Recent political discussions have focussed on the issue of "gay
 marriage" (a term that is a misnomer), so the arrival of
SAINTS AND
 SINNERS
is timely, if nothing else. It's an assured documentary directed
 by Abigail Honor and Yan Vizinberg and follows a Roman Catholic male
 couple, Edward DeBonis and Vincent Maniscalco, as they attempt
 to get married with the blessings of the Church.

         Now one might immediately stop and say, "Why would they even
 bother?" Well, the answers are made clear by the two men: their faith
 plays an important role in their lives. Both are active members in
 Dignity/NewYork, a chapter of a national organization of gay, lesbian,
 bisexual and transgendered Catholics.

         Of course, the Catholic Church won't marry them. (As any good
 Catholic knows, though, marriage is a sacrament in which the couple
 tying the knot takes the active role; the priest is just there to bless the
 union. All other sacraments depend on the priest's performing an act
 on the person.) Never mind that in early Church history there were rites
 and rituals that blessed same sex couplings. Since the days of
 Constantine and later codified in the Middle Ages, same sex couples
 cannot be married.

         The film follows the relatively even-tempered couple as they
 struggle to overcome the odds and marry. There are the hassles of
 finding a venue, dealing with bakeries for cakes, and struggling with
 family members who are generally supportive but wary of being filmed.
 It isn't giving away too much to say that the couple eventually found
 a Protestant Church, a willing Catholic priest and the love and support
 of their family and friends.

         I have to add a small disclaimer:  this film is very difficult for me
 to review in part because I am acquainted with the couple at its
 center. (Although I was unaware of the film until hearing about its
 presentation at NewFest.) So in my slightly biased opinion,
SAINTS AND
 SINNERS
is a well-made and enjoyable film that should be seen by all,
 especially those in oposition to the issue of same sex marriage.


         Rating:                           B
         MPAA Rating:              None
         Running time:               71 mins.


 Viewed at the NewFest, Loews Cineplex Entertainment 34th St. Theater

NYC Premiere
Co-presented with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Screened with the 8-minute short
PROPOSAL (NYC Premiere) and the
4-minute short
HOWDY PARTNER (World Premiere)
Saints & Sinners (2004)