Sunday, June 25, 2006

... and that's a wrap for Frameline30

All done. Must sleep. Must see daylight again. Wait — what movie am I seeing at 11 a.m. tomorrow?

Queens / Reinas

In the summer of 2005, Spain became the third nation on earth to legalize same-sex marriage. To celebrate, a mass wedding was held in Madrid. Queens is a comedy focusing on four fictional couples and their parents. Unfortunately, I found the mothers far more annoying than amusing, which considerably dampened my enthusiasm for the film. Overall, I would say that the film works too hard at being funny, and succeeds too little. Amusing, but disappointing.

Queens (Reinas), dir. Manuel Gómez Pereira, 2005 Spain, 107 min., in Spanish with English subtitles

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A Love to Hide / Un amour à taire

The scene is Nazi-occupied Paris, 1942. Sarah, a young Jewish woman whose family was murdered by the Gestapo, seeks refuge with a childhood friend, Jean, who takes her to live with his gay lover, Philippe. Jean's brother Jacques, a low-life Nazi collaborator, sets the story on a tragic turn.

Make no mistake: A Love to Hide is depressing as all hell, but it is beautifully acted and filmed, and it deals with an important subject. Go see this film.

A Love to Hide (Un amour à taire), dir. Christian Fauré, 2005 France, 103 min., in French with English subtitles

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another Gay Movie

Todd Stephens brought us the splendid film Edge of Seventeen in 1998. When he was making his second feature, Gypsy 83, the distributors pressured him to "gay it up" a bit more. He released all of that pent-up gayness into his new project, Another Gay Movie. A glib description would be "the gay American Pie," but that doesn't even begin to cover it. Another Gay Movie harpoons the sacred cows (and mixed metaphors!) of teen movies and gay movies alike.

The setup: Andy (Michael Carbonaro), Jared (Jonathon Chase), Nico (Jonah Blechman), and Griff (Mitch Morris) are gay virgins in the summer between high school and college. They resolve to get laid by the end of summer. Their efforts are at turns surreal, hilarious, and wildly sexy. The sexy stuff covers an astonishing array of tastes, leaving almost anyone hot and bothered. Gay favorites Graham Norton and Scott Thompson, plus porn star Matthew Rush, "Survivor" Richard Hatch, and Lypsinka, all arrive on the scene.

Fabulous satire, fabulous comedy, fabulous props, fabulously sexy, and fabulously fabulous. Another Gay Movie will be playing in a limited theatrical release this summer, but it will be unrated, so it won't be at the shopping mall or the Baptist church fundraiser. Even if you have to drive hundreds of miles, go see this movie! You'll never see quiche lorraine the same way.

Another Gay Movie, dir. Todd Stephens, 2006 USA, 90 min.

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What I Love about Dying

Kris Kovick almost single-handedly started the spoken-word scene in San Francisco. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was true to form, talking openly about her experiences with insight and humor.

What I Love about Dying, dir. Silas Howard, 2006 USA, 11 min.

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Natasha

Who says that women can't rock? Who says that women under 20 can't rock? Don't tell Natasha, an all-female punk band who started in their North Carolina high school, but who already have a record label. An amusing and interesting film.

Natasha, dir. Jen Ashlock, 2005 USA, 13 min.

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The Ovo (Ovo – the Video) / Das Ovo (Ovo – das Video)

Ovo was a German drag queen and AIDS activist. Ovo – the Video combines a random jumble of footage of Ovo into what passes for a documentary.

The Ovo (Ovo – the Video), dir. Michael Brynntrup, 2005 Germany, 17 min.

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"Jaywalking"

Jay Walker is a drag king, a woman who dresses and performs on stage as a male persona — the mirror image of a drag queen. The documentary "Jaywalking" takes a look at Jay and at the drag king scene. Worth seeing.

"Jaywalking", dir's Leigh Iacobucci & Kathy Huang, 2005 USA, 10 min.

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Bañales

Meliza Bañales is a writer and poet who performs here in San Francisco. Unfortunately, she is every bit as annoying on screen as her in-person performances. If you are half as tired as I am of the sing-song artsy cayyyyydence of ... poe-treee, then avoid this film. Ick.

Bañales, dir. Michael La Rocco, 2006 USA, 6 min.

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Scream Clubbing

Hot new musical act. Yawn.

Scream Clubbing, dir. Lisa Ganser, 2006 USA, 11 min.

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New Pornographers — "Sing Me Spanish Techno"

New Pornographers is a Canadian band, and "Sing Me Spanish Techno" is their song, and this is the music video. Not bad.

New Pornographers — "Sing Me Spanish Techno", dir. Michael Palmieri, 2006 USA/Canada, 5 min.

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Pirate Parts

Sam Davis was one of the founders of the Lesbian Avengers, a radical dyke group in San Francisco, but then he (along with some of the other original Avengers) came to terms with his male identity. FtM just didn't cover the full scope of his identity, though, particularly since it is still rooted in the binary gender concept. Sam thus started United Genders of the Universe and Gender Pirates (a monthly nightclub/performance event) to support all of us who see gender as having more than just two checkboxes. Pirate Parts explores a bit of the history of UGU and Gender Pirates, shedding light on a part of our community that will not be ignored.

If you see this film, watch for yours truly in the uncredited but pivotal role of "guy in blue hoodie sitting behind the person being interviewed." Like I told the filmmaker, next time I want a speaking role.

Pirate Parts, dir's Michael Kaufman (a.k.a. MK) & Alexis Dayers, 2006 USA, 16 min.

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Performative Queers

Performative Queers is a program of shorts with some connection to musicians, spoken word performers, or others who get up on stage in one way or another.
  • Pirate Parts, dir's Michael Kaufman & Alexis Dayers, 2006 USA, 16 min.
  • New Pornographers — "Sing Me Spanish Techno," dir. Michael Palmieri, 2006 USA/Canada, 5 min.
  • Scream Clubbing, dir. Lisa Ganser, 2006 USA, 11 min.
  • Bañales, dir. Michael La Rocco, 2006 USA, 6 min.
  • "Jaywalking," dir's Leigh Iacobucci & Kathy Huang, 2005 USA, 10 min.
  • The Ovo (Ovo – the Video), dir. Michael Brynntrup, 2005 Germany, 17 min., in German with English subtitles
  • Natasha, dir. Jen Ashlock, 2005 USA, 13 min.
  • What I Love about Dying, dir. Silas Howard, 2006 USA, 11 min.
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Like a Brother / Comme un Frère

Nineteen-year-old Zack moves from a small town to the big city of Paris, where he finds the freedom to explore his gay identity. He has difficulty letting go of Romain, the friend he left behind, but who seems to be uninterested in being more than just friends. Romain comes to visit in Paris, bringing the dilemma to a head. It's not a terribly original plot, but it's reasonably well done, with plenty of eye candy.

Like a Brother (Comme un frère), dir's Bernard Alapetite & Cyril Legann, 2005 France, 56 min., in French with English subtitles

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Friday, June 23, 2006

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green

Eric Orner created a comic strip called "The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green," about a twentysomething gay man who consistently sabotages his relationships. Following in the tradition of Superman, Spiderman, and X-Men, George Bamber brings the comic to life on the big screen.

Ethan's roommate and former boyfriend Leo wants to sell the house that they share so that he can move on with his life. Ethan's current boyfriend is wigging out, and then there's the twinkie, Punch. Ethan and Leo have a lesbian roommate, who begins a romance with the pathetic loser real-estate agent Ethan picks to list the house, undermining Ethan's plan to draw out the situation as long as possible by ensuring that the house never sells. Then things get really wacky.

Hilarious, witty, incisive, screwy, and 88 minutes of fun. Coming soon to a theatre near you!

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, dir. George Bamber, 2005 USA, 88 min.

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Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner

Tony Kushner is best known for the play and film Angels in America, but he is also a political activist, and a gay Jew who grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Wrestling with Angels is a compelling biography of this amazing artist.

Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner, dir. Freida Lee Mock, 2006 USA, 102 min.

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David

A businessman meets a young man who turns out to be mute. They spend the afternoon together. Sweet, lyrical, beautifully made.

David, dir. Roberto Fiesco, 2005 Mexico, 15 min., in Spanish with English subtitles

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Daddy's Boy

A young man is trying to conceal his sexuality from his father, but a mixup at the video store brings an unexpected surprise. Well done, worth seeing.

Daddy's Boy, dir. Tristan Hamilton, 2006 Australia, 8 min.

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Two Nights

A young man goes home with two very different men on two different nights, with two very different endings to the evenings. Not bad.

Two Nights, dir. Rolmar Baldonado, 2006 Australia, 12 min.

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The Bath

The Bath purports to delve into the male prostitution trade in Mumbai, but the film is so badly made as to be unwatchable. The worst short film I saw in Frameline30.

The Bath, dir. Sachin Kundalkar, 2005 India, 20 min., in Hindi with English subtitles

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Still

Disconnected images of a young man on a train with a really annoying soundtrack.

The purpose of this film is to give the audience an opportunity to go get popcorn, go to the restroom, or just wander into the lobby. Dreadful, worth going out of your way to miss seeing.

Still, dir. Lucky Kaswandi, 2005 Indonesia/USA, 15 min.

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Man Seeking Man / Mies etsii miestä

Seppo, a middle-aged man living alone in a small apartment, answers a personal ad and makes a date. At the appointed time, his doorbell rings, and he finds a young man with a huge rucksack asking, "Do you know who I am?" Seppo assumes that it's the man from the personal ad, and proceeds with his clumsy efforts at seduction, realizing only when the actual blind date arrives that the first man was in fact his estranged son.

Man Seeking Man captures the awkwardness of a 50-year-old man venturing into the gay dating scene, and deftly plays out the mistaken identity angle. Worth seeing.

Man Seeking Man (Mies etsii miestä), dir. Matti Harju, 2004 Finland, 10 min., in Finnish with English subtitles

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Attack

We open with the immediate aftermath of a street fight. A black man is injured and a white skinhead lies prone on the ground. Through flashbacks, we eventually learn what actually took place. Unfortunately, the flashbacks are poorly structured. Interesting, but not compelling.

Attack, dir. Timothy Smith, 2005 UK, 7 min.

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The Pegasus

The Bengali progressive rock band Cactus did a queer music video. Well done and worth seeing.

The Pegasus, dir. Nintu, 2005 India, 6 min., in Hindi with English subtitles

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A Crimson Mark

In the Chosun dynasty, the royal court is meeting to determine the correct period of time that the dead king's mother should mourn, with one faction arguing that there can be no doubt that it should be one year and the other faction arguing that there can be no doubt it should be three years. Somewhere in the midst of the insufferably boring argument, there is a little hint of romance. Well worth missing.

A Crimson Mark, dir. Park Hyun-Jin, 2004 South Korea, 13 min., in Korean with English subtitles

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Worldly Affairs

Frameline's program of short films from around the world:
  • A Crimson Mark, dir. Park Hyun-Jin, 2004 South Korea, 13 min., in Korean with English Subtitles
  • The Pegasus, dir. Nintu, 2005 India, 6 min., in Hindi with English subtitles
  • Attack, dir. Timothy Smith, 2005 UK, 7 min.
  • Man Seeking Man, dir. Matti Harju, 2004 Finland, 10 min., in Finnish with English subtitles
  • Still, dir. Lucky Kuswandi, 2005 Indonesia/USA, 15 min.
  • The Bath, dir. Sachin Kundalkar, 2005 India, in Hindi with English subtitles
  • Two Nights, dir. Rolmar Baldonado, 2006 Australia, 12 min.
  • Daddy's Boy, dir. Tristan Hamilton, 2006 Australia, 8 min.
  • David, dir. Roberto Fiesco, 2005 Mexico, 15 min., in Spanish with English subtitles
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The Line of Beauty

The Line of Beauty is a bbc mini-series set in the 1980's, telling the story of Nick, a young Oxford graduate who settles into the home of one of his classmates, Toby, and Toby's family. Toby's father is a Tory MP who hopes every time he throws a party that "The Lady" (Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) will make an appearance. Nick accompanies the family on vacations in a French villa; attends dinner parties with the rich, the very rich, and the powerfully rich; and takes care of Toby's sister. However, Nick eventually learns that nothing — his position in the family included — is as secure as it appears.

Line is another in the long string of beautiful, wonderful, rich and compelling mini-series to come from the BBC. Three hours is a long stretch in a movie theatre with only two brief intermissions, but the story draws you in so completely that you hardly notice the time. If you can find it on DVD, so much the better. Seek out this series, find it, and watch it. For that matter, keep an eye out for anything else with Dan Stevens, the newcomer who stars in the central role of Nick Guest.

The Line of Beauty, dir. Saul Dibb, 2006 UK, 3 × 60 min., based on the novel by Alan Hollinghurst

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Strangers with Candy

Strangers with Candy, the television series, had a fanatic following, but was ultimately pulled by Comedy Central, so they went out and made a movie version as a prequel to the series. The main character, Jerri Blank, has been in and out of prison for three decades. She finally gets out at age 46 and returns home to find her father in a coma, with her stepmother hovering over him, waiting for him to die. The doctor tells her that she might be able to snap her father out of his coma by doing something really amazing, so she resolves to return to high school and pick up where she left off. She blends in with her new classmates, even though they are more than young enough to be her children. She must learn how to deal with the popular kids, the nerds, and of course the freaky teachers. Of particular note are Stephen Colbert as the science teacher and Paul Dinello as the art teacher, winding their way through closeness and jealousy in the wake of interloper Matthew Broderick.

I actually wasn't much of a fan of the TV series. It had some very funny moments, but too many "remind me why I'm bothering to watch this" moments. The movie, though, was engaging from beginning to end, and gave the main character a much better feeling of context. Highly recommended. Opens in theatres in July 2006; in NYC 2006-06-28.

Strangers with Candy, dir. Paul Dinello, 2004 USA, 97 min., starring Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Dinello

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Saint of 9/11

Saint of 9/11 is a documentary homage to Father Mychal Judge, a chaplain for the New York City fire department who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. You won't hear much about it in the mainstream media, but Father Mike was a gay man.

I walked out after about half an hour, though, because I found the interview clips repetitive and surprisingly superficial.

Saint of 9/11, dir. Glenn Holsten, 2006 USA, 95 min., narrated by Sir Ian McKellen

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Sissy Frenchfry

Sissy Frenchfry is the most popular and the most fabulous student at West Beach High School, but stinky winds of change are blowing. A new student, Bodey McDodey, arrives and makes it his mission to remake West Beach High in his own straight-acting image. He challenges Sissy — who ran unopposed for student council president three years in a row — in the election, takes over the quarterback position on the football team, and even dates a female cheerleader! His dad gives a fat check to the school board, but on condition that they eliminate some of the "gender-inappropriate" behavior in the school. Leslie Jordan, familiar to fans of Will & Grace, Boston Public, and Boston Legal, plays Principal Principle.

I found Sissy Frenchfry amusing, but unsatisfying. Most notably, I didn't get any visceral sense of the affection and admiration the school was supposed to have for the title character, I only saw the superficial indications.

Sissy Frenchfry, dir. J. C. Oliva, 2005 USA, 28 min.

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Homo High School

Imagine a school in which "straight-acting" is socially unacceptable. Now imagine that your parents transfer you there because they're concerned that you're not gay enough. It's a challenging setup to pull off, but Jonathon Rivait succeeds.

Homo High School, dir. Jonathon Rivait, 2005 Canada, 16 min.

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School Boy Art

Franz dreams of being an artist. He attends a Portfolio Day, an opportunity to show his drawings to an art school admissions counselor. The counselor finds Franz's drawings of graffiti art intriguing, and offers him some help with more classical elements like figure drawing. They wind up in Franz's bedroom, where the counselor gives him a hand with more than just his art....

The filmmaker describes School Boy Art as a "short soft smut film," so be aware that it contains explicit sex; that said, it's mostly well done, the drawings are good, and the lead actor is adorable. The sex scene was a bit of a letdown, though, especially with the dramatically lower production values. Call me a tease, but I would rather have left off with the suggestion rather than showing the completion.

School Boy Art, dir. Erica Cho, 2004 USA, 12 min.

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Boys Grammar

In Boys Grammar, Gareth is bullied at school to the point that one day several of the other boys gang-rape him in the showers. He returns to the sanctuary of home, sweet home, to hear his father say, "It seems there has been some bullying going 'round ... What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger."

Boys Grammar is difficult to watch, evoking an insistent urge to leap into the screen and strangle the bullies and most of all the father, but it's worth seeing.

Boys Grammar, dir. Dean Francis, 2005 Australia, 8 min.

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Out Now

Tom is a high-school student, relentlessly persecuted by his classmates because he looks like a fag. He endures taunts and physical violence daily. He finds solace in Internet chats, but finally must make the leap to in-person contact.

The scenes in which Tom is attacked are unpleasant, of course, but on the whole the movie has a sweet tone to it, with a few rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds at the end.

Out Now, dir. Sven J. Matten, 2005 Germany, 21 min., in German with English subtitles

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Playtime / Amser Chwarae

Schoolchildren in Wales are required to learn at least a bit of the Welsh language, which is seeing a bit of a resurgence after centuries of decline and decades of near extinction. Of course, not all the children appreciate the cultural value of Welsh. In Playtime, the teacher in Welsh class finds himself unable to intervene to stop the verbal fag-bashing of one of his students.

This film is very well made and well acted, with the added bonus of music-video scenes by the Welsh rock group Estella. Cymru Rhydd!

Of course, I couldn't possibly review a Welsh film without tossing in the only whole sentence I know in Welsh: Gofynnwch I'r Ceidwad am Docynnau Tymor!

Playtime (Amser Chwarae), dir. Arwel Gruffydd, 2004 Wales (UK), 10 min., in Welsh & English with English subtitles

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Boys School

Boys School is a program of short films about boys in school.
  • Playtime, dir. Arwel Gruffydd, 2004 Wales (UK), 10 min., in Welsh & English with English subtitles
  • Out Now, dir. Sven J. Matten, 2005 Germany, 21 min., in German with English subtitles
  • Boys Grammar, dir. Dean Francis, 2005 Australia, 8 min.
  • School Boy Art, dir. Erica Cho, 2004 USA, 12 min.
  • Homo High School, dir. Jonathon Rivait, 2005 Canada, 16 min.
  • Sissy Frenchfry, dir. J.C. Oliva, 2005 USA, 28 min.
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Kinsey Sicks

The Kinsey Sicks are a "dragapella beautyshop quartet" with a decidedly political slant to their songs. In 2004, they toured a show called "I Wanna Be a Republican," filmed for your entertainment, with brief bits of interview footage sprinkled in. The songs are fabulous, the singers divine, and the subject material exceptionally timely. See the Kinsey Sicks live if you can, but otherwise go see this movie.

The Kinsey Sicks: I Wanna Be a Republican, dir. Ken Bielenberg, 2006 USA, 90 min.

Note: the name Kinsey Sicks is a play on "Kinsey 6," a reference to the Kinsey Scale of sexual orientation.

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Sun Kissed

Sun Kissed tells the story of a young writer setting up in a remote house in the desert near Palm Springs to finish his novel. A friend of the homeowner shows the writer what's where, and they wind up in bed. The friend has visions — not entirely clear whether they're flashbacks or dark fantasies — of killing his wife and of killing our young writer. Then things get really weird, with reality fracturing to the point that nothing in the plot, characters, or timeline can be taken as certain.

At its base, Sun Kissed seems to be a movie about schizophrenia from the point-of-view of the schizophrenic person. Unfortunately, it fails to build a bridge for those of us who are not schizophrenic to relate to the experience. At the end of the screening, not one single person in the audience applauded. Definitely far from the worst film I've seen this week, but not one I could recommend.

Sun Kissed, dir. Patrick McGuinn, 2006 USA, 92 min.

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Mom's Apple Pie

The 1970's saw the unprecedented emergence of women coming out of heterosexual marriages, coming out as lesbian, and fighting for custody (or sometimes even just visitation) of their children. In the early days, nothing the father could do — even drug-dealing or physical abuse — trumped the mother's lesbianism in determining custody. The Lesbian Mothers National Defense Fund (LMNDF) and other groups organized to turn the tide, at least in some parts of the country. (The state of Oklahoma was noted as particularly hostile to gay parents.)

Living in San Francisco, seeing gay couples deciding to have and raise children, it's easy to forget how different the landscape was 30 years ago. This excellent documentary preserves those memories for future generations. See this film.

Mom's Apple Pie: The Heart of the Lesbian Mother's Custody Movement, dir. Jodi Laine, 2006 USA, 57 min.

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Queer Spawn

"Queer spawn" are the children of lesbian and/or gay and/or transgender parents. Although they are no more likely than the general population to be queer themselves, they must face homophobia in their daily lives. This documentary profiles a couple of families, including the annual Family Week in Provincetown, Mass.

An excellent piece on a worthy subject.

Queer Spawn, dir. Anna Boluda, 2005 USA, 30 min.

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My Mother's Hairdo

Daughter is about to get married. Son has to drive her to the florist because Mom can't face leaving the house. The expedition meets a tragic end. Mom goes to the hair salon. Cute but a bit off the mark; Jonathan Slavin is quite good as the hairdresser.

My Mother's Hairdo, dir. Abe Sylvia, 2005 USA, 19 min.

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The Betsy Wetsy Time Bomb Effect

Frameline describes Betsy Wetsy thusly: What if your life was a sitcom, and an argument with your mother could turn into a scene from Dynasty?

I ask the question: how can you kill 22 minutes loitering in the theatre lobby when you don't want any popcorn and you don't need to use the restroom? Yes, it was that bad.

The Betsy Wetsy Time Bomb Effect, dir. Bryan McHenry, 2005 USA, 22 min.

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Cairo Calling

Ahmed's mother comes to visit him in Montréal, mostly to find out why he still hasn't married. She brings photos of eligible Egyptian bachelorettes, and makes it clear that she isn't going home until he is married. To underline the threat, she has a plane ticket with open return. Ahmed finally handles the situation in a beautifully Canadian way. It's admittedly faint praise, but this was the best short in the "Momma's Boy" program.

Cairo Calling, dir's Joseph Antaki & Xiaodan He, 2005 Canada, 9 min.

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La Fidanzata

Lolo is preparing a romantic dinner when his grandmother unexpectedly drops by, wanting to fix dinner. Not worth walking out on, but not really worth watching, either.

La Fidanzata, (The Fiancée) dir. Petra Volpe, 2004 Switzerland, 11 min., Italian with English subtitles

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Mormor's Visit

A Swedish man living in New York City gets a surprise visit from his senile grandmother, who has escaped from the nursing home and literally flown to freedom. Amusing.

Mormor's Visit, dir. Casper Andreas, 2005 USA, 16 min., in English & Swedish with English subtitles

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Mona Lisa

George lives with his mum in suburban Australia. His mum sabotages his efforts to get out of the house and socialize. Mysteriously, George does not strangle her in the manner she so richly deserves. If you despise films about pathetic, obnoxious people as much as I do, avoid this one.

Mona Lisa, dir. Sotiris Dounoukos, 2004 Australia, 14 min.

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Momma's Boy

Collection of short films about gay men and their mothers:
  • Mona Lisa, dir. Sotiris Dounoukos, 2004 Australia, 14 min.
  • Mormor's Visit, dir. Casper Andreas, 2005 USA, 16 min., in English & Swedish with English subtitles
  • La Fidanzata, dir. Petra Volpe, 2004 Switzerland, 11 min., in Italian with English subtitles
  • Cairo Calling, dir's Joseph Antaki & Xiaodan He, 2005 Canada, 9 min.
  • The Betsy Wetsy Time Bomb Effect, dir. Bryan McHenry, 2005 USA, 22 min.
  • My Mother's Hairdo, dir. Abe Sylvia, 2005 USA, 19 min.
Frameline program descriptions

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Shabnam Mousi

Shabnam Mousi defines an entirely new genre of film: the Bollywood Kung Fu Tranny Superhero Soap Opera Political Docudrama. The sound effects are cheesy, some of the action sequences are corny, but the story is told very well. It's based on the true story of Shabnam Bano, known as Shabnam Mousi (Aunty Shabnam) by the locals, who became the first hijra ever elected to Parliament in India.

The hijra (हीजड़ा) comprise a third gender; they mostly eke out a marginal existence by begging, by giving blessings at births, weddings, and other major family events, or by prostitution. The hijra were respected and revered in centuries past, but in modern India they are barely above the untouchables. Shabnam Bano was banned from her hijra clan, but makes friends in the new village in which she finds herself, eventually gaining such popularity that she is convinced to run for political office. One key to her success is that, with no acknowledged family, she is immune from many of the forms of corruption that are rife in Indian politics. It doesn't hurt that she speaks 14 languages and can more than hold her own in a fistfight.

I'm not usually a great fan of either Bollywood musicals or cheesy martial-arts movies, but Shabnam Mousi is a must-see.

Shabnam Mousi, dir. Yogesh Bhardwaj, 2005 India, 150 min., in Hindi with English subtitles.

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Lover Other

Lover Other is a documentary about two unconventional lesbians who challenged the Nazi invaders on the British Channel Island of Jersey in World War II. I'm sure there was a compelling story in there somewhere — the description in the Frameline program certainly sounded worthwhile — but I didn't see it on the screen. Instead I saw a series of disjointed and dry interview clips interspersed with self-consciously arty recreations of photos and readings of poems, managing to be both boring and annoying.

Far more annoying, though, were the two shorts that screened before the feature. First was Dyketactics, a visual tone poem from 1974 marred by god-awful music and a visual aesthetic that has not aged well at all. Worse yet was a tribute to Dyketactics called Untitled (Dyketactics Revisited), which I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. The original at least was mercifully brief, but the tribute was eight full minutes of relentless noise, both aurally and visually. Apparently it wasn't actually a cat being tortured, but it sure sounded like it.

If you ever have the opportunity to see these films, take that opportunity to pick lint out of your navel, or to watch paint dry, or to bang your head against a brick wall.

Lover Other, dir. Barbara Hammer, 2006 USA, 55 min.

Dyketactics, dir. Barbara Hammer, 1974 USA, 4 min.

Untitled (Dyketactics Revisited), dir. Liz Rosenfeld, 2005 USA, 8 min.

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Love Life

A gay man and a lesbian enter into a marriage of convenience. A little over a year later, the arrangement is crumbling before our very eyes: her college friend comes back for a visit, and he hires a new landscape artist out of the back of the local gay paper. Trouble is, neither one of them is a person I would ever want to know, even as a casual acquaintance. Two relentlessly unsympathetic, whiny, obnoxious people just don't make for a compelling character study, and neither of the central characters acquires any depth or understanding in 72 minutes. Certainly not the worst film in the festival, but well worth skipping if you have the chance.

Love Life, dir. Damion Dietz, 2006 USA, 72 min.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Go West

Sarajevo, 1992. Two gay lovers, Kenan, a Muslim musician, and Milan, a Serbian student, are caught in the beginnings of the Yugoslavian war of disintegration, and find themselves at the mercy of a militia seeking to summarily execute any circumcised male — presumably a Muslim, since no Christian would be so barbaric as to mutilate his manhood. To escape, Kenan dresses as a woman and takes on the role of Milan's fiancée as they flee to Milan's home town.

The story is rich and compelling, with a balance of humor and pathos. The acting is superb and the cinematography beautiful. Definitely a must-see film.

Go West, dir. Ahmed Imamović, 2005 Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia, 97 min., in Bosnian, Serbian & Croatian with English subtitles.

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The Favor / El Favor

A lesbian couple in Argentina decides they want a baby. Adoption isn't possible, and the idea of an anonymous sperm donor is unappealing, so they decide to enlist the brother of one to impregnate the other. Trouble is, the brother doesn't know his sister is a lesbian, so they can't just ask directly. They concoct an elaborate scheme to get him to participate. Their plans get tangled when the brother — in the city for only one night after four months' absence — invites his fiancée and his prospective business partner to the sister's apartment.

In the initial set-up of the plot, I was so irritated by the characters, especially the sister's lover, that I was ready to strangle them all and walk out of the theatre. However, I stuck it out, and my perseverence was rewarded. Once things get rolling and the audience gets onto the same wavelength as the characters, it's a hilarious ride.

The Favor (El Favor), dir. Pablo Sofovich, 2003 Argentina, 79 min., in Spanish with English subtitles

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Follow My Voice: With the Music of Hedwig

John Cameron Mitchell and Stephan Trask created the cultural phenomenon that is Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the story of an East German transsexual who comes to America after a botched sex-change operation, to become a punk singer. Chris Slusarenko was inspired to create a tribute album for Hedwig, with the proceeds to go to Harvey Milk High School in New York City, a public high school that creates a safe space for students of all genders and sexual orientations. Follow My Voice profiles four of the Harvey Milk students and tracks the process of creating the tribute album. Filmmaker Katherine Linton focuses on the students' stories as they deal with coming of age and coming out.

If you're a Hedwig fan, then Follow My Voice is an obvious must-see, but even if you're not, the story of Harvey Milk High School and the four students is compelling.

The tribute album, Wig in a Box, is available from Off Records.

Follow My Voice: With the Music of Hedwig, dir. Katherine Linton, 2005 USA, 110 min.

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Eye on the Guy

Eye on the Guy: Alan B. Stone & the Age of Beefcake is a documentary about one of the most famous "physique" photographers of the 1950's and 60's. In order to evade stringent censorship, erotic photographers had to cultivate either artistic merit or athletic instruction as a cover for their work. Alan B. Stone did the latter, photographing models wearing skimpy little posing pouches, but not nude, and selling the photos all across Canada and the United States.

Philip Lewis and Jean-François Monette managed to find a number of the original models, weaving recent interviews with 40-year-old photos and home movies, to create a compelling portrait of a pioneer of the gay aesthetic.

Eye on the Guy: Alan B. Stone & the Age of Beefcake, dir's Philip Lewis & Jean-François Monette, 2005 Canada, 49 min., in English and French with English subtitles

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Mom

Advertisers will go to great lengths to try to understand the workings of the elusive "average consumer." Mom deals with a duo who tape video interviews with ordinary folks to find out what they really think about orange juice. They arrive in town the weekend of the chili festival and find their hotel reservations have vanished into electronic oblivion, so they wind up in a youth hostel, sharing a dormitory room with a couple of lesbians who apparently can't spend five minutes apart. The cameraperson, Linda, is an easygoing dyke, but the interviewer, Kelly, is a tightly wound go-getter.

I walked out because the characters were all annoying beyond words.

Mom, dir. Erin Greenwell, 2006 USA, 70 min.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kiki & Herb Reloaded

Kiki & Herb are a cabaret act, performing outrageous cover versions on a wild assortment of songs. Herb describes himself as a "gay Jew retard," and Kiki is simply indescribable. I had never seen Kiki & Herb before, but I found this film an engaging introduction. Highly recommended.

Most shocking of all, Herb — in real life Kenny Mellman — has time in between gigs to be national chairman of the Republican Party! Kenny Mellman, Ken Mehlman, it's all the same, right?

Kiki & Herb Reloaded, dir's Chris Gallagher, Matt Gallagher & Michaline Babich, 2005 USA, 75 min.

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Wild Tigers I Have Known

Wild Tigers is the story of Jordan, a 13-year-old misfit, trying to fit in with his friend Joey and an older boy named Rodeo who befriends Jordan. Jordan has a crush on Rodeo, and creates a persona named Leah to seduce him.

There were some beautiful scenes in the film, but I felt it didn't come together as a whole. There were some high-concept interludes that didn't advance the story or the characters, but seemed only a digression, weakening rather than strengthening the film.

Wild Tigers I Have Known, dir. Cam Archer, 2005 USA , 93 min.

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50 Ways of Saying Fabulous

Rural New Zealand in July 1975 (mid-winter, Down Under). Billy, a chubby, effeminate boy, lives near his cousin Lou, a fierce tomboy; they like to create their own scenarios for their favorite TV space opera, Adventures in Space. Of course, they add a twist: Billy plays Lana, the science bimbo, while Lou plays Brad, the athletic hero commander. Lou even gives Billy a ponytail to pin on his hat to enhance the illusion. Along come Roy, the new kid from the city who is an instant outcast in their small country school, and Jamie, the hunky new ranchhand who infatuates both Billy and Lou.

50 Ways shows a glimpse of a paradise in which the children are able to live out their gender-role fantasies with humour and grace, but of course the "real world" intrudes with brutal determination. Billy must repeatedly choose between his true feelings and his futile desire to fit in with his schoolmates, betraying the truth that he is stuck in a conformist, narrow-minded, xenophobic hell on earth. As beautiful as the New Zealand countryside is, I'm glad I didn't grow up there.

50 Ways of Saying Fabulous, dir. Stewart Main, 2005 New Zealand, 90 min., based on the novel by Graeme Aitken

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Vacationland

Maine's license plates proclaim the state "Vacationland." The characters in Vacationland, though, are mostly trying to flee their little slice of paradise in favor of anything that might be better than the shithole that is their lives in mid-1980's Bangor, Maine. The central character, Joe, is a high school senior aiming for art school at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and looking to escape the orbit of his pathetic drunken single mom and her boyfriends-du-jour. His best friend is Andrew, a foo-ball jock locked into a miserable dating relationship with the head cheerleader. Then comes Victor, an aging artist who needs some live-in help, as well as a model for a few last figure studies, in his final days.

Trouble is, I neither liked nor believed any of the characters, nor were most of the situations plausibly presented. The sequence of scenes often came off as an incoherent jumble. Certainly far from the worst film in the festival, but a real disappointment all the same.

Vacationland, dir. Todd Verow, 2006 USA, 104 min.

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Boy Culture

The main character and narrator of Boy Culture calls himself X. He's a high-priced sex worker in Seattle, entering old age (mid-twenties) and awash in possibilities. He has two roommates, creating enough sexual tension to fill a bookshelf worth of romance novels. He also has a new client, an older man who wants to get to know his new rent boy before they fuck. Boy Culture has some honest soul-searching, some well-written comedic scenes, and some steamy sexuality, in a mix that works quite well.

Boy Culture, dir. Q. Allan Brocka, 2006 USA, 87 min.

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Innocent

Eric is abruptly uprooted from his life in Hong Kong when his parents move to Toronto, where he must deal with a host of cultural challenges compounded by his emerging sexual desires. Add to the mix a variety of family issues, his mother's new business, school, and a relationship with a middle-aged rice queen with a taste for much younger men. The story is rich and compelling, the acting is excellent, and the production values are high, making for a film you should make a point of seeking out.

Innocent, dir. Simon Chung, 2005 Canada/Hong Kong, 80 min., in Cantonese, Mandarin & English with English subtitles

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101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men

Alonso Duralde, Arts & Entertainment editor for The Advocate, has written a book entitled 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men. At this year's Frameline festival, he presented a lecture with film clips highlighting a few of his picks.

I was surprised that I have not seen most of the films Duralde chose, from classics like Mommie Dearest and Dog Day Afternoon to more recent entries like Fight Club and Jackass. Although I appreciated the broad categories into which he grouped his films — for instance, Strong Women Who Fall Flat on Their Faces — I find that I have a very different sensibility for gay film than Alonso Duralde and most other gay men. Just for starters, I loathe Barbra Streisand's music and I hated What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. My taste in gay film runs much more to the current generation, just as long as they stay away from "experimental" or "non-linear narrative" or worse yet "non-narrative."

I would recommend seeing Alonso Duralde talk about gay film, although, of course, this particular presentation was a one-time deal.

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Family Reunion / Góðir Gestir

Aðalbjörg Þóra Árnadóttir plays Katrin, a young Icelandic woman now living in New York who returns for a family reunion and contemplates coming out, only to find her announcement upstaged by other events. Highly recommended.

Family Reunion (Góðir Gestir), dir. Isold Gunnadóttir, 2006 USA/Iceland, 25 min., in English & Icelandic with English subtitles

The filmmaker has a blog for Family Reunion.

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Cosa Bella

Delphine is stalking her lover Belle in this creepy, "what part of Stop calling me! did you not understand?" film. Delphine belongs in an asylum, and Belle needs assertiveness classes, plus a good shrink to help her resist the temptation to give in to Delphine's psychotically persistent advances. I highly recommend avoiding this film.

Cosa Bella, dir. Fiona Mackenzie, 2005 USA, 16 min.

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Blindfolded

A young woman turns to the Internet for a date. They agree to a meeting, and the scarves they will wear to recognize each other. Of course, there's a surprise ending. Cute.

Blindfolded, dir. Isabel Coll, 2005 Spain, 2 min., in Spanish with English subtitles

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Gillery's Little Secret

Gillery returns to her home town after nearly two decades to find Blake, a graduating senior whose father refers to her as "Gillery's Little Secret." They try to unwind the mystery of the connection between them, going back to Gillery's friendship with Blake's mother. I didn't find the connection between the characters and the audience, though, and found the film unsatisfying.

Gillery's Little Secret, dir. T. M. Scorzafava, 2005 USA, 35 min.

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Today's Specials

A transwoman [Male-to-Female transsexual] is shopping in a supermarket when she finds a remarkable surprise in the produce section. Cute.

Today's Specials, dir. Gianni Gatti, 2005 Italy, 7 min., in Italian with English subtitles

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Do the Math

Performance art piece around a poem delivered with that really annoying cadence that so many poets and so few listeners favor. The poem centers on the challenges of being a Latina lesbian.

Do the Math, dir. Mary Guzmán, 2006 USA, 4 min.

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Drive Me Crazy

The song on the car radio changes less often than the front-seat passenger in this story of looking for love. Cute.

Drive Me Crazy, dir. Kim Wyns, 2004 Belgium, 5 min.

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Fun in Girls' Shorts

Popular program of lesbian short films; Fun in Girls' Shorts will run again Saturday 2006-06-24 at 12:00 noon at the Castro Theatre.
  • Drive Me Crazy, dir. Kim Wyns, 2004 Belgium, 5 min.
  • Do the Math, dir. Mary Guzmán, 2006 USA, 4 min.
  • Today's Specials, dir. Gianni Gatti, 2005 Italy, 7 min., in Italian with English subtitles
  • Gillery's Little Secret, dir. T.M. Scorzafava, 2005 USA, 35 min.
  • Blindfolded, dir. Isabel Coll, 2005 Spain, 2 min., in Spanish with English subtitles
  • Cosa Bella, dir. Fiona Mackenzie, 2005 USA, 16 min.
  • Family Reunion, dir. Isold Uggadottir, 2006 USA/Iceland, 25 min., in English & Icelandic with English subtitles
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Straight Boys

College boy falls for his straight roommate. Things get complicated. A cute short by a filmmaker who has moved up from production assistant on MTV's Real World to producing and directing.

Straight Boys, dir. Dave O'Brien, 2006 USA, 14 min.

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Summer

Two lads are goofing around in London's Hampstead Heath, playing "make a wish" games with falling leaves. One of them tries to make his wish come true, but the other is less than enthusiastic. Cute.

Summer, dir. Hong Khaou, 2006 UK, 9 min.

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Hustler WP

Two skinheads hanging out in Chelsea, NYC. One is black, the other is a white supremacist, wearing swastikas and other racist symbols on his clothes and listening to hate-filled music. Of course, they're fast friends. Amusing, but I didn't really see why the black guy bothers hanging out with the cretin.

Hustler WP, dir. Craig Cobb, 2006 USA, 19 min.

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Hello, Thanks

The glorious world of personal ads, where romance and true love wait in the next GWM ISO 121 LTR [Gay White Male in search of one-to-one long-term relationship]. Five days later, though, I'm having trouble remembering much else about the film — not unlike most dates I've had through the personals.

Hello, Thanks, dir. Andy Blubaugh, 2005 USA, 8 min.

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Guess Who I Saw Today

Set to the classic Nancy Wilson song, a housewife tells her husband about her day, including an unexpected encounter. Even in 4 minutes, you can see a marriage that is about to unravel. Well done.

Guess Who I Saw Today, dir. Abe Sylvia, 2006 USA, 4 min.

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Available Men

Two pairs of people are scheduled to meet in the same bar for very different reasons: one pair on a blind date, the other to sign a contract for an agent. The wires get crossed, but the vernaculars are such that the participants don't realize they've swapped partners. Brilliant dialogue, well-acted, with good production values. One of the best short films of the year.

Available Men, dir. David Dean Bottrell, 2005 USA, 15 min.

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Str8 for a Minute

True to its title, this is a one-minute music video. Cute.

Str8 for a Minute, dir. Michael Lucid, 2005 USA, 1 min.

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Latch Key

Two brothers arrive home before their mother and try to have some time alone with their special friends. Well done.

Latch Key, dir. Garth Bardsley, 2005 USA, 12 min.

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Spaceboy

A spaceship crashes in the woods, and the astronaut finds his way to a house, where Jason gives him some personal hospitality. Very cute.

Spaceboy, dir. Keith Dando, 2005 UK, 7 min.

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Fun in Boys' Shorts

The perennially popular program of short films about gay men. This year's selections:
  • Spaceboy
  • Latch Key
  • Str8 for a Minute
  • Available Men
  • Guess Who I Saw Today
  • Hello, Thanks
  • Hustler WP
  • Summer
  • Straight Boys
Note: Fun in Boys' Shorts will run again on Sunday, 2006-06-25, at 2:30pm.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Flirting with Anthony

Bad acting, explicit gore, bad sound, horrendous soundtrack, unforgivable cinematography ... it all adds up to a film well worth missing.

Flirting with Anthony, dir. Christian Calson, 2006 USA, 88 min. (which is about 95 minutes too long!)

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20 Centimeters / 20 Centímetros

20 Centimeters is an over-the-top campy musical about a narcoleptic transgender prostitute in Madrid. What many men would carry between their legs as their pride and joy is a problem for Marieta, but she doesn't have the money for a sex change. We meet some of Marieta's neighbors and coworkers, plus her new love interest, with scenes interspersed with grandiose musical numbers.

I found 20cm amusing, but superficial, falling short of its dreams because of the lack of connection between the main character and the audience. There are some laugh-out-loud moments, but on the whole the film didn't come together for me.

20 Centímetros, dir. Ramón Salazar, 2005 Spain/France, 113 min., in Spanish and English with English subtitles

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Whole New Thing

Imagine being 13 years old, the only child of two hippies. You've been home-schooled your entire life, and your family lives on a lake well outside the nearby small town. Almost your whole social context is your parents' friends and their potlucks. However, your scores on the standardized tests in math aren't up to par, so your parents decide to send you to public school.

That's the basic set-up of the plot. When Emerson, the 13-year-old central character, arrives at the school, he's immediately identified as different, just because his hair is long and he likes Shakespeare, but he's also becoming aware that he has sexual feelings for other males. He has a terrific crush on his literature teacher, played by Daniel McIvor, who also wrote the script. (McIvor also wrote and directed Wilby Wonderful, which screened in last year's festival.) Emerson pursues the teacher despite his efforts to maintain an appropriate professional distance.

Daniel McIvor has a real talent for filmmaking, and Aaron Webber, who plays Emerson, is an amazing find: at 16 (playing 13), he's a far better actor than most of the adults in most of the films in the festival. I can already tell you that this film is one of my favorites for this year's festival.

Whole New Thing, dir. Amnon Buchbinder, 2005 Canada, 92 min.

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Meth

Meth is a documentary about crystal methamphetamines, speed, Tina, or whatever other name you give to the drug menace that is cutting a devastating swath through the gay community, as if AIDS hadn't already done enough damage. Crystal meth gives the user a feeling of sexual invincibility, desirability, unshakable self-confidence, and unending endurance. The rush comes at an exceedingly high price, though: just for starters, meth is extraordinarily addictive, hooking many users the very first time they try it. Tweakers often stay awake for four or five days at a time, and that alone is enough to leave an indelible mark on the psyche. One former meth user told me that when he had been awake for a couple of days, his subconscious mind rebelled against the lack of REM sleep by going right ahead and dreaming even though he was awake.

The film Meth focuses on interviews with several meth users, including a couple who were still actively using. They gave unflinching details of the havoc wrought in their lives, including HIV seroconversion, Hepatitis C, losing jobs, homes and possessions, and wrecking relationships. The ones who had quit using spoke of how much they missed the rush, even while proclaiming their intention to stay clean. The ones who were still using gave jaw-dropping rationalizations, talking about how much shit was being dumped into their lives through no fault of their own, but that smashed car sitting at the curb wasn't caused by a random act of fate.

This documentary provides an unvarnished look at both the allure and the downside of a drug that is doing incalculable damage to our community.

Meth, dir. Todd Ahlberg, 2005 USA, 79 min.

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Kathleen's Closet

An old lady lies dying in her home. The new palliative care nurse arrives, goes upstairs to get a blanket for the patient, and discovers some intriguing mementoes in her closet. She brings some of them back downstairs, forming a unique bond with the old woman. Well done, offering a glimpse into lesbian life in the early 20th century.

Kathleen's Closet, dir. Sheila Jordan, 2005 Canada, 13 min.

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The Piper

The Piper examines a woman who is desperate to get rid of the cockroaches overrunning her home, by any means except killing them. She summons the reincarnation of the Pied Piper, and then finds herself attracted to the young woman who appears. It was an interesting story, and an enjoyable film.

The Piper, dir. Abbey Robinson, 2005 UK, 10 min.

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Beautiful Child

Beautiful Child centers on a prison interview with a woman who murdered her lover, based on two character portraits by Truman Capote. I honestly couldn't muster any sympathy or empathy for either the interviewer or the convict, which in my book made the film a waste of time.

Beautiful Child, dir. Fabrizio Chieza, 2005 USA, 22 min.

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Outside

Outside is set in the aftermath of some unspecified apocalypse. The people on the inside live in separate pods, connected only by videophone (and psychotropic hand cream) with the other insiders. Outside the pods, though, live an unruly assortment of ruffians. Eventually, one of the insiders makes a connection with one of the outsiders. The setup of the inside/outside paradigm never really made sense to the audience, any more than it made sense to the main character, and the development of the connection between the two women didn't make much sense, either.

Outside, dir. Jenn Kao, 2004 USA, 22 min.

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Tough Girls

Shorts program:
  • Dichotomy Innocent, dir. Evie Farmer, 2005 Canada, 13 min.
  • Shugar Shank, dir. Meredyth Wilson, 2006 USA, 18 min.
  • Outside, dir. Jenn Kao, 2004 USA, 22 min.
  • Beautiful Child, dir. Fabrizio Chiesa, 2005 USA, 22 min.
  • The Piper, dir. Abbe Robinson, 2005 UK, 10 min.
  • Kathleen's Closet, dir. Sheila Jordan, 2005 Canada, 13 min.
I arrived late, so I missed the first 1½ shorts of the program.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Masseur / Masahista

The Masseur centers on a young Philippine man who has moved from the countryside to Manila, where he works in a massage parlor. Of course, the massages tend to take on a sexual overtone, sometimes subtly and sometimes quite explicitly. Interspersed with scenes of his life in Manila, we see him returning home to attend his father's funeral.

The sound quality was terrible, the acting was uneven at best, and the story jumped from city to country seemingly at random. I can't honestly recommend this film.

The Masseur / Masahista, dir. Brillante Mendoza, 2005 Philippines, 80 min., in Tagalog & Pampango with English subtitles.

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Puccini for Beginners

Alegra is "an opera-loving lesbian" living in New York City. She drags her girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, friends, and anyone else she can, to the Metropolitan Opera. Unfortunately, opera is the only thing in Alegra's life to which she can commit. She finds herself in a love triangle with a woman and (gasp!) a man.

The opera lovers among you will be disappointed that the opera scenes are quite brief, although I'm sure that will come as a relief to others. The dialog is sharp, the acting is top-notch, and the plot twists are intriguing without being outlandish. Puccini for Beginners was a solid choice for opening night film of the Frameline30 festival.

Puccini for Beginners, dir. Maria Maggenti, 2005 USA 90 min.
(Note: Maria Maggenti directed the lesbian coming-of-age favorite The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love.)

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It's that time of year again!

The 30th annual San Francisco International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival, or Frameline30 for short, has started. The program this year includes about 300 films from over 40 countries, with 11 films making their world premières. The logo for the 30th festival is "XXX," but most of the films are rated somewhere in the PG to R range.

At the opening night film, the chairperson of the festival's board of directors led us 30 years down memory lane. In 1976, San Francisco was preparing for its 7th gay pride parade, marking the 7th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City. A few days later we marked the Bicentennial. But there was no gay film festival that year.

In 1977, the gay community faced high-profile attacks from the likes of Anita Bryant, spreading the hatefully spurious notion that homosexuals were trying to "recruit" children into the "gay lifestyle." (The following year, the Briggs Initiative tried to ban homosexuals from teaching in California.) But also a small group of locals crammed into a single room to watch a collection of zero-budget Super-8 movies in the first gay and lesbian film festival anywhere in the world.

The political climate is quite different in 2006 from 1977. Yes, the bigots are trying to pass a constitutional amendment to enshrine oppression into the enduring fabric of our government, and the so-called conservatives are still on the ascendant, even with their beloved President facing approval ratings rivaling 1974 Richard Nixon. At the same time, though, the California Assembly passed a resolution honoring Frameline for its contribution to our state and to our culture. Signs for the festival are prominent throughout the city, with major corporations queueing for sponsorship slots.

It's time to celebrate the diversity of our community. On the longest day of the year, sit in a darkened theatre watching movies!

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