Pink Purple and Blue
12 Jan 2022
Piper Supplee, Madison Marshall, Kabir McNeely
After graduating high school Rosemarie (Piper Supplee) and Cassie (Madison Marshall), take a trip from North Carolina to California, where Rosemarie decides to make the difficult decision of coming out as bisexual to her best friend.
Pink Purple and Blue is the ninth short film from 16-year-old, writer-director Kabir McNeely. An LGBTQ+ activist, McNeely has made several films exploring the lives of young people who have had difficulty coming out including Blue Girl and Blue Girl 2025.
It is clear from the outset that this is the work of a young, amateur filmmaker, putting this together on a shoestring budget (or no budget at all). The film generally lacks in shot construction, the plot dominates the characters, and the soundtrack often works against the naturalistic image. This isn’t to say the film is without merit as there are moments where raw teenage expression shines through.
Pink Purple and Blue works best when it delves into the awkward, naïve, staccato conversations where Rosemarie probes for confirmation that her coming out will be received positively. Cassie deflects this with a spout of crude observations and untruths which inevitably leads to her friend backtracking and reluctantly nodding along. This feels remarkably natural and highlights how uncomfortable teenagers can be made to feel in their own skin, whether they are the ones coming out or not. It shows the volatility that can breed on the boundary between the teenage and adult worlds. Saying things that they don’t believe in, even if it is violent, because conformity is an easier option than confronting the change happening around them.
It is easy to see McNeely’s journey to date as Pink Purple and Blue continues their exploration of how to represent technology on-screen. A previous short, Blue Girl, is framed as a school meeting on a video-conferencing call, as to be expected during the pandemic. This skill is integrated smoothly into this latest short as well as representations of text messages and phone calls. Part of the future of filmmaking is going to be the development of the on-screen representation of how technology impacts our ability to communicate. It will be particularly interesting to track the paths of young filmmakers like McNeely to see how they innovate with these advances.
Whilst it is hard to recommend this short to the average audience, there are noteworthy moments of raw honesty. Hopefully, McNeely can continue to develop their strengths by experimenting with more short films in the future.