This year’s Melbourne Queer Film Festival is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever, with a stellar line-up of international and local queer cinema. Head to the organisation’s website — www.mqff.com.au — to download the full program and book your tickets.

ABSENT
Argentina 87min

Catch the Australian premiere of Marco Berger’s new film Absent. Likely to be another hit with MQFF crowds, Berger’s film Plan B was voted most popular feature at the 2010 festival.

In Absent, 16-year-old Martin is on the swim team, but he seems more interested in checking out his fellow students in various states of undress in the locker room than in practising his freestyle.

His voyeuristic eye focuses on the coach, Sebastián. As an excuse to get closer to his teacher, Martin fakes an injury, which requires a trip to the hospital. Given the all-clear, Martin is driven home by Sebastián, but no one’s there and he’s left his keys with a mate.

Sebastián does not want to bring Martin to his home — it’s inappropriate to have a student there, plus his girlfriend wants to come over — but he’s left with no choice, and the two journey to the teacher’s apartment.

SCREENS TUE MARCH 20, 6.15pm ACMI

AUGUST
USA 110min

Emotions run high when Jonathan receives a message that his ex, Troy (Australian Murray Bartlett), is back in town after living in Barcelona for years.

A blast from the past becomes a passionate current affair, but things aren’t so simple, as Jonathan is happily partnered now with his new love, Raul, and wounds are still raw from the former partners’ sudden parting.

Not to be mistaken for your run-of-the-mill love-triangle, what ensues is a complex negotiation of the many aspects of love, comfort and compatibility.

SCREENS: SAT March 17 6pm ACMI Cinemas
SCREENS: SAT March 24 8.15pm ACMI Cinemas

BREAK MY FALL
UK 102min

Liza and Sally are bandmates and lovers in a relationship that is enduring a slow painful death, made worse by their unstable lifestyle.

Their equally fucked-up best mates, straight rent boy Vin, and Jamie, who is seeking his gay soulmate, add to the drama of drug-taking, drunken sex and constant fighting. Sally has hopes for a future in music and endures nights at a dead-end job, as she tries to ignore the chaos that surrounds her.

Things begin to fall apart in the lead-up to Liza’s 25th birthday. After a failed celebration dinner, the four friends are plunged into an emotional meltdown at an illegal rave, where their lives will never be the same.

Director Kanchi Wichmann uses her London location and lo-fi visual style to great effect, and a single-take sex scene which is both passionate and brutal marks her as a talent to watch.

SCREENS: Fri March 16 6pm ACMI Cinemas
SCREENS: Thu March 22 6.30pm Greater Union

LEAVE IT ON THE FLOOR
USA 107min

Closing night film Leave It On The Floor will have you wanting to dance in the aisles.

Already a hit at queer film festivals around the world, the US film features dance pieces by Beyonce choreographer Frank Gatson Jr.

The film follows the story of Brad, who’s thrown out of home by his mother after she catches him looking at gay porn. It’s a story of rebellion, friendship and self-discovery. Think Paris is Burning meets Dreamgirls.

SCREENS: SUN MARC 0H 25 8.30pm ACMI

FOUR MORE YEARS
Sweden 87min

Four More Years is a funny and utterly charming romantic comedy set in the political world.

For years, David Holst has been hot favourite to become Sweden’s next prime minister. Handsome, married and seemingly confident, he appears to have all the necessary requirements to make a strong leader. However, after a surprise defeat, he is left to ponder another four years on the sidelines.

Down in the dumps, he drags himself from one dull meaningless political meeting to another. Then, when he suddenly falls in love with Martin, the biggest problem isn’t that he’s fallen in love with another man, but that Martin is a key member of the party that won the election!

Not only does David need to navigate a newly-found sexuality but to ask himself, should he give up his career, throw away his marriage and abandon his colleagues?

SCREENS TUE MARCH 20 8.30pm Greater Union

GOING DOWN IN LA LA LAND
USA 107min

Based on the laugh-out-loud novel by Andy Zeffer, Going Down in La La Land tells the story of young, hunky and ambitious Adam who has arrived in LA in pursuit of an acting career.

He eventually gets hooked up with a reception job at a porn production house by new and dubious friend Nick. Despite repeated offers from his slimy boss, he refuses to go in front of the camera. Until, of course, the bills mount up and he acquiesces, eventually getting caught up in a world of gay porn and prostitution, getting pimped out by his boss to a famous closeted TV star.

When Adam falls for the TV star, his dreams of an acting career and finding true love hang in the balance. Melbourne premiere.

WIN: We’re giving away five double passes to see the film. Click HERE to enter.

SCREENS: FRI March 16 6pm ACMI Cinemas

CLOUDBURST
Canada 93min

Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis plays Stella who’s lived with her partner, Dot (Oscar-winner Brenda Fricker), for more than 30 years in Maine, USA, but Dot’s granddaughter thinks the best place for her grandma is in a nursing home.

Tricked into signing over the house and forced to move into a home, Dot is busted out by Stella, and the two women decide to hightail it to Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal. Getting hitched is their last-gasp bid to stay together.

Along the way they pick up sexy hitchhiker Prentice, a small-town boy turned modern dancer, who’s returning to his Canadian town to visit his dying mother. Will this unorthodox ‘family’ make it across the border in one piece and realise their dreams?

SCREENS: Thurs March 15 7.30pm ACMI Cinemas

VITO
USA 93min

The studious MQFF selection panel has given documentary Vito the thumbs-up. The film charts the life of gay rights activist Vito Russo.

New York City’s answer to Harvey Milk, Russo devoted his life after the 1969 Stonewall riots to fighting for the rights of LGBT people and their positive representation in the media, especially films.

His landmark book The Celluloid Closet shone a light on how homosexuals have been portrayed by Hollywood since the earliest films, and is still influential today.

SCREENS: THU MARCH 22 6.15pm AMCI

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.