Monday, June 21, 2010

Faetopia Cuddle Cinema

I'm pretty much up to my eyeballs in Frameline34 this week, but it's not the only queer film game in town! Faetopia is the space where the Tower Records used to be at Market & Noe, but for this week it's been taken over by the Radical Faeries of Comfort & Joy. There will be yoga classes today through Friday, doors open 5:00, class is 5:30 to 7:00, with a different style of yoga each day. There will also be a live performance of the trippy 1970's film Aliens Cut My Hair, tomorrow through Saturday at 7:30.

However, if you're reading this blog, you're probably wondering what films they have coming up, so here is the Faetopia Cuddle Cinema line-up:

Mon. 8:30 Sissyboy: the Movie (about a radically neo-something-or-other drag troupe in Portland, Oregon)
Mon. 10:00 double feature: The Glitter Emergency and The Apparition of the Eternal Church

Wed. 10:00 Whatever Happened to Susan Jane?

Thu. 10:00 Skinnyfat (Missed the Frameline screening? Here's your second chance!)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Frameline34 Highlights and Recommendations

I don't have time to post the full reviews, but here are a few of my thoughts on some of the programs I've pre-screened:

Open: Interesting, but unsatisfying
Trans Francisco: well done documentary
Arias with a Twist: don't let the term "docufantasy" put you off, because this is really just a documentary about two fascinating artists, drag goddess Joey Arias and puppetmaster Basil Twist. Highly recommended.
Fun in Girls Shorts: only got to see 6 of the 8 shorts; all worth seeing, but the standout is "Door Prize."
Fun in Boys Shorts: several excellent shorts, plus an undeserving Oscar® winner. Although historically the Girls shorts program has usually been more satisfying than the Boys, this year is an exception. Of the 7 films I was able to preview, I gave 4 a "highly recommended" rating. Best of set goes to "Gay Baby."
8: The Mormon Proposition: excellent documentary about the LDS Church's obsessive push for the anti-gay Prop 8.
Postcard to Daddy: a documentary on a difficult subject, the filmmaker's own experience of child sexual abuse by his father. The lingering pain is evident as he struggles to make peace with the past.

I'll add to this list as I finish more previews.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Owls

The acting performances and the technical aspects of The Owls are all top quality, but I found the central narrative structure unworkable. The actors occasionally step out of character to comment on the film, for instance. More basically, though, none of the characters engaged me more than intermittently, and the narrative shifts increased rather than diminished my emotional distance from the story. The ending was at once both too heavy and too flippant, but rather than one leavening the other, they intensified both extremes. Recommended for fans of Cheryl Dunye, but a question mark for general audiences.

The Real Anne Lister

5 bells

How many times have you heard the words "laugh-out-loud funny" used to describe a documentary? As we watch the narrator (Sue Perkins) learn about the life of Anne Lister, a woman who lived as a defiantly open lesbian in rural west Yorkshire in the early 19th Century, we see Perkins at turns relate deeply to Lister and find her quite troubling. Last night, Frameline opened with a film dramatizing Lister's life (see The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister); this documentary sheds a bit of a different light on the life of a remarkable woman. The dramatization takes a few minor liberties with the story, chiefly in compressing the timeline, but it also makes her the protagonist. The documentary takes a more balanced look at some of her foibles and downright unpleasant characteristics, notably that she was arrogant and rather a snob. All the same, Anne Lister is most definitely not a character you would expect to meet in a Jane Austen novel, and we are fortunate that her diaries survived being examined and decoded on multiple occasions before the world was ready for her story.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

5 bells The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, dir. James Kent, 2010, UK, 90 minutes

Two centuries ago in Yorkshire, England, a woman named Miss Anne Lister defied social conventions by openly refusing to take a husband, saying that she would instead seek to have a female companion. She was a feminist, generations before that term was coined, and fiercely determined to live true to her own life. Her diaries, written largely in code, survived, almost forgotten, until they were deciphered in the late 20th century. This biopic compresses the timelines slightly, but is essentially true to the remarkable life of an astonishing trailblazer. MUST SEE.

Note: The Real Anne Lister (below) is a documentary about the title character; also a MUST SEE.


I'm already working my way through a pile of press "screener" copies, and will be at dozens of in-theatre screenings the next week and a half. Posting of reviews may not be as prompt as I'd like, because my wrists are feeling rather delicate, but everything I see will get up here on the blog eventually. Meanwhile, the Opening Night festivities are mere hours away....