USA, 2007, 87 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Death / Dying, Drama, Gay
Program: U.S. Features
Language: English, Italian, Mandarin


Hidden within every ending is the seed of a new beginning. When Mark dies suddenly, his best friend Jeff is left to tie up the loose ends and is surprised to discover that Mark was cultivating an intimate online relationship with a man from Italy. Andrea is shocked and saddened that he will never get to know Mark in person, just as he was about to embark on their first meeting. Curious, Jeff invites Andrea to visit him in Dallas.
These two important strangers try to piece together a complete picture of the man they both knew and loved, each in his own way. As Jeff and Andrea fall into an easy rapport around their mutual friend, they find empathy and the spark of desire. Is it a longing to keep Mark alive? Or is it Mark’s final gift, to introduce two strangers who never would have met otherwise?
Ciao explores our longing to connect in a transient world, among life’s many unexpected departures and arrivals. Quiet cinematography, spare music and smart, natural writing set an intimate tone as director Yen Tan draws us into the slow unwinding of grief, illuminating the chambers of the human heart — those we open easily and those we keep closed, even with our dearest friends.
First, Tim Verburg sorts through two years of photographs to make sense of the relationships in his life in the visually stunning For a Relationship. — CAROL HARADA


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