A trans woman, Deusimar (Yuri Yamamoto), runs a bar in what looks like a storage room, where her clients are a bunch of misfits including a man painted completely silver, a bearded Wonder Woman and a hoary old Spider-man, and her staff includes a man dressed as a rabbit. A stranger, Jarbas (Demick Lopes), comes into the bar, and soon starts an affair with Deusimar. She falls deeply for the sailor but in his wake the influences of the outside world come into this safe but unusual world, which increasingly threatens its existence. [Read more…]
Cinema, DVD and Blu-ray reviews
Director Jessica Champeaux looks into the world of lesbian parenting via artificial insemination in Belgium. This is mainly done via interviews with medical professionals, women who’ve decided to have children that way, and adults whose gay parents had them by artificial insemination.
It’s the last of those that’s the most interesting. Both the doctors and the parents largely let us know exactly what we’d expect to hear (at times parroting a party line that perhaps needs to be challenged a little more). However, the adult children are the voice that offers something new, expressing their confusion at the homophobia they experienced growing up because of their parents. They also talk about how they experience an oppression that is unique to them and can be quite acute – it’s not merely homophobia once removed as many would like to believe. [Read more…]
The Wound has proven intensely controversial in its native South Africa. Some among the country’s Xhosa people (including the ‘King’) objected to its portrayal of their manhood initiation ceremony, which they said was taboo to talk about (others said their objection was really about trying to quash the idea that there are gay Xhosa people). That resulted in the movie being banned. After a public outcry it was swiftly unbanned, but with a certificate that was usually reserved for pornography.
The film certainly isn’t porn, but the controversy has meant it’s remained in the public consciousness over there far longer than it probably would have otherwise. It’s one of the latest examples of the so-called Barbra Streisand effect, where calling attention to something in the hope of making it disappear has the unintended side effect of amplifying it, in this case internationally. That leaves the difficult job on the part of the reviewer of trying to extricate themselves from the cause celebre the movie has become from the movie itself – luckily in the case of The Wound the movie stands up on its own. [Read more…]
Back in 2010 we got the movie Uncle David, about a middle-aged man – the David (David Hoyle) of the title – going to the Isle Of Sheppey with his younger lover/protégé. Now we have the sequel, which has a similar set-up with David back in his Sheppey caravan with a different young person – the genderqueer Michelle. Again David is pontificating about what he sees as the social ills of the world, although as those who’ve seen the first film will know, he’s got his own secrets and may be more dangerous than he first appears.
Into the mix come the almost feral Max and his sister, who are struggling for survival. The sister takes an interest in David and Michelle, but Max is wary of them. That doesn’t stop him taking an interest in Michelle though. [Read more…]
Fire Island, located just off Long Island, New York, is a legendary part of gay history. It’s a place bound up in ideas of hedonism, sexual freedom/liberation and, some would say, debauchery, but perhaps more importantly its seen as a place where LGBT people have long been able to themselves in ways it was (particularly in the past) difficult to be anywhere else. It’s reached the status that for people who’ve never been there it’s almost mythic. Cherry Grove Stories is a documentary that helps to bring this spit of land back to earth, focussing on the Cherry Grove community and showing what it really was and is. [Read more…]
I have to admit Carmilla passed me by. There have been three seasons of the web series about a 330-year-old lesbian vampire woman who falls for a mortal and ends up fighting evil, but it wasn’t a show I’d ever heard of. However, the screening of The Carmilla Movie at BFI Flare showed me quite how remiss I’ve been, as the National Film Theatre was packed with ‘Cream Puffs’ (which is what fans of the show call themselves) who were rabidly excited for the movie, and went into true fangirling mode when Carmilla herself – aka actress Natasha Negovanlis – stepped onto the stage.
By the end of the film I was beginning to understand how Carmilla has managed to transcend its web series roots, build a loyal fanbase around the world and get turned into a movie. [Read more…]
For a nation with a population of just under 350,000 people, Iceland punches above its weight in the world of film. However, it’s always tended to be – as Rift director Erlingur Thoroddsen said in the Q&A following the BFI Flare Film Festival screening of his movie – straight, white Icelandic dudes making the films. Thankfully that looks likes it’s starting to change to include queer voices, with the recent coming-of-age movie, Heartstone, and now the horror-thriller, Rift.
Gunni has recently split it off with his long-term boyfriend, Einar, and has started seeing someone new. He receives a strange phone call in the middle of the night from a seemingly unstable Einar, who says he’s at his parents’ holiday property called Rökkur (Twilight). Afraid Einar is going to do something drastic, Gunni heads off to the remote house to make sure his former lover is okay. [Read more…]
Director Daisy Asquith’s mixture of archive footage and music is the sort of film that is likely to beguile and entrance some viewers while leaving others perplexed and a bit bored. That’s essentially the nature of the beast though, as there’s no traditional voiceover or simplistic signposting (barring a few title cards) in this journey through decades of queer footage from the BFI (British Film Institute). It’s done somewhat chronologically and somewhat thematically (more the latter than the former), with the whole thing held together by the music of John Grant, Goldfrapp, and Hercules And Love Affair.
At first it feels a little random, taking its time to get the audience accustomed to the way it cuts between its multiple sources, sometimes showing chunks of historic TV documentaries interspersed with footage of queer lives from films and shorts, or using music or a particular interview to thematically anchor what you’re seeing on screen. Through this it starts to build something surprisingly powerful, paying testament to both LGBTQ lives in Britain over the past century and celebrating (and sometimes reproaching) the way queer lives have been depicted on screen. [Read more…]
God bless young Jacob Tremblay. The Room and Book Of Henry star is impossibly cute, something that comes through even under the large amounts of makeup he has to wear for Wonder. Although it might seem a little creepy to be talking about a young boy’s cuteness, in this case it’s vital to the film, as Tremblay’s talents are so central to the movie. The makeup is potentially a real barrier for an actor though, and a tough one for somebody so young to overcome. Jacob does it though with aplomb.
Tremblay plays August ‘Auggie’ Pullman, who was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which has left him with significant facial deformities. He’s been home-schooled by his mother (Julia Roberts), but will be going to mainstream school for the first time when he joins the fifth grade. Auggie is a shy and sensitive child, very aware of how others treat him because he looks different. [Read more…]
Poor old Justice League. It’s a superhero team-up that fans have been waiting for decades for. When it was announced a couple of years ago it immediately sounded like it would be the biggest movie of 2018. However, following the lacklustre reception to the Warner/DC movies that led up to it (Wonder Woman excepted) and production problems including director Zack Snyder leaving due to personal problems and replacement Joss Whedon extensively retooling the movie only months before release, it certainly didn’t bode well. It also felt like Warner Bros. had slightly given up on it, or at least they failed to generate the sort of hype the movie needed, with a weak marketing campaign and little sense that this is what we’d all been waiting for.
As a result, it’s ended up as the lowest grossing of all the DCEU movies, behind even Suicide Squad. [Read more…]