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  • Writer's pictureDelven Shaw

WILD AWAKENING and WHITE HOT Are Neither Wild Nor Hot.

Watching mediocre films can be an entertaining palate cleanser for the good stuff. Both WILD AWAKENING and WHITE HOT: THE RISE & FALL OF ABERCROMBIE & FITCH are intriguing with attractive visuals. But are we enlightened or entertained?

Promotional materials for WHITE HOT are the famous Bruce Weber nudes that galvanized the brand. Will you be surprised to learn that A & F had racist policies and only employed beautiful people? Or that it was deliberately creating marketing materials that would appeal to upper-class frat boys and gay men?

Former models and employees Ryan Daharsh and Bobby Blanski are among the many interviewed former employees, affiliates, and industry experts. But the good dish must have been left on the cutting room floor.

Mike Jeffries, the former chief executive who powered the business into American malls everywhere, declined to participate with the filmmakers. Without his story, as perhaps a married or closeted man, there is no depth or complexity to the rise and fall story.

Similarly, the film mentions that Bruce Weber has denied the inappropriate behavior allegations made against him. But why note that without giving him a chance to tell his story? Oh, right. By mentioning that, you can use hundreds more quick edits of the beautiful photos of spectacular men at play, partially or wholly nude.

Without these two key players, the film becomes an A & F Bag - pretty to look at but with nothing of value inside.

If you liked Vista Videos of days gone by, you might love WILD AWAKENING, a Dekkoo film with many cowboys showering or playing with a hose in slow motion. Toni (Fabian Castro) and Emma (Julia Hernandez) are siblings crushing on the same farmhand, the tattooed Aaron, who has a mean father. Toni is happily gay, and his friends are shirtless or in drag as they ride their horses, much to the disgust of the unhappy Emma.

Neither film has any surprise, enlightenment, or entertainment value, which reminds you that only the smallest percentage of films made each year are excellent and treasured.

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