Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando
FilmOut San Diego
FilmOut San Diego, the citys only Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Film Festival returns to Landmarks Ken Cinema April 19 for four days of features and shorts from around the globe. Heres a preview of festival events.
FilmOut's opening night feature Boy Culture
This years FilmOut will showcase thirteen features and twenty-five shorts. As with recent years, FilmOut 2007 has a distinctly international flavor with works from Spain, Germany, Canada, England, Austria and the United States. Plus a Saturday matinee Creature Feature and a Friday Night Horror flick.
The opening night film (which will be followed by an after-party at Top of the Park at Park Manor Suites) is Q. Allan Brockas Boy Culture . A young man introduces himself as X. He tells us that hes a hustler, but a high end one with an exclusive clientele of 12 that he refers to as his disciples. He explains that in a certain respect he considers himself a virgin because he never has sex outside of his job. Such reasoning recalls the kind of conundrum Hal Hartley raised when he presented a character in Amateur who was a nun that had never had sex yet considered herself a nymphomaniac. X narrates his life and takes us through the twists and turns of his relationships. He maintains an ironic humor and distance that keeps the tone appealing and engaging. Newcomer Derek Magyar makes an attractive feature film debut as X while veteran Patrick Bachau lends an air of maturity and wisdom to the proceedings. Brockas writing is sometimes calculated but its also often crisp and funny.
Boy Culture screens with the shorts Available Men and Feet of Clay.
On Friday, April 20, theres an afternoon screening of Gypo . Director Jan Dunn follows in the tradition of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. Dunn employs a handheld, naturalistic style as he chronicles the breakdown of a working class family. Helen (Pauline McLynn) and Paul (Paul McGann) have been married for more than two decades. Their daughter is a single mom living at home with them and hoping that her parents will take over the care of her infant child. Helen is aching to break free. She dabbles in adult art classes while her husband wallows in bitterness. Then enters Tasha (Chloe Sirene), a Romany Czech refugee seeking freedom of her own. Shes awaiting a British passport so that she can never be made to return to her abusive husband. Helen and Tasha develop a tentative friendship and then romance.
The film has a documentary feel as it observes its characters and records their stories. Dunn structures the film as three narratives with each reflecting a different characters perspective on events. The film bears the Dogme 95 label, which reflects Dunn stripped down aesthetic. The performances are raw and real with the biggest surprise being McLynn who some may remember as the hilarious and decrepit Mrs. Doyle from the BBC TV comedy Father Ted . Sirene is lovely as the damaged Tasha whos trying to rebuild a life in a foreign country. This program is co-sponsored by the San Diego Women Film Festival.
On Friday evening, ? Susanna Edwards Keillers Park from Germany screens. The film involves a businessman named Peter who is accused of murder. As the interrogation proceeds we fill in details of his life and his alleged crime. The film is shot and cut with energy and flair but the script plays out along somewhat predictable lines. Pjotr Giro stands out as the exotic romantic interest.
Just to prove that the festival is not just about high art and social consciousness, FilmOut hosts a campy morning of fun with its Saturday Creature Feature. Paying homage to the fifties horror flicks is Chris Dianis Creatures from the Pink Lagoon . Shot in black and white with what you could call monster pink-o-vision, the film focuses on a group of gay men gathering for a birthday party at a beach cottage. There are some deliberate stock characters: the sissy-ish Phillip (Nick Garrison); a hunky stud Billy (Vincent Kovar); a nerdy-closeted type Joseph (Evan Mosher); and a bitterly ironic queen named Randall (Philip D. Clarke). The party is soon disrupted by a horde of ravenous flesh-eating zombies. Diani blends B horror flicks and pre-Stonewall gay melodramas. The result is uneven but silly and fun. It plays with Attack of the Bride Monster , a stylized mix of live action and animation that pays homage to both romantic comedies and monster movies of the 50s.
Later on Saturday its a program with an Asian flair as Ray Yeungs feature Cut Sleeve Boys and Michael Mews Peking Turkey are paired up and co-presented by the San Diego Asian Film Festival. Cut Sleeve Boys begins with a funeral and uses it as a means of introducing us to Asian gay culture in Metropolitan London. The film boasts lively performances, some sharp dialogue and stylish visuals. Aptly paired with it is the sweetly funny Peking Turkey about a young man who wants to announce his gay marriage to his conservative Chinese parents over Thanksgiving dinner.
Also on Saturday is my favorite of the festival, Whispering Moon/Das flstern des mondes. The film begins with an interrogation that seems intense and potentially dangerous. Moving back and forth in time, Jannis relates how he and his mute boyfriend Patrick secretly joined a circus in order to shoot an undercover documentary exposing a political conspiracy involving poisonous frogs. The subject matter has a dark undertone yet the film as a whole is endlessly playful, surprisingly witty and visually inventive. Filmmaker Michael Satzinger blends a variety of media and narrative approaches to weave a story about telling a story. His characters adjust their story as it is playing out and asks us to ponder the very nature of storytelling and why we tell stories. One character suggests, Everyone wants to be deceived. And Satzinger's point in using new technology and media is to show how easily we can be deceived--how easy it is to alter images and make things appear different from what they really are. Whispering Moon will delight and dazzle. Make an effort to see this one because it may not play again in San Diego.
Aptly paired with Whispering Moon is the short Guy 101 . Employing a similar mix of media and reference to computers, Guy 101 weaves a funny then disturbing tale of a date gone wrong. The film maintains a dry tone and delivers humor with a scary undertone and a punchline that raises all sorts of questions.
On Sunday more traditional storytelling can be found in the lovely ?Loving Annabelle? by Katherine Brooks. The film echoes the mood and sentiment of Lost and Delirious , a FilmOut selection from a couple years back that also deal with lesbian love at a girls school. The story involves a Catholic School teacher, Simone Bradley (Diane Gaidry), who has an affair with a female student, Annabelle (Erin Kelly). The film is gracefully shot and delivered in a low-key manner. The performances are all fine and the film is well crafted.
Last year Spain contributed the festivals best film, 20 Centimeters , a bold , brash tale of a narcoleptic transsexual who has MGM style musical fantasies. This year Spain contributes El Calentito from Chus Gutierrez. Although I was unable to preview this film it does promise some of the same energy and flair that 20 Centimeters delivered. The film revolves around an innocent girl who enters a wild world of rock and sex at the underground nightclub El Calentito, owned by a sassy transsexual. The film is set during the birth of the La Movida movement in Spain, a time period that proved inspirational to directors such as Pedro Almodvar. The film is co-presented by the San Diego Latino Film Festival.
The closing night feature on Sunday is another film that I was unable to see in advance. The film is from Canada and called C.R.A.Z.Y. it is being touted as a wild ride through one Montreal boy's tumultuous teen life as he discovers himself. The film won ten Canadian Academy Awards and makes it's San Diego theatrical premiere at FilmOut.
Hopefully this preview conveys the diversity of films on display. That fits in with the festivals mission statement to enlighten, educate, and entertain the communities of San Diego County through the exhibition of LGBT-themed films. FilmOut San Diego seeks to recognize, promote, celebrate and support the important diverse artistic contributions LGBT filmmakers make to our community. For the full Festival Schedule and more ticket information, go to www.filmoutsandiego.com.
Lesbian Movie Guide
June 23, 2008 at 08:36 AM
Hey, Couldn't hold back. Just to say watched Gypo, Loved Gypo, watched it again and absolutely loved the film Gypo is an amazingly gentle lesbian movie
Beth Accomando from San Diego
June 23, 2008 at 03:39 PM
Yes it was filled with wonderful performances.