Be Careful With Me

When Luke sees his much older ex-boyfriend Mark again, he struggles with deep feelings that he thought were under control.

'Be Careful With Me' is a story of a moment in an intergenerational relationship. Mark and Luke aren’t 'together' anymore, but Luke has agreed to help Mark with moving furniture in his apartment. In the intimacy of the apartment, their comfort with each other brings up old feelings, and, post-breakup, one might have more at stake than the other. Combining non-actors and trained actors, this story developed from interviews and meetings with gay elders in South Australia.

Luke is waiting. He’s nervous, but when Mark arrives, he’s not sure what to say. Luke has agreed to meet with his ex, Mark, to help Mark move some furniture in his apartment. Mark is much older than Luke, and Luke is embarrassed by having to wait on the street for Mark to arrive. Their initial meeting is awkward and uncertain. But once inside, they’re able to move closer to each other physically and emotionally. Chatter about plants and glasses of water is weighted with tension. They have sex, and Mark tries to capture something of the moment by taking photographs of Luke. In the afterglow, Mark shows Luke these photos, documents of a moment in time. Luke leaves, casually, leaving their connection and commitment to each other unresolved.

  • Gilbert Kemp Attrill
    Director
  • Melisa Daly
    Producer
  • Lachy Barnett
    Key Cast
    "Luke"
  • Brian North
    Key Cast
    "Mark"
  • Rebecca Duncker
    Cinematographer
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 5 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 10, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    1,500 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
    Australia
  • Country of Filming:
    Australia
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Melbourne Queer Film Festival

    Australia
    November 28, 2021
    Australian Premiere
    MQFF Australian Shorts Competition
  • KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

    India
    June 1, 2022
    International Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Gilbert Kemp Attrill

Gilbert Kemp Attrill is a queer writer and director from Adelaide, currently undergoing a Masters at AFTRS. Their work as director and writer includes ‘Meteor’ (short film, premiered on ABC2), ‘Labyrinth’ (video installation for Google Cube in collaboration with Claire Marsh, presented by Google Creative Labs and Adelaide Fringe 2016), ‘In the Garden’ (360° video work for VR headsets, presented at Sister Gallery), ‘The Golden Mask’ (short film with live clarinet accompaniment by Shoshana Rosenberg, presented at Reception Project Space), as producer, ‘Aquaphobe’ (written and directed by Melanie Easton, screened at Flickerfest, AFF and MWFF), and the forthcoming ‘Reunion’, as director and co-writer.

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Director Statement

I knew that I wanted to explore a relationship that has a big obvious external difference and explore what that could mean emotionally, and what it would look like. And the interview process to meet gay elders to inform the project turned out to be formative in lots of ways - that’s how I met Brian, who plays ‘Mark.’ Brian is used to be being behind the scenes in theatre and art, and the process of working him to create this character and performance has been a great joy. Especially in gay male culture as well as the culture at large, older members of the community can be invisible and I wanted to make a, however modest, effort to correct that. And more than that, meeting Brian, and the others I interviewed, I discovered a humour and especially a vitality that I will carry with me into my own future.

The phrase ‘be careful with me’ comes from Cardi B (from her track of the same name) and, obliquely, the Sufi poet Bulleh Shah;

“Tear down the mosque and temple too, break all that divides
But do not break the human heart, as it is there that God resides.”

or in the words of Cardi B: “Yeah, my heart is like a package with a fragile label on it.”

‘Be careful with me’ is both a warning and a plea.

The film runs for 9 minutes but has only 3 minutes of dialogue. I was interested in the spaces, the unsaid, the opportunities to speak more honestly that are not taken. “Be careful with me”, or “I miss you” or “I wish you would stay” - or “I loved you, but I need to grow up and move on” - are all things that these characters could, but never do, say to each other.