Friday, November 09, 2012

Film Festival: day 2

Let My People Go!
Synopsis:  A Nordic gay couple seeks reconciliation after their fantasia existence implodes in Let My People Go! a kitschy romantic comedy fusing Jewish and gay cultures. Nebbishy Ruben lives with his pretty, blond boyfriend while delivering mail in small-town Finland. A money parcel mix-up ends in a lover’s quarrel, sending a tearful Ruben back to Paris and his devout but dysfunctional Jewish family. With Passover approaching, much melodrama ensues involving the ditzy matriarch, philandering father, ill-tempered brother and unhappily married sister. Making matters worse, Ruben must repel the advances of a closeted family friend and Jewish community elder, Maurice Goldberg. Lavish to behold, this absurdist comedy offers an inspired marriage of camp and farce that both celebrates and sends up gay and Jewish stereotypes in a deliciously perverse fairytale that milks laughter from every madcap situation.

My thoughts:  The terms "absurdist", "camp", "farce" and "madcap" in the synopsis above were all accurate, but the film was entertaining and I did chuckle several times.  Watch a trailer here

10% Shorts
1. Coffee & Pie:  In this self-proclaimed anti-romantic comedy, yet offbeat love story of sorts, a couple is breaking up. Manipulative June feels her moral superiority justifies the breakup.  October learns from seasoned waitress Billy-Jean, that revenge is a dish best served with pie. This sweet as pie short will be enjoyed by all.
2. Couples Therapy:  Each week, Vince and Daniel attend couples therapy, and each week they have something to talk about, and thus, each week Vince and Daniel attend couples therapy.
3. Fallen Comrade:  Two soldiers form an indelible bond in training camp, but when shipped to the Afghan front, one is forced to deal with the specter of his partner’s death when their unit is caught in an ambush.
4.  Flyer:  A street flyer leads to a surprising discovery in this black and white award-winning film from one of Canada’s favorite filmmakers.
5. Fresh Air Therapy:  Petra and Kerstin, a German couple, are spending another unpleasant session with their counselor when a power failure and natural body functions bring them closer together. Will they still need therapy?
6. Its a Boy:  It has been said that out of the mouth of babes can come some sage advice.  This short proves the adage correct, as three babies discuss their sexuality and debate if being gay, bi, or straight is a choice.
7. Its Not a Cowboy Movie:  Brokeback Mountain was aired on TV last night. Vincent watched it and has been completely shattered. He takes advantage of the recess to describe the film in a touching and naïve way to his classmate, Moussa. In the girls’ bathroom, Jessica, also deeply moved by the film, bombards her best friend Nadia with awkward questions about her gay father.
8. Silver Stiletto:  Two men are found dead in a dumpster outside of well-known gay bar and their wounds suggest a trained killer. Detective Alexis Morgan has a crazy theory. Could the disheveled Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz impersonator sitting in his interrogation room really be the murderer?
9. Tsuyako:  In postwar Japan, Tsuyako, a factory worker and mother, must decide between duty and love, her family and her freedom. A winner of over 50 top honors at international film festivals, Tsuyako is powerful, beautiful, and elegant. 

My thoughts:  I could have done without #4 and #6.  I liked all the others, and some were absolutely amazing, like #3 and #9!  All in all a very good collection of GLBT shorts.

In the Family
Synopsis:  In the town of Martin, Tennessee, Chip Hines, a precocious six year-old, has only known life with his two dads, Cody and Joey. And a good life it is. When Cody dies suddenly in a car accident, Joey and Chip struggle to find their footing again. Just as they begin to, Cody’s will reveals that he named his sister as Chip’s guardian. The years of Joey’s acceptance into the family unravel as Chip is taken away from him. In his now-solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are. Armed with their comfort and inspired by memories of Cody, Joey finds a path to peace with the family and becomes closer to his son. The director, Patrick Wang, allows the film’s ambitious length to patiently interweave flashback sequences that reveal the complex nature of Cody’s relationship with Joey, their relationship with Cody’s family, and Joey’s relationship to his orphaned past. Rarely has the nature of what it means to be in a family been examined with such rewarding nuance.

My thoughts:  This film's story couldn't have been more relevant after the recent marriage equality victories in several states earlier this week.  The film was very, very good but could have benefited from some editting since it was nearly 3 hours long.  But the film did a great job at showing what sometimes happens when emotions run high.  Sage advice can sometimes come from the most unlikely source.  Watch a trailer here.

Kiss Me
Synopsis:  Romance can unfold at the most inopportune moments, and that’s precisely what happens to hetero-inclined Mia and self-aware lesbian Frida, two 30-something career women who meet at a party celebrating the engagement of Frida’s mother and Mia’s father. While the two women’s status as future stepsisters is a formidable obstacle, not to mention Mia’s own engagement to a man, the two begin a passionate, emotional and erotic dialogue that leads to significant conflict between their loved ones and families. Their parents, in particular, must wrestle with the collision of the personal and political that their daughters’ evolving relationship creates. From the beginning, director
Alexandra-Therese Keining fashions an organic, nuanced viewpoint of Mia and Frida’s unfolding romance. Thanks to the intricacies that drive the plot, the resulting story arc wisely sidesteps clichéd melodrama and gains significant momentum via the actresses’ obvious chemistry and genuinely empathetic performances.

My thoughts:  I was slightly annoyed by the premise of this film.  A woman is engaged to marry a man she's lived with for 7 years then suddenly falls in love with another woman who is already in a relationship with a woman.  For some reason we are supposed to be sympathetic to these women who have just found 'new love' with each other, even though they both wind up destroying the relationships and lives of the others they're with.  I suppose its 'romantic' that their new love is so strong and engrossing that it makes them end their current relationships in order to be with their new love, but I guess I'm a little more old fashioned.  I think you should end a relationship before starting another one.  Watch a trailer here.

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