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SOME KIND OF PARADISE

Modern hookup culture, specifically in the queer community, has its own ins and outs. Many look at it as excessive or even risky, while others choose to see it as a more holistic experience. A classic exercise in searching for a meaningful connection puts us in the shoes of a young man in the mid-South, confronted with an unexpected rendezvous. Some Kind of Paradise, directed by Nicolas Finegan, was selected to this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Tyler (John Brodsky) lives in his trailer and works at his local bar in Paradise, Arkansas. Some may argue that Tyler’s job and life are both straightforward. On occasion, he’ll peruse the Grindr app, searching for someone to share his bed with for the evening. A film crew arrives in town, upending his world when he meets actor Raphael (Gabriel Leyva) via the app. Sparks fly from the moment they lay eyes on each other at Tyler’s bar, as they begin to enjoy their days together, blissfully unaware of time working against them.

Finegan’s film wholly embraces the multi-faceted element of chance encounters. Tyler feels unfulfilled with other men, who leave without a trace by sunrise and don’t even bother acknowledging his own needs in the bedroom. When he meets Raphael, a shift becomes evident, and the two dance the evening away and rehearse the actor’s lines in the parking lot afterwards. Brodsky and Leyva’s chemistry is irresistible, even magnetic. There’s excitement and anticipation that blossoms and persists for as long as they are on screen. Finegan’s direction is sharp, as is the screenplay co-written by Finegan and Talisha Elger. Tyler and Raphael’s interaction and the expression of their intimacy through physical and verbal cues are rife with nuances.

The film is as much about human relations as it is about a lack thereof. Though what Tyler and Raphael form seems genuine, the short’s stellar production design and locales tell a very different tale. Tyler’s overwhelming sense of isolation and disconnect from the world around him is another compelling part of the story. Sometimes he meanders as his date ends, and other times he’s quick to search for the next best thing while hiding at work. Ultimately, we find him struggling. There’s something truly crushing about the long rides in his pickup truck and quaint mornings spent replacing bedsheets without a soul in sight.

Some Kind of Paradise paints a beguilingly somber portrait of man’s desire to feel something extraordinary, earnest and unflinching.

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SOME KIND OF PARADISE

Modern hookup culture, specifically in the queer community, has its own ins and outs. Many look at it as excessive or even risky, while others

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