Monday, June 19, 2006

30th San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, aka Frameline 30: Day 3

From youngsters to the eternally elderly today at the fest, starting in the morning with a shorts program entitled 'Dyke Delights' featuring no less than twelve short subjects. What I found sort of odd was that this collection was much more enjoyable, at times hysterical, than anything presented in yesterday's 'Fun in Girls Shorts' program, which is supposed to be the comedy highlight of the week! I don't know what the programmers are thinking. But what I am thinking, in preferential order:

"CRÉMMATE: MUFFY" (dir Diane Wilkins 2006 USA 2 min video) Yes, I will 'fess up to being a Mickee Faust Club junkie, as well as one of the Duchess Diane [Wilkins] cultists, born from the hysterical short, "Annie Dearest: The REAL Miracle Worker" of two years ago. In this year's submission, Wilkins and the MFC push the envelope in their special sick and twisted way and had the packed house at the Castro screaming! This little 2 minute 'advertisement' for a new 'non-dairy creamer' for grief stricken lesbians could very well be what puts Wilkins and Company on the Subversive Cultural Map! I. Loved. It. and Ms. Wilkins generously granted a copy to me, ON SITE! (p.s. Diane and Marie, et al: It was great finally meeting you after two years of email!)

"ATTACK OF THE BRIDE MONSTER" (dir Vicky Boone 2005 USA 17 min video) slowly, yet surely made its way into twisted comedy as a boozy old lesbian tells her tale of woe, when she and her partner of 25 years came to a crossroads with the concept of 'marriage.' It was a hoot!

"HIS NAME IS COSMO" (dir Nicole Opper 2006 USA 18 min video) This came awfully close to being a "Sex and the City" episode, however it does deliver its laughs as a 'toy' endangers the blissful relationship of a lesbian couple. Hee hee hee...

"HOLD UP" (dir Madeleine Olnek 2005 USA 7 min video) This was a surprisingly clever little ditty where a convenience store robbery attempt goes down the 'fatal attraction' path! The lead woman (Cynthia Kaplan?) played it just right, without giving away her little twist.

"SUCH GREAT JOY" (dir Michelle Kramer 2004 USA 15 min video) This, too, had a fun little twist as a family's internal gossip goes awry and though hilarity itself may not have ensued, it was enjoyable none the less.

"LOVE, STRUCK" (dir Susan Ali 2006 USA 2 min video) was a swift and painless, nearly balletic, farce as a woman leaps through a cityscape to repair Cupid's mistake.

"THE SCIENCE OF LOVE" (dir Joyce Draganosky 2005 USA 14 min 35mm), "SOLO" (dir Martha Newbigging 2005 Canada 5 min video) and "COIF" (dir Melanie McGraw 2004 USA 6 min video) All three of these were at least visually intriguing and/or entertaining. "Science of Love" had comparitively outrageous production values. "Solo" is the only animated entry in the entire festival that I am aware of. "Coif" had one of the most inventive production designs and shot in glorious black and white.

"THE QUITTER" (dir Joy Taylor 2005 USA 4 min video), "KATIE & KASEY" (dir Kyla Tomlin 2005 USA 5 min video) and "OPEN" (dir Teale Failla 2005 USA 12 min video) were all three well done, and in any other crowd of shorts would be stand outs. But in this years program, these fairly 'domestic comedies' are just that - domestic. Not boring, but not surpassing what else has been noted here.

I continued the rest of the day with four features. Listed in sequential order:

"50 WAYS OF SAYING FABULOUS" (dir Stewart Main 2005 New Zealand 90 min 35mm) This is a surprisingly complex coming of age story. It's not for adolescents, necessarily, yet the performances are so well done by the young leads that it would lead you to believe that its quite understandable by their peers. It begins with a day dreaming fantasy, which I thought was going to be a motif. However, it was gradually worked out of the script as the characters matured and REAL violence begins to enter their lives. Teenage awkwardness is presented as near psychosis at one point. On one hand, I was becoming frustrated and anxious as to the choices the characters were making. Yet, that is what this unusually deep little tale is about: making choices, wrong or right, in which to mature. It is very well done, yet I found it difficult to watch at times. It is sort of a gentler film than Larry Clark would make ("Kids" "Bully" "Wassup Rockers"), yet deals with some of the same issues.

"WHAT’S UP, SCARLET?" (dir Anthony Caldarella 2005 USA 84 min video) This was a slight tale, grappling to be a domestic comedy of a woman who unwittingly falls in love with her total opposite - socially, religiously and economically. The plot device which brings these two characters together (an immigrant rear-ends a Jewish professional match maker) is simple enough, but it is the contrivances that keep them together that simply do not ring true. Also, Sally Kirkland gives an over-the-top performance in an effort to create a farce out of it. Though fairly short, I did at one point doze off. Upon awaking, I found that I hadn't missed a thing. Pity, as the cast and production are lovely enough to look at, yet the script is just too light. I felt no need to stay for the Q&A, as I needed to pop out, meet a friend and eat before the next two features.

"WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN" (dir Cam Archer 2005 USA 93 min video) Oh dear. This was the first film I've seen at this festival which attempts to be "ART" (all caps!). And you may KNOW what that means... The director has fashioned a very impressionistic world in which a young boy begins to explore his sexuality. It is played out, or I SHOULD say, UNDER played out in a majority of dialogue free tableaus. The soundtrack can be deafening, however. I liked THAT part! The soundtrack, that is. The tableaus and, really, the nearly slide-show pacing was unnecessary and annoying. During the Q&A the director had a nearly flippant view of his film, which leads me to suspect that it might be his own personal joke on the 'serious audience.' Whether it is intentional or not, the other clue I can give you pointing to its posturing is that it is produced by Gus Van Sant. This AUSTERE and fairly pretentious mood would soon be broken by the final flick of the evening.

KIKI AND HERB RELOADED (dirs Chris Gallagher, Matt Gallagher & Michaline Babich 2005 USA 75 min video) You either LOVE or abhor Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman's creation of 'Kiki and Herb' - sort of a lounge act on acid, really. Their 'bit' is that this is a lounge act that is decades, er, no, GENERATIONS old! They. Are. Survivors! The film is a mockumentary of their tour with Scissor Sisters in the United Kingdom. The interviews with members of Scissor Sisters, as well as other gay-pop icons, i.e. Rufus Wainwright, are really just moments of relief from the 'almost too big for the big screen' screeds that Kiki goes into while preparing (or is that repairing) for the night's show. There are also clips of their act onstage. A concert film would just BLOW your mind! But a concert film would be the perfect midnight movie! This was a perfect way to end a fairly long weekend.

1 comment:

Maxxxxx said...

re 'Dyke Delights': "Bwahahaha!"
re "50 Ways of Saying Fabulous": "Ooooo!"
re "What's up Scarlet?": "Is it bedtime?"
re "Wild Tigers I have Known": "Do a poop!"
re "Kiki and Herb, Reloaded": "Wheeeee!"