Aluízio Abranches' Do Começo ao Fim / From Beginning to End, Donatella Maiorca's Viola di mare / Purple Sea, Steve Balderson's Stuck!, and the two short film showcases “Queerer Than Fiction” and “Flesh 4 Fantasy” are among the presentations at Outfest 2010, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, on Friday, July 9.
Starring João Gabriel Vasconcellos and Rafael Cardoso as two super-hunky half-brothers involved in an idealized romantic relationship, From Beginning to End opened in Brazil in late 2009, where it has done well in the arthouse circuit despite wildly mixed reviews and a number of complaints that the film lacks dramatic cohesion. Also in the cast: Júlia Lemmertz, Lucas Cotrin, Gabriel Kaufmann, Fábio Assunção, and veteran Louise Cardoso.
Featuring Isabella Ragonese and Valeria Solarino, Purple Sea (“The Sea Purple” on the IMDb) tells the story of a lesbian love affair in rabidly patriarchal 19th-century Sicily. Also in the cast: the excellent Ennio Fantastichini.
Stuck! is described as a tongue-in-cheek homage to 1950s prison dramas. If it's half as good as either John Cromwell's Caged or Renato Castellani's Nella città l'inferno / …and the Wild, Wild Women, it should definitely be worth a look. Starina Johnson stars as the wrongly imprisoned Daisy. John Waters' regular Mink Stole is one of her cellmates, while veteran Karen Black is the woman who helped send poor Daisy to the Big House.
Among the documentary short films featured in the “Queerer Than Fiction” program (for once the word “queer” is put to good use) are Steven Wilsey's At Night I was Beautiful, in which a young man recalls his days as a sex worker in New York City, and Jessica Sanders' George & Brad in Bed, in which the bedmates in question are Star Trek's George Takei and spouse Brad Altman.
The “Flesh 4 Fantasy” narrative short compilation features James Franco's The Feast of Stephen, winner of the Berlin Film Festival's Teddy Award for best gay-themed short; Gui Ashcar's Professor Godoy, about a Brazilian high-school teacher (Roney Facchini) whose uneventful life takes a radical turn after a handsome student (Kauê Telloli) raises a mathematical challenge; and Jamie Travis' The Armoire, which received a Special Mention in the Best Canadian Film category at the Toronto Film Festival.
Outfest 2010, Friday, July 9. Synopses from the Outfest website:
From Beginning to End
From their playful childhood through their coming of age, Brazilian half-brothers Francisco and Thomás have always shared a special bond. As young men, their tempestuous relationship is often complicated by family drama and their individual ambitions, building to an uninhibited display of affection. Tastefully embracing taboos usually reserved for fetish films, FROM BEGINNING TO END is an oddly moving tribute to brotherly love.
Nothing - not her father nor the church - can stop unruly Angela from being with her childhood best friend turned great love, Sara, in this gripping tale of devotion. Based on a true story and beautifully photographed on the rocky shores of Sicily, PURPLE SEA (VIOLA DI MARE) presents a uniquely engaging portrait of family, community and gender roles in a 19th century Italian village.
Beautiful young Daisy feels stuck working as a shopgirl by day and caring for her ailing mother by night. A suicide gone wrong leaves Daisy wrongly imprisoned, while the neighbor (Karen Black) whose testimony put her away struggles with guilt. A colorful cast of sexy cellmates (including Mink Stole, Jane Wiedlin and Pleasant Gehman), a dominating prison guard and a mysterious warden keep things interesting for Daisy in this tongue-in-cheek homage to 1950s women-in-prison films.
Queerer Than Fiction: Documentary Shorts
Real talk, everybody: the most important thing in life is to be true to yourself. Here's a program dedicated to individuals who know exactly who they are, or at least who they want to be. It's the same if you're a hustler, a girl with a crush, a leather daddy or even George Takei: honesty is always the best policy.
Flesh for Fantasy: Shorts
This irresistible group of bold films is sure to arouse your interest - among other things. Double agents and shifting loyalties are everywhere, especially the bedroom. A student seduces his teacher while two boys explore a dark secret. Pretty soon “no” means “yes” up is down and wrong is very, very right. Not even the buddy system can help you now.
JC Calciano's Is It Just Me? (top); Nicole Conn's Elena Undone (middle).
JC Calciano's Is It Just Me?, Anna Margarita Albelo's Hooters!, Roberto Moreira's Paulista, and Nicole Conn's Elena Undone are some of the films screening at Outfest 2010 on Friday, July 16.
Is It Just Me? is a West Hollywood-set romantic comedy that borrows plot elements from Cyrano de Bergerac: Blaine (Nicholas Downs) falls in love with Xander (David Loren) after chatting with him online. The glitch is that the profile picture Blaine saw was that of Xander's hunky roommate Cameron (Adam Huss).
Hooters! is a documentary about the making of Cheryl Dunye's The Owls, screened last weekend at Outfest.
In Paulista, an actress (Sílvia Lourenço), a lawyer (Maria Clara Spinelli), and an author (Fábio Herford) look for love in the streets of bustling São Paulo.
Elena Undone revolves around the difficult relationship between a pastor's wife (Necar Zadegan) and a lesbian writer (Traci Dinwiddie). According to filmmaker Nicole Conn, the three-minute-and-twenty-four-second kiss between Zadegan and Dinwiddie is the longest ever in a feature film.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the previous recordholder was a liplock between Jane Wyman and Regis Toomey in the 1941 comedy You're in the Army Now.
(Not that I want to be a smooch spoiler, but according to one website, Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai's kiss in the 1933 Hindi-language movie Karma lasted all of four minutes.)
Also on Friday, Kareem Mortimer's Children of God.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Outfest website.
Manuel Vignau, Lucas Ferraro in Marco Berger's Plan B (top); Fernanda Cardoso's Bloomington (bottom)
Synopses from the Outfest website for Saturday, July 10.
Best-laid plans are put to the test in this topsy-turvy romantic comedy from Argentina. After being dumped by Anna, Bruno secretly befriends Anna's new boyfriend Pablo in an attempt to stay close to her. When Bruno discovers that Pablo once dated a man, he decides to use his own sex appeal to seduce Pablo away from Anna, but balancing Anna's booty calls with his fast-moving friendship with Pablo leads to an unexpected personal dilemma.
Growing up is hard to do. For Sasha, an awkward Montenegrin-German teen, the everyday pangs of adolescence - nosy immigrant family, tedious piano practice, unsatisfied “girlfriend” - don't stop there. He must also contend with his budding homosexuality and unbridled attraction to his piano teacher. What starts as an innocent crush culminates in a complete family makeover in this nimble, poignant comedy about coming out and coming home.
Children of God
The lives of several Bahamians intersect in this politically and religiously charged drama. After being abused by a local gang in Nassau, a gay white student takes refuge on a smaller island where he meets a gay black schoolmate whose family is pressuring him to marry. Also on the island is Lena, a political activist sternly opposed to homosexuality, who has left her husband - an outspoken preacher who has his own personal demons. What they each learn will change them forever.
To escape the routine of their city lives, two young lovers, Johann and Robin, embark on a mini road-trip on bikes to explore the mysteries of the deep woods and their own personal boundaries. Writer-director Jan Krüger beautifully captures the infinity of the unique landscape and the boys' awkward, sometimes painful and erotic moments of self-discovery. On their spellbinding tour, the boys face many challenges that force them to question what they believe and make intimate decisions that reveal new truths.
Things don't go quite as planned for Jackie, a former child television star, when she heads off to college seeking a “normal” life…and ends up dating her sexy young professor, Lillian. Their relationship heats up and stays strong despite Lillian's reputation for loving-and-leaving her female students, but problems arise when Jackie's acting career kicks back into gear. BLOOMINGTON is a coming-of-age romantic drama that will make you hot for teacher!
Mercedes Quintero, Lucas Ferraro, Manuel Vignau in Marco Berger's Plan B (top); Johnny Ferro, Stephen Tyrone Williams in Kareem Mortimer's Children of God (bottom)
Marco Berger's Plan B, Susan Koch's The Other City, Dennis Todorovic's Sasha, Andy Blubaugh's The Adults in the Room, and Kareem Mortimer's Children of God are some of the highlights at Outfest 2010, the 28th edition of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, on Saturday, July 10.
In the Argentinean romantic-triangle-of-sorts Plan B, a young man (Manuel Vignau) dumped by his girlfriend (Mercedes Quintero) not only befriends the young woman's new boyfriend (Lucas Ferraro), but also attempts to seduce him. Note: This may sound like a comedy, but it ain't.
Set in the capital of the United States, The Other City shows a side of Washington D.C. you don't usually get to see in the news – one in which AIDS plays a devastating role. According to publicity for Susan Koch's documentary, Washington's rate of HIV infection rivals that of some African nations. Even so, the US government chooses to look the other way.
The screening of The Other City will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Koch and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, on whose Washington Post stories the film is based.
Sasha is a family comedy-drama revolving around the coming out and the coming of age of a young Montenegrin-German (Sascha Kekez) whose beloved piano teacher (Tim Bergmann) is leaving town for good.
In The Adults in the Room 29-year-old filmmaker Andy Blubaugh uses “vérité footage and scripted scenes” to show his love affair (at age 15) with a man twice his age. Calvin McCarthy plays Blubaugh in the reenactments.
Children of God mixes anti-gay prejudice, an interethnic relationship, and religious-based bigotry – all within a Bahamian setting: On the island of Eleuthera, a young (suicidal) white gay man (Johnny Ferro) meets up with a black gay teacher (Stephen Tyrone Williams) whose family wants him to get married. On the same island is an anti-gay political activist (Margaret Laurena Kemp), whose former husband is an outspoken preacher.
Jane Lynch (top); “Boy Shorts”: Juan Chappa, Martin Deus' Amor crudo / Raw Love (bottom)
More Outfest 2010 highlights on Saturday, July 10: Clay Liford's Earthling, Jan Krüger's Ruckenwind / Light Gradient, Fernanda Cardoso's Bloomington, the “Boys Shorts” and “Cherry Bombs” short compilations, and “A Conversation with Jane Lynch.”
In the sci-fi/thriller Earthling, a schoolteacher (lots of teachers in those Outfest movies) – played by Rebecca Spence – finds out there's more to her student/girlfriend than she could possibly have imagined. “A film for anyone who ever felt like they were on the wrong planet,” explains the Outfest website. Sounds like a must-see.
In Light Gradient, “two young lovers, Johann and Robin [Sebastian Schlecht, Eric Golub], embark on a mini road-trip on bikes to explore the mysteries of the deep woods and their own personal boundaries.” That little road trip will lead to a new awareness about themselves and their relationship.
Bloomington has a former child star falling for her college professor (one more teacher). Complications arise when the actress/student is offered new acting opportunities. In the cast: Allison McAtee, Sarah Stouffer, Katherine Ann McGregor, Erika Heidewald, and Chelsea Marie Rogers.
Glee's Jane Lynch will be present on Saturday for a chat about her life and career.
For more information/to buy tickets, visit the Outfest website.
Maxine Peake in James Kent's The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (top); Alicia Silverstone, Clueless (bottom).
James Kent's The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, Amy Heckerling's 1995 sleeper hit Clueless, Myriam Aziza's La robe du soir / The Evening Dress, and the comedy shorts compilation “From Uranus to Titicaca” are some of the offerings at Outfest 2010, the 28th edition of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. The festival is headquartered at the Directors Guild in West Hollywood.
The made-for-British-TV The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister tells the story of a woman who defies 19th-century English conventions to have scandalous affairs with two other women. Maxine Peake stars as Anne Lister. Also in the cast: Anna Madeley, Susan Lynch, Gemma Jones, and Michael Culkin.
In Clueless, a reworking of Jane Austen's Emma, Alicia Silverstone plays a pampered Beverly Hills high-school student in dire need of a new set of values. Also in the cast: Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Dan Hedaya, and Jeremy Sisto.
The Evening Dress features a 12-year-old tomboy (Alba Gaia Bellugi) who falls for her sexy schoolteacher, played by veteran pop singer/actress Lio.
Among the comedy shorts found in “From Uranus to Titicaca” is Lauren Palmigiano, Mike Rose, and Liz Feldman's A Gaythering Storm, a parody of the National Organization for Marriage's 2009 anti-gay marriage PSA that features Alicia Silverstone, Lance Bass, Jane Lynch, George Takei, and others.
Steve Callahan, Matthew Montgomery in Rob Williams' Role/Play (top); Joe Wilson's Out in Silence (middle); Julia Kots' Nothing Happened (bottom)
More at Outfest 2010 on Saturday, July 11: Rob Williams' Role/Play, Jake Yuzna's Open, Joe Wilson's Out in Silence, and the shorts program “Cherchez la Femme.”
Starring real-life partners Steve Callahan and Matthew Montgomery, Role/Play chronicles the emotional ups and downs of a recently outed soap opera actor (Callahan) and a recently divorced gay marriage activist (Montgomery) who meet at a Palm Springs resort.
Open is described as a movie that “blurs the borders of gender and sexuality.” In the film, two transgender women “alter their bodies to become a single Pandrogynous being,” while a young gay transman dates a “cisgender hipster.”
In the documentary Out in Silence: “The battle for gay rights hits small-town Oil City, Pa. when filmmaker Joe Wilson announces his same-sex marriage in the local newspaper. A woman whose gay teenage son is being abused at school reads the announcement and seeks help from Wilson.”
Among the shorts included in the “Cherchez la Femme” presentation is Julia Kots' Nothing Happened, in which girlfriends discuss sex, drugs, and dieting tips – but not one particular subject.
The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
Fans of Sarah Waters' (“Tipping the Velvet,” “Fingersmith”) period drama will adore this film based on the life and loves of Anne Lister. Set in 19th century England, this deeply engaging film follows the true story of the heiress and landowner who, in her courage to defy convention, became known as “the first modern lesbian.” Pieced together from Anne's encrypted, four-million-word diary, the film recounts her scandalous affairs with two women and the heartbreak over her one true love.
The Evening Dress
Like many of her male classmates, 12-year-old tomboy Juliette has a crush on Mrs. Solenska, a teacher distinguished by stylish attire and an uninhibited, provocative classroom demeanor. Juliette's fascination turns into all-consuming obsession, forcing revelations from both the girl and her teacher. A daring coming-of-age story, the film is elegantly commanded by director Myriam Aziza along with a fearless lead performance by young actor Alba Gaia Bellugi.
Filmmaker Rob Williams (MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY) returns to Outfest with this hot-button film starring Steve Callahan (EAST SIDE STORY) as a recently outed soap opera actor and Matthew Montgomery (PORNOGRAPHY: A THRILLER) as a recently divorced gay marriage activist. When their paths cross at a Palm Springs resort, they are forced to confront the price of fame and the fickle nature of celebrity within the gay community. Featuring David Pevsner and Jim Jay Bullock in fine supporting performances.
First-time feature director Jake Yuzna presents a beautifully shot, intense film that blurs the borders of gender and sexuality. As transwomen, Gene and Jay - inspired by artist Breyer P. Orridge (of Psychic TV fame) - alter their bodies to become a single Pandrogynous being. Syd, a young gay transman, deals with dating cisgender hipster Nick. OPEN is an uncommonly human and yet equally esoteric portrait of transgender men and women and the complexities of their relationships.
Lino Brocka's Macho Dancer (top); Deak Evgenikos, The Owls (middle); Dean Cain, Andrew Keegan, The Broken Hearts Club (bottom)
Monday at Outfest 2010:
Cheryl Dunye's The Owls is described as a mix of narrative thriller and documentary, featuring a quartet of middle-aged lesbians (Dunye among them) whose lives take a turn for the tragic when they befriend a much younger woman (Deak Evgenikos) who couldn't care less about older trailblazers.
“OWLs,” the Outfest site explains, is an acronym for “Old Wise Lesbians.” Cheryl Dunye, by the way, is the director of the 1986 cult classic The Watermelon Woman.
Featuring Ben Weber, Dean Cain, Timothy Olyphant, Zach Braff, Matt McGrath, and Andrew Keegan, Greg Berlanti's 2000 romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Club is set in West Hollywood, a place where boys play with both baseballs and with one another.
“Mastered from the sole surviving 35MM print of director Lino Brocka's original version, uncut and uncensored,” the 1988 cult classic Macho Dancer will be introduced by Brocka's nephew, Q. Allan Brocka. The film follows teenage sex workers in Manila's red light district. (Lino Brocka died in 1991 as a result of a road accident outside of Manila.)
Also on Monday, the shorts programs “Cherry Bombs,” “Boys Shorts,” and “Flesh 4 Fantasy.”
Synopses via & more information or to buy tickets at outfest.org.