Viewed through the LGBT gaze
GAZE INTERNATIONAL LGBT FILM FESTIVAL Having scooped awards at Sundance, Berlin, and Edinburgh, there’s a huge buzz around Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country, a semi-autobiographical, Yorkshire-set Brokeback Mountain.
But if you can’t score tickets for that, you’re still spoiled for choice at the 25th Gaze LGBT Film Festival. With The 34th, directors Linda Cullen and Vanessa Gildea have fashioned an Irish version of The Case Against 8, a chronicle that begins with the KAL case (Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan) and ends with the historic yes vote on 22nd May 2015.
Other hot docs include Jeffrey Schwarz’ The Fabulous Allan Carr, Tristan Ferland Milewski’s bulges-ahoy cruise ship diary Dream Boat, and S Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons’ Out Run, a biographical portrait of Bemz Benedito, the leader of the world’s only LGBT political party who is striving to become the first transgender woman in the Philippine Congress.
We Love Queerama, Daisy Asquith’s exemplary collage spliced from 100 years of archive material on gay and lesbian lives, features such archaic questions as “What do lesbians actually do”’, equally archaic medical diagnoses (“I think the damage is very often done in childhood”) and the wry songs of John Grant.
Oscar-nominated director David France’s new film The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson probes the mysterious death of the titular trans and gay New York activist, whose body was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992. Eva Orner and Chris McKim’s Emmy-winning Out of Iraq recounts the wonderful true story of Nayyef Hrebid and Btoo Allami, two Iraqi soldiers who fell in love but were forced to part when Btoo became the target of an honour killing.
John Trengove’s The Wound is an affecting drama about a conflicted young South Africa of the Xhosa lineage.
There are welcome shades of The Wicker Man about The Dark Mile, in which a London lesbian couple (Rebecca Calder and Deirdre Mullins) embark on a sailing trip through the Scottish highlands, only to encounter pubs that fall silent when they enter, altars to the Celtic god Cernunnos, reticent locals, and a mysterious black barge. There’s a welcome opportunity to revisit Neil Jordan’s groundbreaking The Crying Game, which is also celebrating its silver anniversary.
The complexity of female sexuality and familial ties are variously explored in Hui-Chen Huang’s Small Talk, Uisenma Borchu’s Don’t Look at Me That Way, Lisa Gornick’s The Book of Gabrielle, and Helene Hegemann’s punkish teen drama Axolotl Overkill. Icons Alan Cumming, Touko Laaksonen, and Armistad Maupin are respectively represented by After Louie, Tom of Finland and The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin. For more, see gaze.ie.
Clockwise from above: The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson, After Louie, God’s Own Country and Out of Iraq