Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Frameline 34 (SF Intl. LGBT Film Festival) - Day 6

This year’s internationally renowned showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cinema runs June 17-27, with San Francisco screenings at the historic Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street), Roxie Theater (3117 16th Street) and the Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street), and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (2966 College Avenue).Tickets for Frameline34 are on sale  through

The Motionless [Inertes] (dir. Eusebio Pastrana, Spain, 2010, 91 Mins.) Well, this was an odd little film that teetered oh so perilously to the pretentious.  The plot: two woman and one man meet and attempt a poly-amorous relationship.  It is shot in STARK black and white video, with exceptionally high contrast, which only makes the masked clown even more prevalent.  Oh, yes. The Masked Clown.  I don't know exactly why HE is there, but he dances around each one when they are in a moment of emotional change, which is his reason for being, I guess. There is a lot of "choreography" of the four people, which is sort of ironic for a film called "MOTIONLESS", but then that's sort of part of its pretension.  No, I was not bored, per se, just a wee bit annoyed.

The Frameline Award was presented to Wolfe Releasing in celebration of its 25 years of GLBT film and video distribution. Kathy Wolfe accepted the award on behalf of her company with such modesty and charm, she was quite affecting. This was followed by a screening one of their latest acquisitions,
Undertow [Contracorriente] (dir. Javier Fuentes-León, Peru, 2010, 100 Mins.)  Though this won the Audience Award at Sundance, the director claimed to be more excited and moved about THIS screening than any before. He did relate a sweet story of how choked up he was tonight, as he and his partner walked hand-in-hand past the long lines outside the theater for the largest audience his films have ever screened in front of.  The film  is set in a Peruvian fishing village, a man deals with his conflicting loves: his wife and boyfriend, who is gorgeously portrayed by Manolo Cardona. (Apparently, he is the "Colombian Brad Pitt".) There is nothing "wrong" with any aspect of the film. However, I was not overly moved by it either. It is simply an exceptionally well crafted, accessible and commercial piece of film.

There were three programs on this day that I previewed on DVD screener and chose not to attend "live" for various reasons.

Is It Just Me? (dir. JC Calciano, USA, 2009, 112 Mins.) This is cute. Very cute. I hate 'cute'.  It is not necessarily painful to sit through and the feedback I got from some audience members after the matinee was quite positive.  It features an exceptionally cute cast, involved in a farce of mistaken identities and lies, which is a pet peeve of mine. I just find that kind of plotting annoying. (Why doesn't somebody just say something to stop it all?!)  Anyway, the film will probably do quite well on a quick indie release and great on home video and cable, seeing as the cast is so attractive (even if that is the source of their problems...) and the plot is a safe, little farce.  Given the opportunity to see it "live", I passed.

The Sisters [Die Schwestern] (dirs. Manfred Hoschek, Sigrid Smejkal,
Austria, 2009, 74 Mins.) This is an all too brief documentary surrounding the 30th Anniversary of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  Though it attempts to give a global overview of the Sisters by focusing on chapters in Berlin, Montevideo and San Francisco, it spreads itself too thin.  There is a brief explanation of the genesis of the Order and what it's purpose is. However, I think it only scratches the surface of how The Sisters have benefitted the community, changed people's lives and it gives short shrift to what was a fabulous celebration last year at the Anniversary here in San Francisco!  That said, at least someone has paid some attention and perhaps this will inspire others to give the SPI more coverage!

Baby Jane? (dir. Billy Clift, USA, 2009, 87 mins.) Billy Clift and his cast campily deconstruct WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?  Matthew Martin and Katya Smirnoff (aka J. Conrad Frank) lead a comically adroit cast (including Heklina's extended version of the neighbor Mrs. Bates) who do not mock the original performances or performers. Though the film might lack a certain cabaret freshness that was felt during the original stage performances, it is at the very least, a drag valentine to a great piece of grand guinol.  I really wanted to be at the screening, as I was sure it was to be a "scene", but the screening was starting pretty late for me.  However, I heard from those present that it was a 'mature' presentation and that wackiness did not ensue beyond what happened on the screen and that the Q&A was a pretty sober affair.

Maxxxxx says re THE SISTERS:   "Woooooo!"

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


Xanna Don't said...

We finally got a chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence here in Atlanta and boy oh boy are they fun--and dedicated. Never knew about them before, so I agree, it's important to have info about them out there.

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...

Yay, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Atlanta!! You should help them and get Sainted! :))