Best known for the unexpectedly soul-shattering San Francisco suicide doc “The Bridge
,” indie filmmaker Eric Steel
came out and came of age in 1980s New York at a moment just before AIDS devastated the city’s gay community. Such timing must have been surreal, to assume something so liberating about one’s own identity, only to watch in fear and uncertainty as this fraternity of newfound freedom collapsed around him. One can feel the traces of that experience — nostalgia for old-school, in-person sexual discovery, tinged with survivor’s guilt — lurking in Steel’s narrative debut, “Minyan
,” a movie about an outsider among outsiders: a closeted kid adrift in Brighton Beach’s Russian Jewish community circa 1986.
Steel took a long time to make his narrative debut, and he comes to the project in the wake of other adolescent tales depicting the same era and milieu, such as Dito Montiel