➤ HAM ON RYE, from p.26
glowing ball which erases the presence
of most teens from the town.
The fi lm continues for the rest
of the night and the following day,
depicting a far more desolate place.
The angst caused by the absence
of most of the town’s residents is
expressed quietly but forcefully.
“Ham on Rye” starts out teeming
with life, but the fi nal third is full
of long shots with no one in the
frame. The town continues, but its
vitality has been sapped. A major
sacrifi ce has been made.
Horror fi lms like “It Follows” and
“Raw” have come up with strange
allegories for the end of adolescence,
but “Ham on Rye” offers a
bizarre premise with no guidance
about how to read it. Did the Rapture
take place? Is this a metaphor
for poor youth left behind in deadend
towns when their peers leave
for college? The isolation caused by
people staying at home and looking
at Netfl ix and social media rather
than actually socializing? Any rite
of passage that marks its participants
Carson Lund’s cinematography
The dressed-up teenage boys of Tyler Taormina’s “Ham on Rye.”
contributes enormously to the
fi lm’s unreal atmosphere. The early
scenes look unnaturally bright
(foreshadowing the bulb of doom)
and soft. Light sources within the
frame glow forcefully. The editing
also adds to the off-kilter quality.
It’s impossible to settle on a single
interpretation of “Ham on Rye,”
but that proves to be its strength.
Rather than arriving at a statement
about what it’s like to be a
teenager now, the fi lm is more interested
in showing us how it feels.
All along, it’s a hangout movie. The
fi nal third feels much sadder because
that hangout has been reduced
to solitary, isolated people,
rather than a communal dance or
party around a fi re.
Its vision of suburbia combines
the narrative of unexplained disappearance
“L’avventura” with the eerie emptiness
of the coda to his later
“L’eclisse.” Premiering at a fi lm
festival in Locarno, Switzerland,
in the summer of 2019, “Ham and
Rye” was made long before images
of abandoned city streets started
circulating this past spring, but
it offered a premonition of them.
Jumpy even when most interested
in people and bored with conventional
storytelling, “Ham on Rye”
succeeds splendidly as a mood
HAM ON RYE | Directed by Tyler
Taormina | Factory 25 | Starts
streaming Oct. 23 | Anthology Film
Archives; anthologyfi lmarchives.org
The Limited Edition
New York Series
Win up to $1,000,000
PLEASE PLAY RESPONSIBLY.
You must be 18 years or older to purchase a lottery ticket.
Struggling with a gambling addiction? Call the HOPEline 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369)
or text HOPENY (467369).* NYLResponsiblePlay.com *Standard text rates may apply.
©2020 New York Lottery
GayCityNews.com | October 22 - November 4, 2020 27
1173705_N20LO256_896_NYL_CompSizeB_8.75x5.6875.indd 1 8/28/20 3:36 PM