The documentary is set in DC, known for highest rate of anti-gay violence and shows its subjects through their passions and dreams, and the film’s narrative emerges from the peaks and valleys of their ambitions. These “sissies” might look and act girlishly flamboyant, but they were packing brass knuckles, knives and trigger-tempers.. Most of the members of this gang make their living through prostitution. We see the primary focus on few of the key characters. Tray sports long dreads and speaks softly about their shifting gender identity. His real love is fashion, which they and a few other members are able to explore through a summer fashion camp. The youth is supported by a former social worker Mo, who connects the group to a serious professional fashion producer because fashion is one thing that gets everyone excited. We also meet Duke who helps one of the other members Skittles in boxing training. Getting training in fashion production, at least a couple of these folks have a better future prospect, which we see one year later when they come to New York to be a part of a big fashion show.
It’s important to remember that a story like this in fact an everyday reality. Though the film tells a compelling story — and one that should be seen — it’s not the whole picture. And sadly its hard to connect the protagonists. There is a fine line between taking up a cause as a rebel for safety vs picking up fights just for heck for it. I understand that as individuals people have gone through so much, which I could never understand, that their self-defense mechanism kicks in. But the fact that most of the folks are not even ready to use the opportunity for a better life surprises me. Some passages border upon frustrating as the tone of each “scene” can change without notice — depending on who has beef with who and why — constantly keeping us and the filmmakers on their toes.
It is a fascinating portrait of inner-city youth without offering easy answers or solutions. Even though the subject is critical, personally I found difficult to connect with the documentary and I blame mostly for the style of film-making more than anything. (3.5/10)