[Brooklyn Horror Review] GIVE ME AN A

[Brooklyn Horror Review] GIVE ME AN A
GIVE ME AN A l Brooklyn Horror
On Friday, June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It was a move that wasn’t at all surprising, given the views of certain justices (and the draft opinion that was leaked only a few months before). It was and is, however, a crushing blow. Immediately after the overturn, thirteen states with “trigger laws” banned abortion. As of this writing, eighteen states have laws that either outright ban abortion or have “gestational limits” which prohibit abortion after a certain number of weeks—sometimes before a person even realizes they’re pregnant—which severely impacts the accessibility of getting an abortion, especially in states where clinics are few and far between.

It’s critical to understand that in most if not all cases, these laws do not make an exception for victims of rape or incest (even if the pregnant person is a child), and they also apply to people who need an abortion to save their life.

Politicians (predominantly in the Republican camp) have been unraveling reproductive rights for years. They repeat the party lines of “sanctity of life” and “protect the children,” but in reality, the only motivations for politicizing bodies with uteruses are misogyny, racism, and classism. Some politicians are even discussing banning contraceptives. It’s like they’re not even trying to hide their hatred anymore.

The overturn of Roe v. Wade sparked tidal waves of outrage and fury in the form of protests, donations to abortion funds, and art. A short film block that screened at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival is only one example of this.

GIVE ME AN A is an anthology of fifteen short films about abortion and reproductive freedom—or rather, an absence of both. Spanning the genres of horror, science fiction, and dark comedy, GIVE ME AN A almost perfectly encapsulates the collective fear and rage felt across the country by every person with a conscience.

With Natasha Halevi at the helm as executive producer and director of the anthology’s wraparound piece “The Cheerleaders” and short “Abigail,” GIVE ME AN A’s roster of directors lists Hannah Alline (“Hold Please”), Avital Ash (“God’s Plan”), Bonnie Discepolo (“DTF”), Loren Escandon (“The Last Store”), Valerie Finkel (“Crucible Island”), Caitlin Josephine Hargraves (“Sweetie”), Danin Jacquay (“Good Girl”), Sarah Kopkin (“The Walk”), Francesca Maldonado (“Traditional”), Kelly Nygaard (“Vasectopia”), Megan Rosati (“Plan C”), Mary C. Russell (“Crone”), Monica Suriyage (“MediEVIL”), Megan Swertlow (“The Voiceless”), and Erica Mary Wright (“Our Precious Babies”).

Each film in GIVE ME AN A is a unique story. Although the anthology is about the same topic, no two films are alike in any way, in form, in content, or in tone. Still, it’s a cohesive collection that stays on track. All of the films in GIVE ME AN A are engaging and compelling, and watching them may even be cathartic for some. There’s comfort in sharing your pain and anger with people who intimately understand it, even if you’re sharing it through a screen. Additionally, 100% of the proceeds from the film’s screening at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival went to The New York Abortion Access Fund.

As much as I enjoyed this anthology, I can’t ignore that of the fifteen films, there weren’t any that examined abortion and reproductive freedom through an explicitly queer or trans lens. There is representation, but it’s subtle and easily missed. The segment titled “Plan C” stars Maze Felix, a trans, nonbinary actor, as a person undergoing a painful insertion of a contraceptive device in their uterus (think an IUD from hell), and the segment “Traditional” has a line of dialogue referencing the female speaker’s wife.

But even with these segments (plus a moment in the opening where two high school cheerleaders have a flirtatious moment), it feels like a missed opportunity to not go “full force” when acknowledging how the overturn of Roe v. Wade affects trans and queer people. Abortion bans and other violations of bodily autonomy don’t only affect cisgender, heterosexual women, and yet almost every conversation about these topics ignores the existence and experience of sapphics and trans people.

GIVE ME AN A has a wonderful range of diversity and representation in regard to race, age, and socioeconomic status; the anthology would have been even more powerful if it showed the same, crystal clear respect for those of us who exist outside the bounds of cisgender and heterosexual.

This is not to say that GIVE ME AN A isn’t worthy of a watch or two—it is. These films and the filmmakers behind them are important as we continue the fight for bodily autonomy and civil rights and against fascist politicians violating our bodies and our freedom through legislature.

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