Thursday, June 25, 2009

Frameline 33 (SF LGBT Film Festival, 2009) - Day 7

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.

Today's screenings included three short subject programs, which I was able to preview earlier:
GLOBAL QUEERS: The collection of four documentaries of activists and lifestyles around the world.
BI-REQUEST: A collection of narrative shorts, focusing on bi-sexual orientation.
BACK TO LIFE: A collection of narrative shorts, focusing on women, mostly and featuring perhaps the best piece of the festival, LIE TOGETHER!

I also screened at an earlier preview, PRODIGAL SONS (dir. Kimberly Reed, USA, 2008, 86 Mins.). Although the program synopsis actually details this documentary, with spoilers, the story of this family focuses primarily on the three sons: one gay, one adopted (who has suffered a brain injury and has the biggest surprise of a "past life") and the filmmaker, who is a Male-to-Female transgender, as she returns to her high school reunion. The father died a couple years before the film begins. I was gasping throughout the revelations of the family's history, but that was exposing what I feel is the film's "flaw". The focus is mostly on Reed and how family and friends continue to react to her transition. What I want to know is how the mother is able to get through this amazing soap opera! (I swear it is only missing pirates!) Seeing as the subject is also the director, I would have liked to have seen a more objective view.

MISCONCEPTIONS (dir. Ron Satlof, USA, 2008, 95 Mins.) A very stable and professional cast, led by A.J. Cook (CBS’s Criminal Minds), Orlando Jones and David Sutcliffe (Gilmore Girls), are able to overcome this highly unlikely comedy, in which a devout Christian (Cook), who lives somewhere in the South, is led by God to be the surrogate mother to a gay couple (Jones and David Moscow) in Boston. And there's the rub. One must suspend disbelief that the gay couple were unable to find an available surrogate in Boston, much less have to go to the extent necessary to find this woman. Once you get past that, there is the over-the-top production design, which HAMMERS the cultural differences in such a way as to be a sit-com. Toss in a couple lies and deceptions, and drama is to ensue. However, the situation is so broadly drawn at that point that I found myself lacking any real sincere emotional reaction to the film, except to admire Orlando Jones' comic mastery.

REDWOODS (dir. David Lewis, USA, 2009, 82 Mins.) First the great news: I finally met up with my former contact at TLA Video: Lewis Tice! Yay, Lewis! Second, the good news: The film he is involved in looks beautiful. The cinematography is gauzy, dreamy (t was filmed around the Russian River area here in Northern California) and it's subjects are requisitely handsome! However, the screenplay actually sort of bugged me. Now, as I hope everyone knows by now, I am not a prude. However, this slight story of a seven-year-itch, just rubbed me the wrong way. I don't know whether it was the short and underdeveloped clip we get of the married pair and their autistic son, before the "visitor" arrives, or that such a brief flirtation would lead to even a dinner with the parents, during the week long stay. (The other husband and son have left town for a visit with the birth mother, I believe - though it was so quickly done at the beginning, I am unclear.) But I just didn't buy into such a quickly developed relationship, considering what I would hope would be the emotional ties that bind him to his current situation, much less his excitement in introducing him to his family, which garners only a slight warning from the father. I just felt that the emotional truths were being ignored for the sake of the visual beauty of the film. Though most of the cast and crew were present, I just chose not to stay for the Q&A, much less go to the after party in the Castro, which I heard great things about!

Maxxxxx says
re LIE TOGETHER: "I love you too!"

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