Magazine article Screen International

'Pulse': Busan Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Pulse': Busan Review

Article excerpt

Source: BIFF Pulse Dir. Stevie Cruz-Martin. Australia, 2017, 84 mins. Low budget Australian drama Pulse takes cues from real life experience to deliver a body- and gender-swapping sci-fi which examines appearance, sexuality and disability. First time feature writer-actor Daniel Monks joins forces with his regular short film ...

Pulse

Dir. Stevie Cruz-Martin. Australia, 2017, 84 mins.

Low budget Australian drama Pulse takes cues from real life experience to deliver a body- and gender-swapping sci-fi which examines appearance, sexuality and disability. First time feature writer-actor Daniel Monks joins forces with his regular short film collaborator Stevie Cruz-Martin to transform his own grapplings with identity, which followed a life-changing condition during adolescence, into a body transplant fantasy with bold intentions.

The feature’s lack of neatness pairs well with its crisp, realism-favouring visuals

Indeed, the naturalistic manner in which the film is shot and performed ensures its personal basis never escapes attention, although there’s no mistaking Pulse’s high-concept plot for real life; just for conversation-sparking escapism.

A clear labour of love with the tone to match, the crowdfunded title arrives in Busan after screening at Australian festivals including CinefestOZ in 2016, and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Sydney Film Festival earlier in 2017. With three of the duo’s shorts featured at Palm Springs International ShortFest, the movie’s premise, earnestness and authentic feel could also spark other modest festival interest, particularly on the LGBT circuit.

Monks plays Olly, a disabled high schooler as accustomed to spending time in hospital as is he is to the way that others look at him. His mother Jacqui (Caroline Brazier) is supportive, as are his best friend Luke (Scott Lee), Luke’s girlfriend Nat (Sian Ewers) and her pal Britney (Isaro Kayitesi), but the future means pain, an eventual hip replacement and romantic loneliness.

Deciding to go through with a medical procedure that will transfer his mind into another body is therefore easy; deciding to become a beautiful woman is too, though telling his loved ones is nerve-wracking. That said, Pulse doesn’t dwell on Olly taking the plunge or even the technology that enables his choice, rather the aftermath. …

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