Friday, June 26, 2009

Frameline 33 (SF LGBT Film Festival, 2009) - Day 9

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.

The Short Subject Program for the day, a collection of international short narrative firlms, was previewed and posted earlier:WORLDLY AFFAIRS.

THE BABY FORMULA (dir. Alison Reid, Canada, 2008, 81 Mins.) What a lovely, little romp this was! In mockumentary style, Alison Reid documents the simultaneous pregnancies of a pair of lesbians, who were able to conceive with each other's ova, without sperm, as this scientific breakthrough spreads through their disbelieving families. It is actually the relationship between the two pregnant partners that is the heart of the story though. The performances from Angela Vint and Megan Fahlenbock are nearly spectacular in their freshness, sincerity and realism. (Well, since they were both actually pregnant during the filming, perhaps attaining realism was easier than imagined?!) Their relationship with each other could have held my interest for hours without the funhouse of the families interjecting. In fact, the families are overplayed by comparison, which may have been the point of introducing a 'family circus' element, but I found it a bit distracting. Even with that, the editing is near comic genius at points and director Alison Reid has conceived a brilliant domestic comedy, that she perceives (during the Q&A) could have a life of its own as a series. I totally agree!

CANYON CINEMA'S QUEER UNDERGROUND was curated and presented by Canyon Cinema's Executive Director, Dominic Angerame, as a collection of avant-garde, experimental and underground short subjects with LGBT content. (All films are sourced to the Canyon Cinema Website.)

The program began appropriately enough with an invocation, as it were. SHAMAN PSALM (dir. James Broughton, USA, 1981, 7 min.) is simply a poem being recited underneath images of a male, nudist gathering. "The love shaman calls for a sexual revolution of the body politic urging mankind into a new love age." This was followed even more appropriately by a Kenneth Anger piece from his MAGICK LANTERN CYCLE, FIREWORKS (dir. Kenneth Anger, USA, 1947, 15 min.). It is simply a dream, or a nightmare, of homoerotic passion with a group of sailors and fireplaces.


The program continued with one of my two new directorial discoveries at this festival. CONFESSIONS (Dir. Curt McDowell, USA, 1971, 16 min.) Made while Curt McDowell was a graduate student at San Francisco Art Institute, it is simply a confession to his mother and father, "listing (in exhausting detail) his sins of the flesh." What is so compelling is his innocent, if not humorous take on his life at that point. He has a charming presence that makes the personal, if not nearly surreal expression of his desires even more accessible.

GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM (dir. Su Fredrich, USA, 1981, 14 min.) This was one of the more inaccessible pieces. It is silent and features a great deal of filmic poetry, most of which was written on the actual frames. Though I followed it as the stream of consciousness that it was, it is always a bit difficult to follow someone else's dream, quite so literally.

I, AN ACTRESS (dir. George Kuchar, USA, 1977, 10 min.) George Kuchar is my second directorial find at this year's fest! I LOVED THIS egomaniacal take on directing an actress. As actress and director wrestle over a screen test, Kuchar (as the director) continually pushes and crosses the boundaries of his own expression, and literally attacking the actress's space and talent. He is amazing to watch and work. His ability to write such complicated verbiage and then deconstruct it visually has me stunned!

VALENTINE FOR NELSON (dir. Jim Hubbard, USA, 1990, 5 min.) It is what it says and is a decent companion piece to the much more explicit lesbian "love letter", which followed. HOLDING (dir. Connie Beeson, USA, 1971, 13 min.) "Two young women in love communicate through fantasy and touching in a rhythmic buildup, merging time concepts. Flashes of the past blend with the present and future in a collage of themselves, the hills, the sea and their sexuality."

DEVIL'S DAIRYMAID (dir. Kym S. Farmen, USA, 2008, 8 min.) In what had to be perhaps the most intensely paced and edited short, Kym S. Farmen tale of a dairymaid "lured into a dark forest by mischievous and ominous spirits" took on magical and maniacal velocity, for such a simple action, setting and plot. In an odd way, I really got into the churning, churning, churning...

Maxxxxx says
re THE BABY FORMULA and I, AN ACTRESS: "I love you too!"

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

1 comment:

Brian said...

You were there too? Didn't spy you. Great program. I'd seen I, An Actress before but only on (quasi?-)bootleg video. I wrote a piece on Kuchar's Wild Night in El Reno for Senses of Cinema, but I'm too modest (nah, lazy actually) to link it right now.