I like to think we are in a world of progression and acceptance. In the recent years, there has been progress towards legalizing gay marriage. To many people it’s too slow of a process but at least there are more platforms for public discussion over the issues. Making documentaries about the topic is a great tool and Fish Out of Water is a very effective entry.
Fish has a very smart directive by not just preaching to the choir. It has a very specific audience in mind and is hoping to make an intelligent dialog through its film. Writer-director Ky Dickens started this project after being chastised after she came out to her sorority sisters. They used religion as an attacking force saying that she is an abomination and she will be going to hell.
So Dickens travels around the country speaking to different experts to examine the passages of the Bible that are used against the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer (GLBTQ) community. There are seven main passages that people ignorantly quote and through religious figures Dickens is able to point out the absurdity of them.
It is never an attack against religion and that is a very important part. Majority of the GLBTQ who are interviewed in this film are very spiritual and still want to be considered Christians. The film is used as a guide to look for acceptance into the community. All of the points are well made. They also look towards the philosophies of Jesus and make educated assumptions on His position.
Once the structure is used up, the film falls back on familiar material, but Dickens still makes everything interesting as she juxtaposes facts, pictures, and animated recreations to add a new emotional level. The most jarring footage is the material she captured of the hateful homophobic individuals. There are reverends that are saying the cruelest things directly towards Dickens and the rest of the GLBTQ community.
The film works because it isn’t a political film or even a religious one, but the focus is strongly on people as people. The community is seen as hurt group of people who just want to be able to be loved and seen as equal. It may still take a long time, but I think movies like this will hopefully lessen the length.
Fish Out of Water plays again on Monday at 3:15. You can purchase tickets here: http://www.indyfilmfest.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=129&Itemid=105