GA Voice - - Front Page - By STEVE WAR­REN


This year’s se­lec­tion at Out on Film is out­stand­ing. I was re­peat­edly blown away by the qual­ity of many of the films I pre­viewed. I’ve been cov­er­ing LGBT fes­ti­vals for a long time, and I can re­mem­ber when a sit­u­a­tion like this year’s—“Love Is Strange” opened be­fore the fes­ti­val, “The Imi­ta­tion Game” wasn’t avail­able in time and Out on Film screened “To Be Takei” and “The Dog” prior to the fes­ti­val—would have left noth­ing but a few aw­ful rom-coms and a doc­u­men­tary about the LGBT move­ment in some coun­try or re­gion that is years or decades be­hind the U.S.

In­stead you’ve got at least three films that will be back at the Land­mark for a reg­u­lar run be­fore Thanks­giv­ing and sev­eral more that de­serve the­atri­cal runs but aren’t per­ceived as be­ing com­mer­cially vi­able.

In other words, you can see “Guardians of the Galaxy” again if that’s your thing, or you can see films made by peo­ple who didn’t have a bud­get for space- ships, car chases and ex­plo­sions; so they wrote about peo­ple, many of them peo­ple like you and/or me, and had ac­tors en­act their sto­ries. What a con­cept!

About a third of the fea­tures, slightly more than last year, are from other coun­tries. That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean they’re in for­eign lan­guages, just as films from the UK can have some Chi­nese di­a­logue (“Lilt­ing”) and those from Canada can have a lit­tle French (“Tru Love,” “Geron­tophilia”). Also rep­re­sented are Brazil (“The Way He Looks”), Is­rael (“Snails in the Rain”), Fin­land (“Open Up to Me”), Spain (“My Straight Son”), France (“East­ern Boys”), Ger­many (“Rosie”), Switzer­land (“The Cir­cle”) and the Nether­lands (“Boys”).

Many of the lunchtime shorts pro­grams are free as is a Sun­day fam­ily film, the 1974 TV ver­sion of Marlo Thomas’ “Free to Be... You and Me.” Shorts are usu­ally ex­cel­lent be­cause the fes­ti­val has more of them to choose from than fea­tures. They of­ten in­tro­duce up-and-com­ing tal­ent and of course they ap­peal to short at­ten­tion spans.

Be­sides watch­ing movies, there’s net­work­ing and so­cial­iz­ing, as well as eat­ing and drink­ing, at the Out on Film 27 Lounge, next door to the theater at Apres Diem. Direc­tors, ac­tors and oth­ers as­so­ci­ated with the films will be hold­ing Q&As almost ev­ery night and will prob­a­bly visit the lounge af­ter­ward. VIP passh­old­ers get spe­cial priv­i­leges there.

Above: ‘Boy Meets Girl’; Right: ‘Alex Mapa: Baby Daddy’; Be­low left: ‘Matt Shep­ard is a Friend of Mine’ (Pub­lic­ity pho­tos)

Here, in the or­der of their fes­ti­val show­ing, are mini-reviews of the films I pre­viewed.

BLACK­BIRD (Oct. 2, 7:15 p.m.) Choir­boy Ju­lian Walker re­sists com­ing out in high school in Pa­trik-Ian Polk’s drama that com­bines the el­e­ments of a lurid melo­drama into a sat­is­fy­ing en­ter­tain­ment. Mo’nique and Isa­iah Wash­ing­ton add mar­quee value as Walker’s par­ents.

EAST­ERN BOYS (Oct. 2, 9:20 p.m.) A train sta­tion pickup leads to a home in­va­sion by a gang of il­le­gal im­mi­grants, which may lead to ro­mance be­tween the mid­dle-aged French vic­tim and the young man used as bait. The drama is al­ways watch­able and the first half-hour is tech­ni­cally bril­liant. BORN TO FLY: ELIZ­ABTH STREB vs. GRAV­ITY (Oct. 3, 3:45 p.m.) Les­bian chore­og­ra­pher and rugged in­di­vid­u­al­ist El­iz­a­beth Streb gets the doc­u­men­tary treat­ment from Cather­ine Gund. Streb’s risky ac­ro­batic style isn’t my idea of dance but it’s vis­ually ex­cit­ing and she’s quite a character.

BOY MEETS GIRL (Oct. 3, 5:20 p.m.) Boy meets girl in the body of Michelle Hend­ley, who’s fab­u­lous in this de­light­ful sur­prise about a trans­gen­der teen in a small Ken­tucky town. The tone is mostly light with­out triv­i­al­iz­ing the sit­u­a­tions as the film pro­gresses from Trans­gen­der 101 into a post­grad­u­ate course.

TRU LOVE (Oct. 3, 7:10 p.m.) It’s an in­ter­est­ing twist when a 30-some­thing daugh­ter has to cope with her mother (Kate Trot-

ter, mem­o­rable) com­ing out as a les­bian, and while the drama is over­wrought and over­acted, it made me care about the char­ac­ters.

THE 10 YEAR PLAN (Oct. 3, 9:05 p.m.) Ro­man­tic Jack Turner and slutty Michael Adam Hamil­ton are best friends who agree at 25 to set­tle for each other if they haven’t found life mates in ten years. It’s pass­able en­ter­tain­ment for un­de­mand­ing gay view­ers but not es­pe­cially well done.

THE FOXY MERKINS (Oct. 4, 11 a.m.) New York new­bie Lisa Haas learns the art of be­ing a home­less hooker from Jackie Mon­a­han in Madeleine Ol­nek’s mildly dis­ap­point­ing sec­ond fea­ture that still has dry wit, dead­pan style and surreal sit­u­a­tions to keep the movie off-the-wall and the viewer off-guard.

DRUNK­TOWN’S FINEST (Oct. 4, 11:05 a.m.) Na­tive Americans are so un­der­served in film that three of them—one, Car­men Moore, who is trans­gen­der—have to rep­re­sent the en­tire Navajo na­tion in Syd­ney Free­land’s drama that gets bet­ter the more you think about it—and you can’t not think about it once you’ve seen it.

ALEC MAPA: BABY DADDY (Oct. 4, 7 p.m.) Un­less you have the parenting gene, you’ll pre­fer the gen­eral ma­te­rial of the first half of Mapa’s one-man stand-up show to the sec­ond half, fo­cused on the 5-year-old he and his hus­band adopted. It’s all good enough that I liked Mapa more at the end than I did go­ing in.

TIGER ORANGE (Oct. 4, 9 p.m.) Re­pressed Chet (Mark Strano) and ex­tro­verted Todd (Frankie Valenti, a.k.a. Johnny Haz­zard) are gay brothers who re­unite in their small home­town after their fa­ther’s death, in an en­gag­ingly sin­cere first fea­ture by Wade Gasque.

LIMITED PART­NER­SHIP (Oct. 5, 11 a.m.) A sto­ry­book ro­mance with two hand­some princes, this doc­u­men­tary cov­ers the 41-year love story of Tony Sul­li­van and Richard Adams, the first gay mar­ried cou­ple to chal­lenge Amer­ica’s im­mi­gra­tion laws, after the INS, in 1975, said “two fag­gots” couldn’t be mar­ried.

ROSIE (Oct. 5, 11:05 a.m.) A gay nov­el­ist is stuck car­ing for his sick, al­co­holic mother and takes sex­ual ad­van­tage of a smit­ten young fan in a well-made, nat­u­ral­is­tic Swiss drama about some un­happy, un­pleas­ant peo­ple. I ad­mired it with­out en­joy­ing it.

OUT IN THE NIGHT (Oct. 5, 12:35 p.m.) Four African-Amer­i­can les­bians were im­pris­oned, prob­a­bly un­justly, in 2006, for as­sault­ing a man who was sex­u­ally ag­gres­sive. Blair Dorosh-Walther lets us know them as peo­ple and pris­on­ers, rather than the sub­jects of me­dia ex­ploita­tion, in this ef­fec­tive doc­u­men­tary.

THE CIR­CLE (Oct. 5, 3 p.m.) Ping-pong­ing be­tween present-day in­ter­views and reen­act­ments of the past, Ste­fan Haupt tells the his­tory of Switzer­land’s first gay or­ga­ni­za­tion and the 50-years-plus love story of two men who met at one of their an­nual balls.

MATT SHEP­ARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE (Oct. 5, 5 p.m.) Re­view­ing what you know and adding some in­for­ma­tion you prob­a­bly don’t, the story of Matthew Shep­ard’s (1976-1998) brief life is told by friends and fam­ily mem­bers. There’s ar­guably TMI, but I wouldn’t blame you if you cried for the en­tire 89 min­utes.

THE WAY HE LOOKS (Oct. 5, 7:15 p.m.) Daniel Ribeiro must be Brazil’s John Hughes, the way he tells the tale of a blind teenager with over­pro­tec­tive par­ents who com­petes with his pla­tonic gal pal for the new boy in school. It’s com­pas­sion­ate (and sexy) with­out be­com­ing a pity party.

GERON­TOPHILIA (Oct. 5, 9:10 p.m.) Bruce LaBruce eroti­cizes wrin­kled flab the way other gay direc­tors do taut mus­cles in this ro­mance be­tween a teenage boy and an oc­to­ge­nar­ian nurs­ing home res­i­dent. It needed a big­ger bud­get to flesh out the story, but what there is is fine.

CRAZY BITCHES (Oct. 6, 7 p.m.) A dis­ap­point­ing sopho­more ef­fort for Jane Clark after last year’s “Meth Head,” this slasher movie has its mo­ments but doesn’t quite work as hor­ror or camp. Trans­gen­der ac­tress Can­dis Cayne has a great open­ing scene but it’s down­hill from there. Cathy DeBuono plays the to­ken les­bian among the po­ten­tial vic­tims.

L LILT­ING (Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.) De­spite mi­nor flaws that would only bother a critic, “Lilt­ing” is an in­cred­i­bly mov­ing drama about a Chi­nese woman (Pei-pei Cheng) adrift in London who doesn’t know her son is gay un­til he dies and she be­comes de­pen­dent on his “friend” (Ben Whishaw), who she never liked. QUEENS & COW­BOYS: A STRAIGHT YEAR ON THE GAY RODEO (Oct. 7, 7:25 p.m.) Matt Li­vadary’s doc­u­men­tary about the gay rodeo cir­cuit of­fers won­der­ful por­traits of some LGBT par­tic­i­pants but to­tally avoids any con­tro­versy about how rodeo an­i­mals are (mis) treated, which is disin­gen­u­ous if not dis­hon­est.

A AP­PRO­PRI­ATE BE­HAV­IOR (Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.) With her NYU grad­u­ate the­sis film, wri­ter­di­rec­tor-star De­siree Akha­van shows she’s r ready for prime time. She plays a semi-clos­ete ed, bi­sex­ual Ira­nian-Amer­i­can who has ro­man­tic ad­ven­tures and mis­ad­ven­tures in Brook­lyn while try­ing to win back her for­mer girl­friend.

THE LAST ONE (Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m.) The story of the Names Project Quilt, be­fore and after it moved to At­lanta in 2002, is doc­u­mented in some­what un­fo­cused fash­ion, but the film makes its point that the fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over.

CLUB KING (Oct. 8, 8 p.m.) This break­neck-paced doc­u­men­tary por­trait of club pro­moter Mario Diaz in­dulges his nar­cis­sism shame­lessly while show­ing how his par­ties brought sexy back to AIDS-rav­aged New York in the ‘90s and Los An­ge­les since 2001. I didn’t love it but I think Jon Bush has made ex­actly the movie he wanted to make.

BFFs (Oct. 9, 7:05 p.m.) Best friends fake a les­bian re­la­tion­ship to at­tend a cou­ples re­treat in an uncin­e­matic dram­edy that should have been a stage play. There’s con­sid­er­able sub­stance in the script Tara Kar­sian and An­drea Grano wrote to showcase their act­ing tal­ent, but it’s in the wrong medium.

EAT WITH ME (Oct. 9, 8:40 p.m.) Mom (Sharon Omi) goes to stay with her gay son (Teddy Chen Cul­ver), who’s run­ning an un­suc­cess­ful Chi­nese restau­rant, in a light dram­edy with a slop­pily writ­ten script but a cast that’s lik­able enough to make you en­joy it any­way.

Above: ‘Out in the Night’ (Pub­lic­ity photo)

Left: ‘Club King’; Above: ‘The Last One’ (Pub­lic­ity pho­tos)

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