The Sticky Fingers of Time

sticky fingers of timeOnce in a while, an indie film comes along so full of ambition and genius, it takes my breath away. Hilary Brougher’s 1997 debut, The Sticky Fingers of Time does all that while managing to hold up beautifully nearly 20 years later. Long before the term mash-up appeared, Brougher combined time travel, 50’s pulp fiction, 90’s NYC East Village hip with unapologetic lesbian characters. Recently a friend of mine discussing sexual fluidity remarked, “I’ve had sex with men, lots of sex with men; but I need women to be sexually turned on.” Such are the characters in The Sticky Fingers of Time. Both Tucker and Drew have on-going relationships with men, but they seem secondary to the attention the women in their lives garner including the attraction building between each other. Ophelia’s relationship with Isaac seems to be out of what could still be (one of the fingers of time) rather than what she desires. Brougher’s film is quintessential indie – packed with claustrophobic interiors and exterior shots of the East Village during the late 90’s – a love letter to those of us who lived there during that time period. Shot on Super 16mm film during a four-week shoot, this low-budget gem boasts a brilliant cast. The plot twists and explanations are so subtle, so matter of fact, you sometimes forget there’s a Sci-Fi story going on. And clocking in at a lean 82 minutes, Sticky Fingers reminds me of the best YA novels I’ve been reading the past few years – risk-taking, edgy, honest without being riddled with unnecessary content. The opposite of so many Hollywood films in need of a stronger editor. For that evening when you’re in an adventuresome mood or when you simply want to witness the brilliance of indie film making when the planets align, treat yourself to the the modern classic, Hilary Brougher’s The Sticky Fingers of Time. 5 out of 5.

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