Friday, June 23, 2006

30th San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, aka Frameline 30: Day 8

I think I am beginning to burn out on San Francisco's film festival season this year. Particularly, right now. As thousands of tourists begin POURING into the city. Also, the SFILGFF has been on the dreary side. After a BBC series and then a program of international shorts, I took a bit of a break before landing into something cute.

"THE LINE OF BEAUTY" (dir Saul Dibb 2006 UK 180 min video) This BBC mini-series in three parts was screened in its entirety with two brief intermissions between episodes. It is an adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst's novel, in which a beautiful, er, no, I mean, a BEAUTIFUL young man of modest means (Dan Stevens) is taken in by his best friends family, who happen to be leaders of Britain's Conservative Party in 1983. The story spans the next four years. Yes, this is a tale of the horrid predicaments faced by BEAUTIFUL gay men in the upper crust of British society during Margaret Thatcher's 'reign.' Poor boys! Watch and see how our middle class BEAUTY struggles with his closeted boyfriends while doing lines of cocaine. (Get it? 'Lines of Beauty' = 'Lines of Cocaine'? Well, it is 1983...) Watch how our middle class BEAUTY is the ultimate scapegoat for the trials and failures of the 'system' that he has been a part of for the past four years. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit that A) I dozed during Episode 1, and B) I left the theater after Episode 2. The overall dreaminess of the cast, the gorgeous settings, the fabulous music and the coldness of the characters left me unsympathetic, even after two hours. I felt my time could be of better use in shopping and starting to prepare for my houseguest this weekend.

However, I did return for the program of international short subjects. This was a collection of nine films, only two of which were in English, the rest being subtitled. This meant that under my current physical and mental condition that, yes, I napped in the midst of THIS too! However, the situation was only exacerbated by the fact that one, that is ONLY ONE of them was a comedy. The rest seemed predominately focused on Older Man Seeks Young Boy themes. Which I find... unsettling, for some reason. In preferential order:

"DADDY’S BOY" (dir Tristan Hamilton 2006 Australia 8 min video) This was the single English language entry, as well as the ONLY comedy in the program! It's not as 'dirty' as it sounds, and the actual little plot, and its twist, were unexpected and clever. I wish the production values were higher though. There was even a typo in the opening credits! ("Asphodel Films Presensts") Tsk! Tsk!

"TWO NIGHTS" (dir Rolmar Baldonado 2006 Australia 12 min video) This was cleverly written and shot as a young man has two dates, which are performed for the most part in split-screen. One date is young and HOT. The other date is older and loving. I wonder who he will choose for a second date...?

"DAVID" (dir Roberto Fiesco 2005 Mexico 15 min) This was lovely to look at, though I was a bit disturbed that the young man was... TOO young? He is also mute. He also has a tryst with a man at least twice his age. But even the older man was pretty hot. But, in a weird way, the whole thing sort of bothered me. But it was nice to look at, in a slightly dirty way.

The following were all just generally dreary, and I list them here as a matter of record:
"A CRIMSON MARK" (dir Park Hyun-Jin 2004 South Korean 13 min 16mm), "MAN SEEKING MAN" (dir Matti Harju 2004 Finland 10 min video), "STILL" (dir Lucky Kuswandi 2005 Indonesia/USA 15 min video) which I saw and distinctly remember disliking at the SFIndieFest in January, and finally, "THE BATH" (dir Sachin Kundalkar 2005 India 20 min video) which was the bleakest of them all in that a hideously poor boy prostitute in India has a series of horrid tricks, until one day, a nice man gives him a bath. Oh dear.

I slept through the entirety of these, which are included here for the record:
"THE PEGASUS" (dir Nintu 2005 India 6 min video) and "ATTACK" (dir Timothy Smith 2005 UK 7 min video).

Next, I intended to see the documentary feature "Wrestling With Angels: Tony Kushner". However, I simply had to get outside! And since I will be able to catch it at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, I wandered a bit before meeting Jimmy for the final film of the day, which was oh so cute! (The film, not meeting Jimmy.)

"THE MOSTLY UNFABULOUS SOCIAL LIFE OF ETHAN GREEN" (dir George Bamber 2005 USA 88 min 35mm) Based on Eric Orner's syndicated gay comic strip of the same name, this featured the exceptionally dreamy Daniel Letterle ("Camp") as Ethan and some old pros in supporting roles, including a fabulous looking Meredith Baxter as his mom! I had more than my share of good laughs in this. FINALLY! Yes, it does basically cross that dreaded line into being 'cute' but I just couldn't hate it this time. After all, it IS based on a comic strip and my fest-picks have just been so BLEAK this year that 'cute' was a welcome change! Also, the guys are hot and comfortably of legal age. Oh, and lest I forget, Reichen of "The Amazing Race" fame appears, but only as photos on a "Mystery Date" game board.

Tomorrow is 'Pink Saturday' so I might be... distracted and only see two programs.

1 comment:

Maxxxxx said...

re "The Line of Beauty": "Such a pretty bird!"
re International Shorts: "Is it bedtime?"
re "The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green": Wolf whistles and cackles maniacally!