The Queer Screen Film Festival is coming soon. Here are our top pics of the September festival:
A film by Gus Van Sant
Made for $25,000, the 1986 debut film from Gus Van Sant, MALA NOCHE, tells the story of Walt, a convenience store worker in the rough end of town. Walt likes Mexican boys, and meets Johnny, a sexy migrant who speaks no English. He harbours not only sexual but romantic feelings for Johnny, but the immigrant distances himself from Walt’s lustful advances. Dejected, Walt initiates a mutually beneficial relationship with Johnny’s friend, swapping money for sex, while secretly longing for Johnny. The film progresses from there into an array of loosely defined relationships, unbalanced by age, language, race, sexuality, and money.
A film by Xavier Dolan
Winner of the 2012 Queer Palm and Best Actress (Un Certain Regard) award at the Cannes Film Festival, this is the third film from Xavier Dolan (I KILLED MY MOTHER, HEARTBEATS), the multi award-winning, 23-year-old French-Canadian director. LAURENCE ANYWAYS is an epic story of love in transformation between a woman named Fred and a transgender woman named Laurence.
Set in the early 90’s, Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) tells his girlfriend Fred (Suzanne Clément, I KILLED MY MOTHER) that he wants to become a woman. In spite of the odds and in spite of each other, they confront the prejudices of their friends, ignore the council of their families, and brave the phobias of the society they offend. For ten years, they try to live through this transition, and embark on a journey which, unbeknownst to them, may cost Fred and Laurence their love.
Shortbus is an engagingly funny, emotionally honest, joyfully romantic drama exploring the modern relationships of a group of New Yorkers.
Written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), this controversial cult classic from 2006 centred on a diverse ensemble cast. Sofia, a sex therapist who loves her husband but has never had an orgasm; Jamie, a former child star who loves everybody, “especially cute people”; his boyfriend James, a former hustler turned Jacuzzi lifeguard; and Severin, an acerbic dominatrix who, like most everyone else in the film, just wants to feel something. Together and separately, they converge on a weekly gathering called Shortbus, an underground salon “for the gifted and challenged”; a mad nexus of art, music, politics and carnal pleasure.
In tracing the physical and spiritual connections of this group in their 20s and 30s, Shortbus is a film full of sex – real people having actual sex – in various gender permutations. Mitchell’s aim was to make a thought-provoking, emotionally challenging and hopefully funny film that could also be sexually frank. As one character dryly notes in what must surely be thought of as the film’s signature line, “It’s just like the ‘60s, only with less hope.”
But I’m A Cheerleader
Megan is an all-American girl. She’s a cheerleader, she has a boyfriend, she thinks she is ‘normal’. But she doesn’t like kissing her boyfriend very much. And she’s pretty touchy with her cheerleader friends. Her parents and friends conclude that she must be gay and send her off to “sexual redirection” school, where she can learn to how to be straight. Will Megan be turned around to successful heterosexuality, or will she succumb to her love for the beautiful Graham?
An audience favourite when it screened at the 2001 Mardi Gras Film Festival, BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER is a hugely entertaining look at the terrifyingly real ‘ex-gay’ movement. Starring Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall as two teenage girls who fall in love through the power of cheer, CHEERLEADER also features RuPaul, Cathy Moriaty, Mink Stole and Michelle Williams in supporting roles.
Join us at the Newtown for a great night with this camp retrospective – pompoms optional!
In The Name Of
Winner of this year’s Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, IN THE NAME OF is a Polish film that centres on a priest who takes over a small parish in the middle of nowhere.
Father Adam organises a community centre for boys with troubled pasts, and so the locals soon accept him as one of their own. Everybody wants to be close to him, feeding off of his vitality and power, but no one knows he harbours his own secret. After meeting an eccentric and silent young man, a local pariah, Father Adams is forced to confront a long forgotten burden and passion. As the villagers’ worst suspicions are validated, Father Adam becomes the obvious enemy.
Summertime in France. At a cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake, Franck falls for Michel, but Michel has a regular hook-up at the lake. When Franck witnesses Michel killing his hook-up, he is shocked, but nonetheless his passion for this dangerous man overrides any sense of personal safety, and the two men begin an affair.
Whilst waiting for Michel to arrive at the lake each day, Franck befriends Henri, an older man, who doesn’t fit in with the ‘scene’. Their friendship is not based on sex, but on conversation and a shared observation of their world and situation.
As Franck and Michel’s liaisons continue with reckless abandonment, a policeman arrives at the lake after the body of Michel’s murdered hook-up washes up on the shore…
INFO: Queer Screen is running from Thursday, September 19 until Sunday, September 22. Check the Star Observer or queerscreen.org.au for more details.