Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Frameline 32 - Day 10 Preview

Frameline 32 (aka the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival) heads into the final stretch by slamming out fifteen programs on Saturday, June 28. The day will end with some queer glittiratti headlined by Margaret Cho, The Kinsey Sicks, and the ubiquitous Perez Hilton, amongst many, appearing at their separate screenings around the festival. Ah, to be actually THERE!!!

I'd start the day with the "Michael Lumpkin Screening" of YES NURSE! NO NURSE! (dir. Pieter Kramer, Netherlands, 2002, 100 mins.) The film was so popular the year it played at the festival that an impromptu encore screening was scheduled during the week! Loes Luca, who plays Nurse Klivia, accepted the Audience Award on Closing Night, and then led the crowd in a couple of verses of the theme. It is one of the most delightfully subversive films I've ever seen. It doesn't shock or offend, but innocently defends the eccentric in all of us. And it's one of the most colorful entries ever at Frameline. I went to both screenings that year, found the video on VCD, then saw it again during the theatrical run at the Castro, and snatched up the DVD. I don't force it on strangers, though...

The afternoon, right before the "Dyke March" is the second program of lesbian, comedy shorts, Dyke Delights, featuring a dozen entries.

MENOPAUSAL GALS GONE WILD (dirs. Donna Marie Nudd, Diane Wilkins, US, 2007, 4 mins.) The twisted creators of the past hits CREM-MATE MUFFY and ANNIE DEAREST are represented again this year with typical, politically incorrect glee! What's a gal to do during a menopausal hot flash, but to flash them! In the format of one of those typically classless video ads for "Girls Gone Wild", Wilkins and Nudd cast a group of mature women, who are willing to let it all hang out for your perverse, erotic delight. Though not as shocking as CREM-MATE MUFFY or as over-the-top as ANNIE DEAREST, this still goes where most comedy shorts don't dare! I Love Them!

CRAFTY (dir. Erik Gernand, US, 2008, 9 mins.) You know, there isn't anything "wrong" with this little battle of sexual wills, between a lesbian and the heterosexual woman she is trying to convince to sign a petition. But there is just something missing that keeps it from striking comedic, if nearly O. Henry levels of irony. There is promise in the premise, but it needs to either be sharpened up or expanded. As it is, it feels... incomplete.

TOI ET MOI (dir. Ali Cotterill, 2008, US, 4 mins.) Simply, a fabulously costumed homage to the "golden era" of music videos! Ah, to be 1982 again!

LEZBRO: DON'T CHA KNOW (dirs. Melinda Bagatelos, Dara Sklar, US, 2008, 10 mins.) In documentary form, this examines the unique friendship between guys and dykes. It is hard to call it a mockumentary, as I think the interview subjects are all genuine, however entertaining their answers are. It also includes a nifty pastiche of old classroom educational films.

A WORK IN PROGRESS (dir. Keshia Coe, US, 2008, 8 mins.) Perhaps the most ambitious of any of these entries, if not of what I have seen of the festival, this little comedy about two writers stuck together on a project, play out their shared emotional past through a series of cinematic sequences that plays as a cinematic and commercial whirlwind, not unlike a sequence from BE KIND REWIND. The two women are fabulously teasing in revealing just enough emotional information to keep the audience on the ride. Director Keshia Coe has a great eye for style and it would be wonderful to see more of her work.

WORST CASE SCENARIO: FEMME EDITION (dir. Mary Guzman, US, 2008, 5 mins.) A fun little Super-8, “how-to” primer, and how to be "femme" yet aggressive enough to get that "butch" to notice you. Mary Guzman is an exceptionally popular San Francisco filmmaker, so expect to hear the crowd roar for her!

OPERATED BY INVISIBLE HANDS (dir. Nicole Brending, US, 2007, 7 mins.) Well, this was a trippy little flick featuring to antique dolls, speaking in French, and playing out a tete a tete, which touches about sex, body image, intimacy and a whole range of surprising issues. Not as subversive as Todd Haynes SUPERSTAR THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY, but very much in the same vein.

LOVE SUCKS (dirs. Ingrid Jungermann, Sara Winters, US, 2008, 10 mins.) This is really fun! Think of the REAL story behind THE HUNGER, where your spouse of hundreds of years decides that you need counseling. The two actresses are a hoot, though the exceptionally effeminate therapist is a bit overplayed. Some of the makeup effects are also simple, yet creepily effective.

THE SHEEP AND THE RANCH HAND: A SEXYQUEER LOVE STORY (dir. Loretta Hintz, US, 2008, 14 mins.) The production values are surprisingly high, for what is the quirkiest film of the fest. A woman dreams about being a sheep, in love with a female ranch hand. It's a bit long, for what is a fairly slim premise.

KING COUNTY (dir. David Quantic, 2008, 7 mins.) From the program notes: "Camille Schwartzbaum searches for a bad ’80s film to turn into the next smash Broadway show in King County." In other words, I LOVED it!! I gotta get a copy of this! The photo is the all, "bear" version of SHOWGIRLS! BWAH!!

THE VICIOUS AND THE DELICIOUS (dir. Tonnette Stanford, Australia, 2008, 11 mins.) A really outrageous comic soap-opera plays like a four minute French and Saunders skit that has been stretched to three times the length. Sort of entertaining at first, but it doesn't seem to move beyond the pastiche it is to support even the eleven minutes.

(SOCIAL CONFLICT MANAGEMENT (dir. Dagny Thompson, Canada, 2005, 8 mins.) was unavailable for preview.)

A JIHAD FOR LOVE (dir. Parvez Sharma, US, 2007, 81 mins.) This could be one of the biggest, if most unique documentaries of the year. It is a simple look at the dilemma, sometimes life threatening, of being a gay Muslim. Interviews with Muslims all over the globe reveal a diaspora of people who have chosen to live true to themselves, yet honor the religion that condemns them. It can be difficult to view, as a great deal of the film protects the anonymity of its subjects. Much of it is out of focus. However, it isn't done out of shame, as much as to protect the interviewees and their families from arrest and, in some cases, death sentences. The technique is used to nearly poetic effect, as these people who we can not see, are also not "seen" by the cultures they are part of. The segments which are in clear focus are also some of the most disturbing: i.e., a discussion between a father and his children about what they feel is just punishment for being gay. They talk in harrowing frankness, particularly since they know that the man they are talking to, their father, is gay. This is another contribution from producer Michael Huffington (yes, Arianna's ex-husband and Republican), who has made a remarkable stamp on the GLBT documentary world these past two years. JIHAD FOR LOVE could almost be considered part of his series of how religion and being gay interact, including his other pieces from last year, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO and WE'RE ALL ANGELS.

ANTARCTICA (dir. Yair Hochner, Israel, 2007, 110 mins.) This is the latest in what seems to be a particular style of ensemble coming from Israel, in the same vein as JELLYFISH and THE BUBBLE. In this case, the plethora of cast only confused me, and I did not find what is described as a "wacky comedy". The inclusion of a crossed-dressed character, what the director attributes as an homage to John Waters and Divine, seemed completely out of sync with the "realism" of the rest of the project. Sorting through the characters, the screenplay and trying to figure out that this is supposed to be funny, was a lot of work for the two hours it spanned.

Maxxxxx says
re DYKE DELIGHTS: "Woo hooo!"
re JIHAD FOR LOVE: "I love you!"
re ANTARCTICA: "Is it bedtime?"

1 comment:

Xanna Don't said...

Wondering if Jay (or Maxx) thought that Jihad is worthy of an Oscar nom for Best Docu? I thought so when I saw it in Prague, Prague, Prague--there I go again with my eastern european tourettes! Aagghh!!! Sorry.