Thursday, November 16, 2006

9th annual Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival

I took off work last Thurs and Fri in order to attend the 9th annual Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, Nov 9-12. I look forward to it every year!

For information about the Rehoboth Film Society and a summary of all the films shown at the festival, go to

Here are the films Joe & I saw:

20 Centimeters. Enter the world of Marieta/Adolfo —a narcoleptic, pre-op transsexual prostitute who longs to get rid of the 20 centimeters of equipment that separates her from being the glamorous woman she longs to be. When she accidentally falls asleep, usually during the most inopportune moments, Marieta’s dreams become lavish and colorful musical numbers, where—as a “real woman”—she can sing in Spanish and English. This was very funny and very well done.

Shortbus, the story of a group of societal misfits who gather at a sex salon in New York. Every character in the film has some sort of sexual riddle to ponder: the sex therapist in search of her first orgasm, the gay couple wondering whether to open up their relationship to other partners, the larger than life dominatrix who can't stand the sound of her name and lives in a storage unit. This film was pretty graphic, but interesting - exactly what one might expect from an indy film festival.

Wild Tigers I Have Known. Logan is a 13 year old boy fixated on and older boy named Rodeo, the only one of the 'cool kids' who doesn’t go out of his way to make Logan’s life miserable. As Logan and Rodeo strike up a mismatched friendship, the kind that only works on walks deep into the forest when no one else is around, Logan’s infatuation with Rodeo inspires him to create a new persona named Leah. Leah and Rodeo grow close through whispered late-night phone calls, and when Leah agrees to meet Rodeo face to face, it is Logan who must finally prove that he can ask for what he so achingly wants. Although this film could have used much better editing, the story is all too familiar to most gay boys.

C.R.A.Z.Y. Zachary was born on Christmas Day, 1960, a fitting date for one destined for the road less traveled. His mom thinks her son has special powers but his father is not impressed. But can a sexually confused teenager survive four rough-and-tumble brothers and win the affection of his loving but old-fashioned father? Brimming with humor and bittersweet drama, C.R.A.Z.Y. is ultimately the triumphant story of a beautifully ordinary family, of parental love, and of the challenges of growing up different. This was mine and Joe's favorite film of the festival.

Puccini for Beginners. Allegra is a beautiful but commitment-phobic New Yorker in love with opera whose lesbian lover dumped her because she couldn’t settle down and say “I love you.” Then she meets Philip, a dapper professor who lights her fire. Against her better judgment, she launches an affair with him, while at the same time she falls into bed with the irresistibly gorgeous Grace, a recently single, straight woman. While juggling two romances that are advancing way too quickly for comfort, Allegra lands in hot water that boils over into an explosive, hilarious, and cathartic climax for all parties. We liked this film but I was a bit uncomfortable with the portrayal of Allegra's "fluid" sexuality, being simultaneously attracted to both men and women. I find this highly unusual, even for so-called bisexuals, who usually go through periods of preferring one gender over the other.

Go West follows the story of two young lovers, a Muslim cellist named Kenan, and a Serbian student named Milan. Kenan narrates their fight to survive amid the brutal inter-ethnic wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s. As Serb aggression persists in Sarajevo, to avoid questioning, Kenan dresses as a woman and poses as Milan’s wife. The two flee to Milan’s hometown where Kenan is introduced as Milan’s bride. Far from the comedy I thought this film would be, it was a heart-wrenching story that could very well be true.

Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds is the sequel to the hilarious 'Eating Out'. When Kyle and Marc have a breakup that doesn’t quite feel final, Marc goes off in search of other prey, while Kyle heads to art class where he meets the exquisite nude model for the day Troy. (Seeing Troy nude is well-worth the ticket price.) Only Kyle can’t quite figure out who Troy likes: boys or girls? After seeing posters for a campus ex-gay group, Kyle's faghag convinces him to pretend he’s an ex-gay to see if he can get into mixed-up Troy’s pants. This film was silly and collegiate, and absolutely hilarious!

10% Shorts, a collection of GLBT-themed short films containted the following:
ARIE - Arie tells the story of Vittorio, a professional dancer who breaks up with his girlfriend because he falls in love with Marco, the choreographer with whom he is working. Vittorio’s feelings are not reciprocated by Marco. Although now alone, Vittorio feels stronger for having discovered a new self-image. This had beautiful choreography and music.
Can You Take It? Waiting in the station for a train, a group of strangers is detained after a women reports her wallet is missing. Through the eyes of a teenage girl, social misconceptions unfold in this film-noir psychological drama. I thought the teenage cleptomaniac needed to be slapped, personally.
Man Seeking Man - A 50 year old man seeks love for the first time through a personal ad. His estranged son arrives for an unexpected visit and is mistaken for the man's 'date'. I loved this little short.
Available Men - An agent is supposed to meet and sign a writer at the same lounge where an artist is to meet a nerdy blind date. Unfortunately for them, the agent and the artist have the same name, and so do the writer and the blind date. Both sets of men struggle to make sense of the double-entendres. We both liked this clever short.
Mistaken Identity - An Indiana couple on vacation in Washington DC stumbles on a drag queen slapfest at the Gay Pride Festival and are arrested along with several others. Whisked off to jail with a full house of gay characters, they soon find that the differences that separate them can also bring them together. This was cute but a bit like an after-school special.
Hung - Unfortunately you can't judge a short by its title. With the help of a magic potion, five lesbian friends experience having a penis for a single day—sunrise to sunset. The day’s goal is clear, but the means are more difficult to come by as each puts her best foot forward to meet a special someone. This was cute but sort of stupid at the same time.
With What Shall I Wash? In this animated short, a transwoman ends her day reminiscing about her great love and about her life working in a red light district in Spain. I am not a fan of animated films, which would include this one.
Cosa Belle. Love and commitment is put to the test when the beautiful Belle—fed up with the games being played—gives her vivacious lover an ultimatum to win her heart. This film made you wait until the very end to find out why Belle had issue with her girlfriend. The film would have made much more sense if this were disclosed earlier.

El Calentito
Sara, a na├»ve, innocent virgin stumbles upon a wild world of rock and sex in this music-filled romp. She accidentally becomes a singer in an all-girl group at the underground nightclub El Calentito, owned by a sassy transsexual. The venue plays host to some of the hottest up-and-coming musical groups. In the politically conservative climate of the Franco regime, the club has become a safe haven for all forms of sexual expression: gay, bisexual and “try-anything” sexual. On the night of the group's scheduled debut, February 23,1981, an uprising occurs causing the government to collapse and a thrilling night of wild, uninhibited celebrations explodes, leaving the country of Spain in a tizzy. El Calentito is a raucous, high energy comedy that is out, loud and in your face. It’s an effervescent roller coaster ride that will definitely be nostalgic for those of us who fondly remember the 80s.

Drag Queen name of the day: Penny Wise

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