This happens when after school Sakura suggests that they walk home together and I guess having just found out what she had, Tsuki was a bit lost herself so…
Arg, this is so frustrating! You know she is in the wrong but also you totally understand her side of things, like….
It hurt me just watching them. And in me thinking how painful it felt watching Sakura think the worst when she thinks that Tsuki is less happy than her usual self and then seeing Tsuki look anywhere but into Sakura’s eyes and then I think about how this is actually affecting Sakura herself…Especially when they show us her face as she turns to look at Tsuki’s back as she leaves…
Then when they are on the bike on the way home, Sakura compliments again Tsuki’s red Scrunchie that her Mom got her, twice, because she wanted Tsuki to know that it really looked good on her, then Sakura leaning on Tsuki’s back and holding her waist and it was not because she was coming onto her but because she was just so tired and just wanted comfort and probably feeling like she was out of time, she tries to come out to Tsuki but in the end, seeing Tsuki there, all smiles and seemingly oblivious, Sakura decides not to tell Tsuki her secret!
I guess I should give Tsuki props here for trying to force herself to listen and be there for Sakura, even though her points get trashed later on!
Seeing Sakura cry once she separates from Tsuki and gets on the bus, while I did not catch in at first, I later come to conclude that she had figured out that Tsuki knew and the way Tsuki was acting differently towards her just hurt her even more, knowing that if even Tsuki would not understand, no one would ever understand her.
The emotions running through me, like…
The next morning something happens that is worth discussing as well. Before she goes off to school, Tsuki is contemplating as she hold her scrunchie. Her Mom thinks that she just doesn’t want to wear it and I am like, do not dare not wear that after Sakura just complemented you wearing it!
Thankfully that is not the case as Tsuki says she doesn’t mind wearing it and her mother tell her that it is a charm, to protect her, as that is the meaning of the flower KALANCHOE, that it means to protect! Tsuki bravely puts on the scrunchie and I am there ready for her to fight the world for Sakura!
Finally, someone will stand up for Sakura and save her from this constricting world that is ready to completely break and devour her!
The worst day was still ahead because when Tsuki gets to class, hell is already on the lose! Someone has already written SAKURA IS A LESBIAN on the board! The atmosphere, you know how people make fun of tense situations, I never understood that until this moment! And then Sakura walks in silently, as everyone looks on, and she looks so devasted and alone, as if she was a rabbit surrounded by a pack of wolves! And you can just her soulless body walking around as if she was a ghost.
She just sits there, takes out her notebook, everyone is staring at her. No one makes a move to approach her!
It was one fuckin depressing scene!
As if summoning the power bestowed upon her by her mom’s words that morning, Tsuki does try to stand up for Sakura but unfortunately she makes the wrong turn to her path of Neo moment! She does the absolute worst thing someone can say to anyone in Sakura’s position.
Deny their existence!
Now, sure she had the best of intentions and what most would do would be to try and say that their friend was not the culprit but, in this case, trying to stand up for Sakura by saying that everyone was wrong and that Sakura is not a lesbian was so not it!
And Sakura’s reaction shows it when she breaks down and leaves the room! She was brave just seconds ago, ready to sit this through even as the world was against. She just needed that one person to understand her and yet there was Tsuki, totally doing the opposite, denying her of her existence!
But the twist of it all, the twist is that it was actually Sakura who wrote that on the board!
She did it to, and it’s me thinking, to judge everyone’s reaction to it. Which is why I think she was so affected by what she got, especially Tsuki not wanting to understand her! While she did try to defend her, it was not the answer to this moment!
Next day Sakura does not show up at school.
Possibly never again. Probably that time on their home when they separated sooner than usual and Sakura said that she was going somewhere, it was probably to organise to move. No, I do not think she killed herself because then the school would know and the Teacher would not call out her name on the roster and then I guess it should be the same that if she had transferred, should they not know!
Either way, the implications were the same!
The class was affected as we see the students’ reaction to Sakura’s absence!
And as if finally figuring out that she totally messed up, Tsuki breaks down in tears in class, and removes the scrunchie.
She failed to live up to its meaning. She failed to protect Sakura.
On the other side you can see it as actually only wearing it still because Sakura said it looked good on her, given that the first time her Mom hands it to her, she does not find it appealing and yet since that first day that Sakura complimented her on it, she was wearing it daily!
It was almost like, everything to do with it was gone and Tsuki taking it off was the sign!
We can also take that to mean that she might have had feelings for Sakura if she reacted that strongly to her absence.
By this time, we have not yet heard what Sakura did talk about with the Nurse. We learn that at the very end as the movie closes with her confession and we find out that she was in love with Tsuki! The way she was so happy as she talked about Tsuki! It was like a completely different Sakura from the one we had seen to that point and it just went to show how affected people are that have to go through this!
And during this last conversation we learn that when she tried to talk to Tsuki on their way home, it wasn’t to come out to her but actually to confess her love for Tsuki but seeing the way that Tsuki was reacting differently towards her, it gave her pause and explained the tears on the bus because she probably knew then that the answer would not have been what she expected.
The blackboard was the final test and Tsuki failed it miserably!
That was where Sakura threw in the towel!
The movie actually ends with the beginning because this all starts with that conversation that Sakura has with the Nurse, that Sana walked into!
Like, I said, this little thing packs a punch and it is sad to see there while there might be progress, there is still many other places where the fight still continues on, let alone even begun!
I cried so hard at this little thing that I never made a ‘little butch’ joke since then!
I totally recommend it even if it is not a HAPPY END one and I totally urge yous to join gagaoolala.
Now, if only they will tell me it’s okay to promote their content with Mvs…
One can dream..