Monday, June 23, 2008

Frameline 32 - Days 6 and 7 Preview

Frameline 32 (aka the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival) continues with weekday screenings with ten programs on Tuesday, June 24, including the CENTERPIECE feature, and eleven programs on Wednesday, June 25.

The Tuesday matinee tribute to Michael Lumpkin continues with BOUND (dirs. The Wachowski Brothers, US, 1996, 108 mins.) Yes, I was there in 1996 when the Castro nearly melted down during the standing ovation after the screening! In fact, the audience reaction throughout the film was so intense, that the Wachowski Brothers talk about it on their commentary on the DVD. Perhaps the first, truly commercial flick with lesbian content since THE HUNGER, the audience ATE! IT! UP! The performances are all as quirky and wonderful as Jennifer Tilly always is, and Joe Pantoliano and Christopher Meloni are present to add some beefcake to the mix. This was the first film from the Wachowskis, who then launched their next project, THE MATRIX, and were never seen of in the "indie" circuit again...

The Centerpiece feature isXXY (dir. Lucia Puenzo, Argentina/Spain/France, 2007, 91 mins.), which I was able to see at this year's Atlanta Film Festival. Argentina's official entry for the Foreign Language Oscar for 2007, features a mesmerizing and unique performance from its young lead, Ines Efron. It is difficult to talk about her character without giving away spoilers. However, she near brilliantly maneuvers through the complicated emotional and physical conflicts her character faces. The film itself is typical of what I have experienced of Argentine cinema: it is bleak and slow. However, in this instance, the plot has a physical hook that keeps the screenplay from becoming too inwardly directed and, for lack of a better terminology, Stuff Happens! Hopefully stuff will happen for Efron and we will see much more from her!

SHE'S A BOY I KNEW (dir. Gwen Haworth, US, 2007, 70 mins.) As the title so aptly points out, this documents the familial reactions to a male-to-female transgender process. The details of Gwen Haworth's (director and subject) transition are mentioned in passing. The interviews with his parents, sisters and ex-wife fill the film, as well as a great deal of family video and pictures. This generosity towards the interviewees keeps the film from being overtly self indulgent, as the process is not about HER, but about how her family adapts and copes with "the loss of a son", and most remarkably, the loss of a daughter-in-law, as the parents do not withhold comment on what this did to his marriage. The parents are exceptionally frank and have no hesitation in their remarks or emotionally revealing themselves. This is probably the best documentary I've seen about the transition process, considering that the subject matter isn't really my cup of tea to begin with!

The Michael Lumpkin tribute continues on Wednesday, June 25, with LILIES (dir. John Grayson, Canada, 1996, 95 mins.) The year after BOUND rocked the house, this film generated a ten minute standing ovation at its screening! I was there for this, too! (Lucky me!!) John Grayson, who had some success with the first AIDS musical, PATIENT ZERO, scored pay dirt here in adapting Michel Marc Bouchard’s play. The able cast, including Brent Carver, is absolutely fabulous. You can feel their appreciation for being given such a strong script to deliver. However, ironically, as much as I LOVED it at the time, by the time it was available on DVD, I never needed to see it again...

There is a program of bisexual shorts, Bi Request, that I was able to see four out of the five entries in the program.

THREE SUMMERS (dir. Carlos Oliveira, Denmark, 2006, 28 mins.) Well, even though the boy is beautiful, he is still, slightly disturbingly, A BOY, who seduces one of his parents friends during an annual summer reunion, of sorts. The older man then grapples with what this means, not to mention the pressure of keeping the secret as each summer passes. If it weren't so Scandanavianly dour, I MIGHT have enjoyed this, though the boy really is a bit too young for the subject matter, I think.

RAMONA'S NEW DRESSER (dir. Bohdana Smyrnova, Ukraine, 2008, 11 mins.) Other than the fact that this was produced from the Ukraine, the tale itself is fairly pedestrian. The website's description is actually more humorous than the film itself: "This short film is about a confused relationship between a Polish and an American girl. It is made by a confused Ukrainian girl." They meet, go to her place, where her boyfriend is unexpectedly present, and the girl says she's there to buy the used dresser. Yep.

SAD BOYS DANCE WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING (dirs. Lisa Blatter, Simon Steuri, Switzerland, 2007, 17 mins.) Apparently, being bisexual leads to nothing but conflict! Here it is the guy who has to juggle his best friend and his girlfriend! Another BLEAK Scandanavian view, that I thought they had overcome. Ah well.

BLOOD AND MONKEY (dir. April Hirschman, US, 2000, 4 mins.) It is quite simply a four minute impressionistic and experimental tribute to the artist Frida Kahlo. Though it is visually arresting, I think that it might have been a bit more effective to have used, or I guess perhaps more specifically, animated some of Kahlo's work. But then you get in the discussion of one artist's representation of another artist's work, and such. However, at only four minutes, it is just long enough to pique one's curiosity without becoming annoying.

The fifth film is THE BI APPLE (dir. Audacia Ray, US, 2006, 25 mins.), and was unavailable for preview. However, it sounds like it is the lightest and most enjoyable of the bunch! It might make the program worth seeing, or at least much more appealing than CIAO, which is having an encore screening at the same period.

Maxxxxx says
re BOUND: "Sweet, sweet eye juice!"
re XXY: [Maxxxxx isn't sure what sex he is either.]
re SHE'S A BOY I KNEW: "Such a pretty bird!"
re Bi Request: "Is it bedtime?"

1 comment:

Cabsau said...

Lilies is one of my all time "gay" films!