Out On Film makes America gay again
By STEVE WARREN
Last summer we celebrated the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. This summer we mourned the victims of Orlando’s Pulse massacre.
But on the brighter side, the Republican presidential candidate (Is this really happening or am I trapped in a bad movie?) threw a crumb to the LGBT community, even if he couldn’t pronounce it.
Whatever happens, some people have to make movies and just about all of us have to watch them. So Out On Film goes on, as it has for 29 years, trying to discover LGBT films and filmmakers before the mainstream does, and offering a queerer alternative to what’s on other screens.
The more assimilated we become, the less ghettoization there is, in cinema as well as real life. There are still films made by, for and about us; but most can be appreciated by wider audiences now that our secrets are as out as we are.
So why do we need a festival? I wonder that every year, until I start watching the films. Yes, there’s mainstream work out there that accepts and includes us; but these films are us. They bring up memories, happy or sad, of being bullied, of being out and proud; the pain of wanting someone you can’t have, the thrill of finding out you can have them and the letdown after you do. Loving and losing – or winning – aren’t exclusive to us, but sometimes the way we do it is special.
There are stories, real and fictional, that illustrate the steps we’ve been through on our journeys and remind us that others are still going through the process, which can be just as painful in this more enlightened age. The courage of our predecessors can empower and inspire us as they have others.
Festival director (and Georgia Voice contributor) Jim Farmer has assembled a bumper crop of more than 110 feature films, documentaries, short films and web series, in hopes of topping last year’s record attendance.
Out On Film 29 runs Sept. 29 - Oct. 6 at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. For complete festival information, including special guests, special events and updates, and to buy tickets, visit www.outonfilm.org. For more detailed versions of my reviews, go to www.thegavoice.com. STRIKE A POSE (***) Sept. 29, 7 p.m.
In 1990, Madonna hired seven young men as dancers for her “Blond Ambition” tour. One of them was even straight, though you’d never guess which! Madonna doesn’t participate but “Strike a Pose” offers a different look at the great men behind a great woman, updating the dancers’ stories. SUMMERTIME (***) Sept. 30, 7:25 p.m.
In 1971, Delphine (Izïa Higelin) is content on her family’s farm until her local girlfriend marries a man. Delphine moves to Paris and falls in love with bisexual Carole (Cécile De France). But when her family needs her, Delphine is torn between love and duty in this romantic, sexy drama. FAIR HAVEN (***) Sept. 30, 9:20 p.m.
James (Michael Grant, excellent) returns home from conversion therapy to his family’s Vermont apple orchard, but wants to leave his widowed dad (Tom Wopat), his old boyfriend and the preacher’s daughter to go to music school in Boston. The film’s
September 16, 2016
WHERE ARE YOU GOING, HABIBI? (** 1/2) Oct. 1, 11 a.m.
Ibo (Cem Alkan) can’t get a good job because of German prejudice against his Turkish descent, so he works in a gay sex shop. He befriends Ali (Martin Walde), a homophobic (but flexible – but how flexible?) criminal. There’s a lot that’s hard to believe here, but I enjoyed it. AWOL (***) Oct. 1, 11:40 a.m.
This seemingly simple romantic lesbian melodrama is full of surprises. Joey (Lola Kirke) is joining the Army until she meets Rayna (Breeda Wool, a younger Uma Thurman), a hot, older blonde whose truckdrivin’ husband is away a lot. By and about women, “AWOL” kept this male reviewer emotionally involved. KIKI (** 1/2) Oct. 1, 9:30 p.m.
There’s a lot of fabulosity in terms of dance, wardrobe and attitude, in Sara Jordenö’s poorly assembled hodgepodge about New York’s current competitive ballroom scene. Enough individual stories of LGBT youth of color will stay with you to make “Kiki” worth seeing. THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (***) Oct. 1, 11 p.m.
“...a cock in a frock on a rock.” Drag queens Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce and transgender former drag queen Ter- THE QUEEN OF IRELAND (***) Oct. 2, 11:05 a.m.
Ireland beat the U.S. to marriage equality by a month – and by popular vote! This is that story, and the story of activist Panti Bliss, a.k.a. Rory O’Neill, a small town boy who became famous as “a giant cartoon woman” and helped persuade the country. You’re gonna love him! JONATHAN (** 1/2) Oct. 2, 11:10 a.m.; Oct. 6, 3:30 p.m.
“Jonathan” is a gay love story, but not the one you expect. Despite our hopes, the handsome title character (Jannis Niewöhner) is straight. He’s surprised to learn his dying father isn’t, when Dad’s old lover visits. Gay seniors who spent most of their lives in the closet will relate. POLITICAL ANIMALS (***) Oct. 2, 12:45 p.m.
The first four out politicians elected to statewide office in California, starting only 22 years ago, were all lesbians. This terrific look at Sheila James Kuehl, Carole Migden, Christine Kehoe and Jackie Goldberg studies their victories, their defeats and, most usefully, their strategies in fighting for our rights. FRONT COVER (***) Oct. 2, 2:50 p.m.
Closeted Chinese movie star Ning (James Chen) meets Chinese-American stylist Ryan