46th Annual Chicago International Film Festival LGBT Movie Preview
by Sawyer J. Lahr
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A little bit for everyone seems to be theme of the OUTRAGEOUS LGBT category at this year’s 46th Chicago International Film Festival. There are no heavy hitting queer films like A Single Man from 2009, but here is a preview of what’s ahead:
Rabbit Hole, directed by James Cameron Mitchell, from the David Lindsay-Abaire Pultzer-Prize Winning play should be anything but the ordinary story of parents grieving the loss of a deceased child. It’s said to be funny. Nicole Kidman (Birth, Australia) and Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking, Dark Knight) star.
From Hong Kong is a Brokeback Mountain-like story with a tagline reminiscent of the famous words “I wish I could quit you” reinterpreted in Amphetamine as “There is no way to quit a fateful love.’ This is the third film from Chinese director Scud (nickname) who explored gay male love and intolerance in City Without Baseball (2008) and Permanent Residence (2008). While sexuality plays a role in Scud’s films, he addresses Chinese male identity in an oppressive country more than he does romance. Scud’s films began as slightly long-winded coming-of-age tales that have evolved from amateur ambition to rich cinematography and more economical story-telling. His latest, Amphetamine, promises enrapturing romance with a dark cautionary tale of a violent hate crime.
Brimming to the top of the documentary category is the biographical film, Candy Darling, AKA Andy Warhol Superstar. James Rasin gives an adoring yet unforgiving portrait of Candy in her letters and diaries, narrated by Cloe Sevigny. Drawing on pre-recorded interviews with Hollywood and Broadway stars of the 60s, the story of the transgendered fame monster, as Lady Gaga would call it today, was a glib wannabe before American Idol made unknowns known.
Postcard to Daddy promises to be the kind of personal documentary that reclaims the past by reliving it. Through conversations with family and friends, some will likely confuse and others chart the course of recovery from sexual abuse. With hope, director/subject Michael Stock’s personality will lighten the load.
This next foreign title doesn’t even have a trailer or website in English yet, but from the French trailer and synopsis, Family Tree is a family drama. What secret is confessed that disturbs the whole family waits to be seen, but it has something to do with sexual difference.
Family drama continues in Loose Cannons. An upper-class Italian family of conservative entrepreneurs comes loose when the son, Tommaso, resigns from his position in the pasta business and comes-out. Unwilling to accept surrender, his brother and a rivaling business family are determined to turn around the aspiring writer’s plans.
For 80 Days looks akin to last year’s Hannah Free. This Spanish unrequited love story appears to follow a timeline of flashbacks and then rude awakenings in the present. There as few stories about lesbian women over fifty as there are places to see a film about it, and For 80 Days promises not to disappoint.
Besides being the name of a straight strip club in Battle Creek, Michigan, Heartbeats comes off as a Won Kar-Wai mood piece, but its story awaits to seen. The basics are two best friends are pursuing the same Adonis male, meaning there must be more to him than meets the eye. Emerging French-Canadian director, Xavier Dolan, also costars with Monia Chokri as the love-struck friends. It looks like the lovers will be caught in slow motion fantasy, smoking and love-making most of the time.
Sasha is one of those always popular coming-of-age films, which is easily the most redundant genre of LGBT-themed cinema. It claims to be a “twist” on the convention, but it will have to prove as much even with its inter-generational love story. If the Spanish films Undertow, Leo’s Room, and Plan B are any indication of innovating the coming-out story, let’s hope Sasha is what it says it is.
Unlike his bisexual musical film Love Songs, Christophe Honore’s Man at Bath, says nothing much about the story except that a butch gay dude, Emmanuel, played by French porn star Francois Sagat, tries to avenge his break-up by touring the Paris erotic scene.
Sawyer J. Lahr is Chief Editor of the forthcoming online publication, Go Over the Rainbow. He also writes a monthly film column for Mindful Metropolis, a conscious living magazine in Chicago, IL.
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