T H E   S T O R Y

Scott Marlowe as Frankie in T E S T

An astutely crafted drama set in the free-spirited San Francisco of 1985, writer-director Chris Mason Johnson's TEST lovingly portrays this exciting and harrowing era as young Frankie (dancer Scott Marlowe in a breakout acting debut) confronts the challenges of being an understudy in a modern dance company where he’s taunted to “dance like a man!” Frankie embarks on a budding relationship with hunky Todd (Matthew Risch, HBO's "Looking"), a veteran dancer in the same company and the bad boy to Frankie’s innocent.

 

As Frankie and Todd’s friendship deepens, they navigate a world of risk — it’s the early years of the epidemic — but also a world of hope, humor, visual beauty and musical relief. The captivating dance sequences were especially choreographed for the film by acclaimed U.S. choreographer Sidra Bell. The film’s vibrant soundtrack includes work by 80s icons Jimmy Somerville (Bronski Beat), Klaus Nomi, Romeo Void, Laurie Anderson, Martha & the Muffins, Cocteau Twins and Sylvester.

S Y N O P S I S

Frankie is the newest, skinniest and most mocked member of an up-and-coming modern dance company in San Francisco. The year is 1985.  As six muscular male dancers tumble their way through athletic choreography, Frankie stands on the sidelines, mirroring the movement and looking a little weak. The choreographer stops the music and yells at Frankie to “dance like a man!” On the sidelines, Todd watches. Todd is an established dancer in the same company and the bad boy to Frankie’s innocent. They’re friends - opposites attract.

 

For Frankie, the city offers no relief from the bullying at work: a newspaper headline asks “Should Gays Be Quarantined?” while fresh graffiti screams “AIDS Faggot Die!” Frankie turns away and, with his bright yellow Walkman clipped to his belt, retreats into a music-filled trance.

 

When one of the male dancers is injured Frankie must perform in his place. It’s the classic test of skill and character, and Todd helps Frankie prepare. Outside of work, as Frankie and Todd’s friendship deepens, they each face a different kind of test: the newly-named disease is spreading fast and no one seems to know anything about it, except who it targets. Together the friends navigate a world full of risk that is also, now and then, full of hope.