Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Frameline 33 (SF LGBT Film Festival, 2009) - Back To Life

Frameline33: 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 films in this program of short subjects are comedies about, by, and for "women with past and present hurdles to overcome". It screens once: Wednesday, June 24, 9:30 PM at the Roxie Film Center. The program is listed in order as presented via screener and subject to change and includes:

EVELYN EVERYONE (dir. Kylie Plunkett, Australia, 2009, 17 min.) Featuring Loren Horsley as a woman seeking love, but in a virtual Sim-world. (There is a good amount of animation here, by Elka Kerkhofs and Leigh Ryan.) Though the topic might be a bit dated these days, I did find it amusing and Horsley does a great job, considering her work is virtually alone.

AT HOME (OR LOVE AS WELL) (dir. Mariel Macia, Spain, 2008, 25 min.) What a lovely film and beautifully, if not realistically developed, produced and performed. In other words, I may be over-identifying, as I've been there and done that. Sort of. The "sexual therapy" thing. In a way. Well, not with a woman, but... Anyway, I digress! This could easily be developed into a full length feature. And there was an interesting use of split screens.

INNOCENCE REMAINS (dir. Nathalie Camidebach, USA, 2009, 15 min.) The couple involved are such polar opposites (i.e., one practices zen and the other kickboxes), that their conflict feels forced, before it then crosses into the nearly contrived, as a birthday gift is coincidentally the trigger of drama. The subject matter (surviving sexual abuse) is so difficult to handle in just fifteen minutes. But the whole IS redeemed by an excellent end title. Or as one of the partners says, "This is so fucking surreal."

BACK TO LIFE (dirs. Desi del Valle , Hollie Lemarr, USA, 2009, 12 min.) Well, I found the physicality between del Valle's mourning character and her "straight gal-pal" to be a bit unrealistic, but Del Valle is such an appealing performer to watch, regardless of the believability of the circumstances. Actually, thinking back on this, she is the only "image" I remember...

LIE TOGETHER (dir. Jeanette L. Buck, USA, 2008, 14 min.) An exquisitely edited (by Bonnie Rae Brickman) piece in which a relationship is examined from beginning to end in a non-linear kaleidoscope of events. Brilliantly performed by Lauren Johannsen and Elise Grant, and beautifully photographed. Ryosuke Kawanaka's use of light and focus from the bright clarity of the new love to the gray, chill of the relationship's death knell is extraordinary! Elizabeth Pringle's screenplay is concise and lean. Jeanette Buck has created in only fourteen minutes what Stanley Donen did in two hours with TWO FOR THE ROAD. This is such an extraordinary piece on all levels, and probably the best short subject of this year's festival.

LUCHA (dir. Maria Breaux, USA, 2008, 15 min.) Set during El Salvador’s civil war (primarily set by a fairly political opening title regarding President Reagan's involvement), a pair of women discuss (and I mean that in the most literal way, as this is apparently an adaption of a two character one act play) love and war. A bit tiresome really, considering it is unnecessarily in Spanish with English subtitles. There is an oddly placed dream sequence, that is about as cinematic as the short gets, but it seems nearly wedged in.

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


Mariel Macia said...

Hey! Thank you so much for your overview on my film.
Im going to SF to present it. Im really looking forward to meet the SF audience.

Hugs from Spain :)

- Mariel Macia

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...

The audiences at Frameline are some of the most excited crowds you may ever screen in front of!

Have a great time, and I may pop in to see the program again and run down and say "hi!" after the Q&A!

Have a safe trip!

jeanette said...

thanks for the review.
jeanette buck
lie together

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...


No! Thank YOU for the film!

I hope you make it out here for the screening...!


Maria said...

Hello! Thanks for the write-up. I'm the director of Lucha. I have to say I found one of your comments troubling and bordering on racist: that the movie was unnecessarily done in Spanish with English sub-titles. Since the story is set in El Salvador, I feel it was important to refrain from the common and unfortunate Hollywood practice of having "foreign" characters speak in English with some unidentifiable accent. As Julian Schnabel chose to do in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly when he used French sub-titles for French characters (just one example), I chose to have Salvadorians speaking their native tongue. What I think is tiresome is de-nationalizing populations by having them depicted as English speakers, a disservice to the unity we're hoping to embrace in an LGBT film festival.

Thank you,
Maria Breaux

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...


Thank your for your attention and well intentioned response.

There was no bigotry intended, and as is sometimes not clearly expressed by myself, my little blog here can sometimes reflect reactions that are not prompted solely by the piece, by how the film is perceived as it is programmed within the festival, as a whole.

In other words, and perhaps unfortunately, as I am screening sixteen hours of short subjects programs, the subtitles of your piece were more of a "speed bump" as the film fit into the whole of the program it is a part of.

Had it been part of the WORLDLY AFFAIRS or other internationally focused program, I would have been more able to 'shift gears'.

I guess one could compare it to how pieces are hung in an art gallery. I think, in the case of LUCHA, that it may have been programmed in a less than advantageous space, which can be a real challenge with short subjects. Unfortunately, that is something beyond the director's control and I am sure it is frustrating...

I hope you're able to be in SF for the screening and wish you well and safe travels!