Atlanta Native Jane Pickett Goes into “The Men’s Room”

The Men’s Room is an emotionally charged short film dealing with explicit themes of male sexuality, intimacy, and the concept of public decency. When Thomas ventures into a park for a sexual encounter with a stranger, he uncovers a striking complexity composed of desire, fear, and betrayal when his would-be partner’s identity is revealed. The Men’s Room explores the seemingly unwelcome yet enduring pastime of public sex, a world of secrecy and code lurking just below the surface of normalcy. We sat down with filmmaker and Atlanta native Jane Pickett and asked her about this explosive and powerful short film.

Can you tell us why as a female filmmaker you decided to tackle male sexuality?

You know, I get asked this a lot and I’ve come to find the question in and of itself so interesting in that we see male filmmakers tackle female sexuality all the time, but a female looking at male sexuality seems to come across as a bit odd or surprising. I wonder why this it.

But to answer your question more personally, men have always been fascinating to me. There’s an opposition there between a shared human experience and a unique male sexuality. I like being female and feel very rooted in my gender, so men have always felt a bit foreign. With male sexuality, the sexual energy in men, there’s an intensity and a drive that is unique. As a sexual person, I relate to that drive deeply, however the wild level of intensity seems fundamental to the male experience.

Sexuality in general, but especially homosexuality is a touchy subject. Do you think the film would be less affecting if it had been a heterosexual couple being adventurous? Do you think audiences would be more forgiving in a sense of the societal not legal rules broken by public/outdoor sex?

Yes, I think with a heterosexual couple, audiences in general would be more caught up in the aspect of the relationship and the erotic journey and less focused on whether or not this particular behavior was okay. I think this speaks to an ongoing homophobia that runs rampant in our culture.

I purposefully ignored the synopsis which made me unaware of the other character’s identity. Do you want audience members to know his identity going into the film?

No, I want the audience for the most part to discover the man in the way that Thomas does. I want to bring the audience into that tension and suspense and have them wonder, like the title of the book in Thomas’s back pocket, Who Goes There?.

The Men’s Room shows Sunday March 25th at 4 p.m at Landmark Theaters.

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