Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fun in Girls’ Shorts

Fun in Girls’ Shorts” (shorts program)
Saturday, June 22, 1:30 pm @ Castro
Sunday, June 30, 11:30 am @ Castro

(Note: films are listed and reviewed in the order they were screened on June 22. Natives was meant to run last.)
Anita and Rachel in Natives
Natives is a dark comedy about Anita (Kendra Mylnechuk) and Rachel (Emily Young), a couple of Manhattan lesbians who are off for a visit to Anita’s family on a Seneca reservation in upstate New York. Anita’s estranged relationship with her parents is complicated by Rachel’s clumsy and increasingly desperate attempts to bond with them over their Native culture, finally reaching the point that Anita questions whether Rachel is in a relationship with her as an individual or as a placeholder for the deeply spiritual oppressed indigenous peoples of the world. Many of the scenes are painfully awkward, to the point of being difficult to watch, but they have the ring of being true to life.  Highly recommended.
Amanda and Jill discuss
The First Date

The First Date is the story of Amanda, who is trying to figure out how to get a second date with Kelly. Amanda calls her friend Jill into the ladies’ room to confer and calm her jittery nerves, and to help her compose the perfect text message invitation for that second date. Everything is purring along nicely, until Amanda actually presses “send.” The beginning of the film was overwrought, with more than a little of a “please, switch to decaf” feel to it, but the ending was cute and fun. Recommended.
IMDb page with trailer

F to 7th: “Tweener”
F to 7th is a web series that follows Ingrid Jungermann (pictured, right) on her journey into middle age. In this episode, “Tweener,” Ingrid is talking with Ashlie Atkinson (left; Frameline audiences will recognize her from Another Gay Movie, Another Gay Sequel, Puccini for Beginners, My Best Day, and He’s Way More Famous Than You) in the bleachers at a lesbian softball game. The language is coarse and the humor crass, but on the whole it’s both funny and insightful. Recommended.
Official websiteVimeo episodesFacebook page
The Beginning (Начало)

The Beginning (Начало) is a strange story in which a young woman named Daria has several people come to the apartment she shares with her brother, apparently just so Daria can be a troublemaker. The summary in the Frameline program says, “Nobody is out. The true sexuality of Russian women has just begun waking up. And Daria is thrilled with it,” but none of that came across on screen at all. It seemed that they were trying to fit a feature-length plot into a 6-minute short, and it really didn’t work. Not recommended.

For You, the Spring
For You, the Spring is a music video inspired by an old silent film, with a mermaid and a musician falling for one another, but with some gender twists upon twists thrown in for good measure. The music is by singer-songwriter Abby Posner (pictured, right). It’s a lovely song with a very nicely crafted video, with some genderbending layered on the lesbian subtext. Good fun, cute, sweet, funny, very well done; highly recommended.
• Watch the video on YouTube • Abby Posner’s website

Neighbors (Vecinas) is the story of a lesbian couple, Mamen and Gloria, who move in together in an apartment next to Alicia and Paula, a pair of lesbians who seem to be interested in more than just borrowing a cup of sugar. I see the story as an exploration of what would happen if some lesbians from Star Trek’s planet Vulcan (minus the pointed ears, of course) tried wife swapping and it turned them horny and assertive. It’s an offbeat story, with some unexpected twists, but ultimately funny and sexy — definitely a counterpoint to the stereotype of lesbian bed death. Recommended.
Director’s IMDb page (does not yet include Vecinas)
Fighting for Air

Fighting for Air is the story of Khadijeh or KJ (Arishia Bordbar), a Muslim girl in Australia, who has a secret: some most unladylike extracurricular activities. Her teacher Amal (Ansuya Nathan) finds out what KJ has been up to, leaving KJ to decide whether to accept a helping hand or go it alone. Fighting for Air is well done, but I found the aforementioned extracurricular activities unpleasant, not because KJ is a girl or a lesbian, but because I disapprove of physical violence. Recommended with serious reservations.
IMDb pageFacebook page

Rachel (Halle Charlton) and
Sammy (Lauryn Whitney)
Genderfreak is a story about some high school kids trying to form a band. It sounds a bit like something out of Degrassi, but this batch of kids make Degrassi look like Mayberry. Rachel, the token straight girl, plays violin. She meets the new kid at school, Sammy, a genderqueer person who rejects both male and female pronouns in favor of “Sammy,” but who plays the electric guitar — a slot the band happens to need to fill. The band rises to the occasion, leaving the rest of the school wondering what to think, until they decide to just shut up and dance. The dialogue was written with extensive input from present-day teens, contributing to the authentic feel of the film. Highly recommended.
IMDb page with trailerOfficial website

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