Thursday, June 19, 2008

Frameline 32 - Day 4 and 5 Preview

Frameline 32 (aka the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival) continues in full force on Sunday, June 22 with no less than SIXTEEN programs to choose from! Of those, I had a chance to see only one feature and one of the international shorts. The weekday screenings slow down, a bit, with only eleven programs on Monday, June 23.

In The Fire is a program of "four documentaries demonstrate that the LGBT community knows no borders." I saw one of these at the Atlanta Film Festival, as part of the experimental shorts program. 24 FRAMES PER DAY (Director: Sonali Gulati - USA - 7 minutes) A door is photographed at 24 framers per day (for nine months) as a conversation between an immigrant and taxi driver plays underneath. Apparently it is pointing towards a statement about what is "home", but it remained unclear, or at least, inconclusive. Not to mention, I must have missed any reference to sexual orientation.

The only feature I was able to screen was CIAO (dir. Yen Tan, US, 2007, 87 mins.). Oh dear. Well, I can appreciate the "quiet camerawork" and director Yen Tan's near zen-like pacing and palette. It is a "serious drama", and Tan has cast the entire production in a gray fog. Even the performances are underplayed and dour. However, the script is ludicrous and completely unbelievable. At least for me. A man discovers some email between his newly deceased partner and a man from Italy, who were planning to finally consummate their internet affair. Now, WHY the widower goes ahead and invites the Italian (who had never met his partner) to visit anyway, was beyond me. Even in the dialogue, the email relationship is merely regarded as internet-flirting, so the widower does not feel betrayed. There is no basis to invite the dead boyfriend's chat buddy to stay! I just couldn't get past that point. And THEN, as if it weren't enough (spoiler here!), THEY fall in love! OH PLEASE! That was cliche' and annoying, even if the production style was incredibly deft.

MANUELA Y MANUEL will have an encore screening, and as part of the Michael Lumpkin tribute, LAW OF DESIRE (dir. Pedro Almodovar, Spain, 1987, 102 mins.) screens at the Castro! The last time I saw this was at the Castro during the "Viva Pedro" retrospective two years ago. It is one of Almodovar's sexiest films, as (a young) Antonio Banderas plays a psychotic stalker, preying upon a gay writer. It is an edgier work on everyone's part, as Almodovar blends his two favorite subjects, sex and death, with unabandoned glee! Banderas seems to be particularly in to it! Hopefully, the theatre will have a good print, and will not have to resort to a projection of a disc.

Maxxxxx says
re CIAO: "Is it bedtime?"
re LAW OF DESIRE: "Such a pretty bird!"

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