Larry Peloso

Lives in
Toronto , ON
Ontario CA

Documentarist. Trent-trained, Toronto-based Peloso is known chiefly for the broad international success of Prom Fight: The Marc Hall Story (Toronto, 2002, 58, TIFF), a feelgood but engaging documentary on the Oshawa teenager’s victorious battle in the media and the courts to force his Catholic school board to let him take his boyfriend to his prom. Structured around a day-by-day account of the struggle, Prom Fight was buoyed by the exceptional charisma of dewy-eyed, blue-haired angel Marc and his family, not to mention its prophetic input into the same-sex marriage swell of the following year. Supportive family aside, there’s an odd reverse-oedipal dynamic to Marc’s seduction of the avuncular United Auto Worker elders while the bigot stepmother/school board chair sheds alligator tears as she sharpens the castration gavel with her blood-red nails. Still there are lots of nice mothers around, including a rouge-cheeked PFLAG organizer who seems to have stepped right out of Queer as Folk (which also makes a guest appearance...). Meanwhile, the titular hero’s growing vulnerability to the seductions of the vividly portrayed media frenzy creates a sinking unease in the film, and the concluding update on the romantic couple’s post-prom breakup adds just the right modulation for triumphalist readings. Nevertheless, when one of the gang opines at the moment of victory (in Ontario valleyspeak) “This is, like, history, guys,” only the hardest-hearted queer cynic can resist a tear or two. The film was not surprisingly a big hit on the community festival circuit around the world and on specialty cable broadcasts in Canada and the US Peloso preceded his breakthrough with his prizewinning Coming Out of the Iron Closet (1995, 40), about queer life in former Soviet bloc societies.