Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Frameline 33 (SF LGBT Film Festival, 2009) - Day 6

Frameline 33: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, the world’s premiere showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cinema, runs June 18-28, 2009, with screenings in San Francisco at the historic Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater and the Victoria Theatre, and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood. Tickets are available via the website 24 hours a day, via fax, or in person at the Frameline Festival Box Office Counter.

PATRIK, AGE 1.5 (dir. Ella Lemhagen, Sweden, 100 Mins.) This was a "Centerpiece screening" which I feared would be 'cute'. I LOATHE 'cute'! But, it is only in the production design in which the pair of gay men live, surrounded by IKEA constructed suburb, where the are seeking to adopt a child. It is not a spoiler to state that the decimal for the 1.5 year old is misplaced to read 15 year old, as that is the conflict and reason for the piece. The trio is forced to deal with each other and their existence as a family, surrounded in a white picket fence world. The characters at the core of the film are what saved it from my loathing. The performances are real and artistically set against the artificial background, which is hindering, if not oppressing their development as a family unit. It does have a distributor and should be on DVD release by the end of the year, if not sooner. I was able to screen this in a preview a couple of weeks ago, which allowed me time to attend a double feature at the Victoria.

THE GOOD AMERICAN (dir. Jochen Hick, Germany, 2009, 90 Mins.) Unlike the preceding evening's GREEK PETE, this film is sincerely honest, with flaws and ambivalent heroes. It is not so much a biography, but a portrait at a critical time in the life of Tom Weise, ex-gay escort, founder of Rentboy.com and an illegal immigrant for the past 11 years in the U.S., as he dissolves his American ties to return to Berlin, for what may be the last time, with his American partner. Weise displays a definite charisma of a survivor, for having surived AIDS, Hepatitis C, prosutition and the nearly illegal business he ran for nearly a decade, even while producing the infamous annual Hustlaballs around the country. The video includes interviews with his co-workers and his co-owner, who he creates something of a conflict with. (Perhaps easier to dissolve the partnership by, as he may not be able to return?) His partner is also profiled as he makes the transition from NYC to Berlin, and his comments regarding Germans are very funny! The heart of the "good american" arises as he discusses his 'legal' responsibilities while being illegally a resident: [paraphrased] "I love it here, though I do not pay taxes for an illegal war, I have offered over $50,000 to the social programs that need the money more." There are a slew of pornstars and escorts interviewed about Weise, and in fact, Derrick Hansen was present to introduce the film's sponsor, The St. James Infirmary, which he did while displaying multiple times as much charm as the aforementioned "Greek Pete". Also, a letter from Weise was read in which he stated his intention to be present, but was denied an entry Visa only two weeks ago, due to the U.S.'s continuing restriction on HIV+ visitation and immigration. [One note: the video was shown in a skewed aspect ratio, perhaps due to the PAL-NTSC conversion.] Anyway, enough about the hooker flicks!

THUNDERCRACK! (dir. Curt McDowell, USA, 1975, 152 Mins.) Oh. My. GAWD!! I now feel ashamed that I am in my late 40's and have only now discoverd this brilliantly concieved, produced, performed piece of Underground Cinema! I approached it with trepidation due to the 2 hour and 35 minute running time, which is a LOT of underground. However, the time FLEW BY! I find it hard to describe. Perhaps calling it a pornographic Edward Albee play if it were directed by David Lynch, would suffice? I would not want to give any kind of spoiler away, except for a small sample of dialogue. My favorite being, "...a malignancy of glandular grotesqueness that struck at the very root of his manhood...", which appears in the midst of one of many classically structured monologues given the lead actress, Marion Eaton, who handles her role of an oversexed Tennessee Williams heroine, with aplomb (and a cucumber!). (SPOILER: Click here for the entire monologue!) Director Curt McDowell's sister, Melinda (who also appears in the film), was present to officially announce the distribution rights for a "Special 35th Anniversary" DVD of the film to be released later in the year from Synapse! This will be the first time the film has been available! (There is a European cut from Denmark, which is only 90 minutes.) The sound design needs some restoration and rebalancing, but I found I could cut out a great deal of treble interference by wearing my MP3 player earbuds, and I CAN NOT WAIT to own this remarkable, hysterical, oh and quite pornographic, classic masterpiece of underground cinema to be in my home to shock my friends and neighbors! Also, "survivors" of the epic were given "THUNDERSTRUCK!" buttons and a lucky member of the audience, "local drag sensation Kegel Kater walked away with a hand silk-screened print of the original film poster," but risked being mugged by moi after the screening, but was saved by MUNI. Screenwriter George Kuchar was also present, but left before the screening started.

Maxxxxx says
re both films: "Wooooooooo!!!"

You can contact Maxxxxx or myself here: JayCBird@AOL.COM

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