The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) has launched its 2018 program, which will present 85 sessions across nearly two weeks.
Program director Spiro Economopoulos believes every film and documentary in this year’s program is guaranteed to entertain, provoke discussion, and confront many aspects of queer culture.
Here are his top ten picks this year:
Becks (Sunday 25 March)
After moving her entire life to LA to be with her girlfriend, Becks devastatingly discovers that she has been replaced by someone younger and hotter.
“Elevated by a charismatic lead turn from Lena Hall who got her big break in the US stage production of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, Becks is a great movie that anchors its story about the ups and downs of the music scene in an intimate and messy family and relationship drama,” Economopoulos says.
The Feels (Friday 16 March and Tuesday 20 March)
In this racy, hilarious ensemble comedy, a group of friends gather for a weekend away to celebrate the impending wedding of Andy and Lu.
“The set up is familiar but the execution is hilarious,” Economopoulos says.
“A group of friends gather for a lesbian bachelorette party and things quickly get messy and confessional.
“Great performances from an ensemble cast that work beautifully together and a stand out performance from comedian Ever Mainard make for a super fun movie night. Mainard’s anecdote about her first orgasm is worth the price of admission alone.”
Al Berto (Friday 23 March)
The mysterious and handsome poet Al Berto arrives at the sleepy fishing village of Sines in Portugal at the height of the decedent disco era of the 1970s.
“The films enigmatic opening with the arrival of Al Berto into Portugal sets up it’s exhilarating story of a small community not prepared for the momentous social change that is about to hit them,” Economopoulos says.
“And then the disco…”
A Moment in the Reeds (Saturday 17 March and Saturday 24 March)
Mikko Makela’s stunning romantic drama explores the relationship between two men over one idyllic Finnish summer.
“Last year’s break out queer love story God’s Own Country comes to mind in this sensual and tender love story between a Syrian refugee and a shy young man who find each other during an idyllic Finnish summer,” Economopoulos says.
My Days of Mercy (Thursday 22 March and Saturday 24 March)
Ellen Page and Kate Mara star in this powerful and thought provoking drama as two women on opposing sides of the death penalty debate who meet and fall in love.
“Ellen Page has never been better in this powerful and moving drama that takes the divisive topic of the death penalty and puts an all too human face on it,” Economopoulos says.
“The films central love story between Page and Kate Mara is beautifully played out as these two women one opposite sides of the debate try and navigate a way forward through forgiveness, compassion, and love.”
The Misandrists (Saturday 17 March)
Set in an alternate history in Ger(wo)many in 1999, two young women, Hilde and Isolde, come across a wounded revolutionary who is running from the police and is seeking sanctuary.
“Sophia Coppola’s low key revision of The Beguiled is given a radical super-charged upgrade by Canadian provocateur Bruce LaBruce whose outrageously fun take delivers a radical feminist tale for our times,” Economopoulos says.
“The films closing credit montage of great feminists throughout the ages couldn’t be more timelier.”
Body Electric (Sunday 18 March)
23-year-old Elias works hard in a garment factory in São Paulo. His nights are spent aimlessly cruising the city’s gay bars looking for a connection or a quick sexual encounter. One night he is invited out by his co-workers and Elias finds in them a group of people he can really connect with.
“This vibrant, sensual celebration of work life versus leisure time is something we can all relate to,” Economopoulos says.
“This Brazilian drama hones in on our queer protagonist who struggles to balance his new work responsibilities with all the carnal pleasures that Brazilian nightlife has to offer.”
The City of the Future (Saturday 17 March)
In Brazil, young teacher Milla finds herself pregnant by her colleague Gilmar. Gilmar is in a relationship with Igor, but Milla asserts that the baby will belong to all three of them.
“Billed as the ‘city of the future’, Serra do Ramalho in Brazil was constructed in the ’70s in order to re-house thousands of people displaced due to a dam project,” Economopoulos says.
“This forced exodus plays against a gentle and quietly subversive love story of what it means to be young, queer, and a rainbow family in this modern world.”
Chavela (Saturday 17 March)
This rousing film tells the story of a cigar-smoking, tequila-downing rebel.
“This briliant documentary had them singing in the aisles at Frameline Film Festival when I saw it, going on to win the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary,” Economopoulos says,
“Mexican torch singer Chavela Vargas is many things: Almodovar’s muse, a cigar chomping tequila drinking rebel, breaker of gender stereotypes, lover to Ava Gardner and Frida Kahlo, but when she sings, she will melt your heart.”
The Gospel According to Andre (Monday 19 March and Sunday 25 March)
“Aside from being able to rock a caftan like nobody’s business, André Leon Talley is one of the most influential fashion tastemakers in America,” Economopoulos says.
“This engrossing documentary takes you from his humble beginnings growing up in a segregated North Carolina to the high glamour of the fashion world.
“Throughout Talley remains fabulous, quick witted company. The fashion is amazing but the the one liners are to die for.”
The Melbourne Queer Film Festival will run from Thursday 15 March to Monday 26 March. For more information and to buy tickets visit: www.mqff.com.au.