Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party
Location: Bartos Screening Room
With director Stephen Cone in conversation with film curator Nellie Killian
Dir. Stephen Cone. 2015, 87 mins. Digital projection. With Cole Doman, Joe Keery, Pat Healy, Tyler Ross, Elizabeth Laidlaw. On his seventeenth birthday, preacher’s kid Henry Gamble (Doman) is throwing a pool party. While Henry treads through various sexual possibilities, questioning who he is and what he might want, so do both the adults and teenagers at the party stumble through and forge ahead in matters of desire, love, identity, and faith. Shot through with Cone’s typical emotional precision and rigorous humanity, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party also has a formal ambition that does not call attention to itself, spanning 24 discrete hours and registering a host of experiences with a democratic curiosity that can rightfully be called Altmanesque. “It’s a rambunctious, often hilarious, and carefully constructed story. A lot of low-budget films have a similar setup to Henry Gamble: They take place in one location and focus on interpersonal relationships. But Henry Gamble is huge in comparison. It’s about people in the process of “becoming.”— Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com. A Wolfe Releasing film.
Preceded by “Silver Horizon” by Trey Pearson (2017, 5 mins.), a music video directed by Cone and starring Cole Doman.
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