London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2009
Wednesday, April 1, highlights
Schedule and synopses from the LLGFF website
|Directed by:||Greta Schiller, Robert Rosenberg|
25 years ago this film felt like a revelation of a hidden gay history. Conventional wisdom had defined the modern movement for gay liberation from the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York, however, this film shows just how much activism and creativity haad been going on before 1969. A dazzling line-up of interviewees includes poets, writers, political organizers, dancers, actors who bear witness to a life before Stonewall, including Allen Ginsberg, Audre Lorde, Barbara Gittings, Harry Hay, Ann Bannon and many more.
The courage and bravery of those who dared to challenge the world has helped create the modern gay community. This is also a work of extraordinary archival research, finding footage which showed the undeniable existence of gay men and lesbians throughout the 20th century. Essential viewing for anyone who wants to get a sense of our history.
The American Soldier
|Directed by:||Rainer Werner Fassbinder|
|Cast:||Karl Scheydt, Elga Sorbas, Jan George|
Arguably the strongest of Fassbinder’s early gangster films, The American Soldier is a witty, subversive take on the film noir genre, displaying many of the themes of loneliness and exploitation Fassbinder would develop throughout his prolific career.
Upon returning to Munich, Vietnam veteran Ricky (Karl Scheydt) is recruited as a hitman by a group of corrupt cops, intent of ridding the city of some of its trickiest criminals. Although when Ricky falls for a policeman’s girl, the plan starts to unravel. Loose and often surreal in its storytelling, Fassbinder presents a playful response to the crime thrillers of classic Hollywood, which could be viewed as either an homage or a parody of the genre. Despite the mischievous tone, the film has a devastating impact, culminating in one of the most powerful and extraordinary closing scenes ever seen in film.
|Directed by:||Monika Treut|
|Cast:||Inga Busch, Huan-Ru Ke, Ting-Ting Hu|
Fresh from its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival we’re delighted to present Monika Treut’s (Female Misbehaviour, Gendernauts) latest film as a Centrepiece to this year’s LLGFF. Ghosted is a mysterious love story set in Hamburg and the beautifully depicted Taipei, marking a return to narrative filmmaking for the director after almost a decade in documentary work. Through a mixture of flashback and present day storytelling we follow the Hamburg artist Sophie as she comes to terms with her Taiwanese lover Ai-Ling’s murder. To ease her grief she creates a video installation about Ai-Ling, travelling to Taipei to exhibit and dedicate it to her. There she meets ambitious and seductive journalist Mei-Li who is investigating Ai-Ling’s death, and whom the artist is immediately drawn to. Unable to forget her dead lover Sophie runs from the journalist’s advances back to Hamburg, but when Mei-Li turns up on her doorstep Sophie can no longer deny her attraction. She risks opening her heart up once more until she discovers Mei-Li isn’t all that she seems, and Sophie realises that you can’t run away from your past. Ghosted is an intimately shot film with excellent use of location shooting in both Hamburg and Taipei. Treut’s return to narrative film builds on an already impressive oeuvre, creating a modern love story that questions and explores the differences between eastern and western cultures. Emma Smart
The Image of Dorian Gray in the Yellow Press
|Directed by:||Ulrike Ottinger|
|Cast:||Delphine Seyrig, Tabea Blumenschein, Veruschka von Lehndorff|
Dorian Gray, young, rich, handsome and above all narcissistic, wiles away his days attending lectures, art exhibits and charity dinners. His life is lived out of the public eye until the cynical head of a media conglomerate decides to turn him into a celebrity in an unscrupulous ploy to boost newspaper sales. Dorian soon forgets his noble pursuits as he becomes front page news around the world. But can Dorian handle the power of celebrity or will it destroy him?
A more accessible film than her earlier Madame X, Dorian Gray boasts compelling performances from Ottinger regulars Seyrig and Blumenschein, but it is 1960s supermodel Veruschka von Lehndorff in impeccable drag as Dorian, who falls in love with Blumenschein’s opera singer, that gives this film its dyke credentials.