Monday, June 23, 2008

Frameline 32 - Days 8 and 9 Preview

Frameline 32 (aka the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival) slows down a bit with the weekday screenings of ten programs on Thursday, June 26, and "only" nine programs on Friday, June 27. Of these next two days of screenings, I have only seen two "new" features and two out of the three "Michael Lumpkin Screenings".

Thursday, June 26, begins with a "Michael Lumpkin double feature" of BIG EDEN (dir. Thomas Bezucha, US, 2000, 117 mins.) and WORD IS OUT (dir. Mariposa Film Group, 1977, 124 mins.). I did not see BIG EDEN at its festival screening, but only heard about the overwhelming, warm response it received. When I saw it during its commercial release, which I will admit that I dragged myself to as the plot regarding "a pair of backwoods gay lovers" doesn't readily appeal to me, but it is so much more! I loved it! It was one of the most surprisingly romantic films I'd seen in a long time, regardless of the sexuality involved. The performances are so grounded and without melodrama that I find it by far superior to the soap opera that is BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. I'd love to see BIG EDEN on a BIG screen again! Then there is WORD IS OUT, which I have only seen on television, and that was many, many years ago. It did launch a personal running gag in my circle of friends regarding "The Well of Loneliness", which is a book that several lesbians refer to as life changing. There was just some way in which they referred to it that cracked us up! The film has just undergone a 30th Anniversary Restoration, and I wouldn't expect anything less than the BEST PRINT to be screening at the Castro!

It can be difficult to tell what will be an EVENT SCREENING when going into a film festival, which is part of the gamble and suprise. However,
PANSY DIVISION: Life in a Gay Rock Band (dir. Michael Carmona, US, 2007, 85 mins.) which was screened in Atlanta as part of Mondo Homo Dirty South 2008 (due to the efforts of the FABULOUS Ms. Xanna Don't) should be should be something of an event, as the band is expected to be present, as is the director, I am sure. It provides a great set of flashbacks to living in San Francisco in the 90's and the band itself is a fun group of guys who interview quite well. The actual structure of the film is sort of a hoot as it uses the band's search for a drummer for its historical marker. I think they went through ten or so, with varying results, before the latest one has settled in with them. Through out the clips are various cultural glitteratti of San Francisco, too, (HI, Mark Kleim!) which made me even MORE homesick! As much fun as the film is, the construction is a bit awkward, as the editing leaps around in time. Though the film proceeds chronologically, it uses "history to discuss history". In other words, mixing present day and past interviews to talk about an even earlier past is a tad 'off'. In a cleaner edit, the present day talking heads would either bookend the archives, which would run chronologically, or they would be replaced with a narration. It would resolve the confusion of: He is talking in 2007 about talking in 1998 about 1993, which is also talked about in 2002. It's just an anal qualm of mine. But regardless, it should be a great night at the Victorian!

Friday, June 27, will feature CHRIS AND DON: A LOVE STORY (dirs. Tina Mascara, Guido Santi, US, 2007, 90 mins.), a documentary about the 34-year relationship between writer Christopher Isherwood and artist Don Bachardy, who happened to be thirty years apart also, which casts an even more peculiar light on the relationship, and makes for an even more engrossing story. Don Bachardy is the surviving partner, and as the story evolves it isn't so much about Isherwood's achievements as a world renown writer, but Bachardy's growth into his own self, in spite of being in Isherwood's shadow. There is a plethora of photos and film of the two of them over the three decades, though the "talking heads syndrome" does rear its ugly head (HA!) by the end, and not to sound overly critical or catty, but Bachardy has a definitive speaking voice that is hard to stay awake to. It's an earnest and fascinating film that you need to be caffeinated before hand to fully appreciate!

Maxxxxx says
re BIG EDEN: "Oooooo..."
re WORD IS OUT: "Shaddup!"
re PANSY DIVISION: "Dooby dooby dooo-ooo!"
re CHRIS AND DON: "What's your name?"

1 comment:

Xanna Don't said...

I wish we could've seen the Pansy Division docu in Atlanta with the band in attendance! But at least we got to see it. Love those guys. Thanx for mentioning me--again!