San Francisco Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Film Festival
Frameline is back again with its 33rd annual San Francisco International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender Film Festival—showcasing United States
feature films, world cinema features, documentaries, shorts and family films.
of Frameline 33 is The Power of Film and it couldn’t be a more apt description
of the impressive film array which distinguishes this festival and also encompasses the history of the gay rights movement
in providing significant works of film art in current queer cinema. The festival highlights
the current state of queer cinema with an extraordinary collection of films playing June 18-28th
at the Castro, Roxie, Victoria, Empire and Parkway theatres. The following is our take on selected titles,
but the full festival covers so much more.
(Dates and times of screenings can be found at www.frameline.org/festival) Here is our take
on some of the offerings:
by Aureus Solito, 83 minutes, 2009, Philippines, in Filipino and Tagalog with English subtitles)
The Boy (he's
never actually named) is a middle-class teen taken with Aries, a sexy dancer at the local gay strip club. Paying for Aries'
time, the boy brings him home on New Year's Eve. Through the evening and night, the two get very well acquainted, first spending
time with the boy's mother at the dinner table, then enjoying each other for many long hours in his bed, amongst his voluminous
collections of aquariums. That's about it for the basic plot. The boy is also a budding poet of sorts, though his prose focuses
entirely on one particular body part.
is shot in arty, tantalizing takes, and Solito masterfully teases us along, providing many voyeuristic views through the murky
fish tanks. There is lots of young skin on display here, as the boys' interactions become more intimate, and considering the
slimness of the story, that's probably all you need. But we also get a real sense of the characters and their families as
they strive to make the best of their lives.
has rarely been so satisfyingly represented - or
- onscreen... nor is it often this hot.
The Country Teacher (Venkovsky ucitel)
(Directed by Bohdan Slama, 113 minutes, 2008, Czech Republic/Germany/France,
in Czech with English subtitles)
science teacher flees to the country to teach elementary students as he represses his gay sexuality in search of love. His encounter with a divorced farm woman and her herd-hand son provides drama in a
film filled with complications. The viewer is required, by accident or design,
to fill in some of the blanks in this unusual and rewarding, well-acted, anything that pays, but is careful with his own heart
and not past his own dreams of love and lust for his roommate Andrew, a dreamboat with one foot out of the closet. His realistic, subtle, beautifully photographed and provocative film.
Cure for Love
(Directed by Francine Pelletier and Christina Willing, 60 minutes, 2008, Canada)
Ana, both members of a Christian support group for those struggling with same-sex attraction, are tying the knot. Though not
ex-gays, they believe the marriage - which seems more like a friendship - will subsist on their love of God and their fondness
for each other.
well for them, but something smells odd. Brian - who still acknowleges his sexual attraction to men - moves higher up in the
ministry, becoming a popular speaker, all the while denouncing the urge to act upon same-sex desires. But neither does he
desire his wife.
the point at which one may wonder where this is going, the story forks off and begins to reveal two very different directions.
Two of their friends and fellow church members, Jonathan and Derren, question the soundness of the marriage, especially since
the couple seems more interested in gaming and hanging out as the expression of their sacred contract. The two men, meanwhile,
find harmony in accepting themselves as they are.
Cure for Love looks at honesty and self-awareness and the nature of relationships. To that end, one may wish its
subjects had first vowed to take a hard reality check.
Flight to Sinai ((Directed by Charlie Vaughn, 30 minutes, 2008, USA)
Give Me Your Hand (Donne-moie la main)
by Pascal-Alex Vincent, 80 minutes, France/Germany 2008, in French and Spanish with English subtitles)
handsome and close identical twins, set out on a road trip from France to Spain to
attend their mother’s funeral. Along the way there are trysts, rivalries,
sexual encounters, rifts and jealousy. Subtle and expressionistic, the film,
which evokes Wild Reeds, both conceals and reveals underlying tensions and emotions.
by Nicole Haeusser, 87 minutes, 2009, USA)
Joe Dallesandro was discovered by Andy Warhol. His extraordinary photogenic good
looks, physique and sexuality made him into an internationally iconic underground superstar.
Little Joe features extensive
interviews with Dallesandro (who is unpretentious and appreciative of what life has afforded him) and spans his 40-year career
appearing in films. Rare footage of his films (including much nudity) captures
his appeal while the current-day Dallesandro refreshingly puts his own life into perspective in this impressive documentary.
Making the Boys
(Directed by Crayton Robey, 90 minutes, 2008, USA)
The Boys in the Band
made history when it debuted off-Broadway in 1968 and was acclaimed as the first open (and controversial) depiction of the
gay lifestyle on the stage. A wildly successful worldwide hit, it was made into
a mainstream film version with the original cast not long after by pre-French Connection
and The Exorcist director William Friedkin.
Covering both the stage play and film version, and featuring interviews with Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, Michael Musto
and Carson Kressley among others, this entertaining and fascinating documentary also weaves rare archival film footage and
highlights the cultural perspective into which the play was introduced.
Pop Star on Ice
(Directed by David Barba and James Pellerito, 85 nminutes, 2009, USA)
and sometimes controversial Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir is the subject of this well-made documentary covering the full
arc of his career thus far. Beautiful skating sequences, lots of backstage drama,
a comprehensive non-judgmental perspective, intimate spontaneous moments and the difficulties of training for competitive
skating co-mingle with the question of the star’s sexuality and uncompromising passionate expression.