As always, I am covering the London Lesbian and Gay film festival for the TLS and a couple of things I saw won’t be here for a while because they will have to wait until they actually appear in the paper – so all I will say about Greg Araki’s Kaboom! and the adaptation of Sarah Water’s The Night Watch i that they are very good. I won’t do tonight’s film Four-faced liar until tomorrow: I have already seen it once but was not especially in the mood for it at the time so want to consider my position a bit more.
Because of cuts, there are fewer films this year, and spread over a week rather than a fortnight; also, they’ve rationed the press tickets a bit which means that there is plenty I haven’t been able to see since far too broke to actually buy any tickets. On the other hand, that’s made for a rather less frenetic schedule and for getting more time to simply hang out with various friends like ephemerita and natalie_456 which has all been very pleasant and sometimes inspiring. But mostly, I’ve watched films.
Break My Fall
A very London film this one – two failed musicians make a terminal mess of their relationship in a spiral of jealousy and infidelity and intoxication. A lot of my friends liked this more than I did and much of my sense of why I didn’t entirely get on with it has to do with the extent to which it reminded me of far too many people I used to hang out with in the days when alcohol and dope made them more tolerable at the time than I would find them now. Sometimes movies are real enough to be consoling – this was real enough to be irritating- but it was certainly real and deserves credit for that. It’s a solid piece of work, made on almost no budget, and my irritation is all about me and hardly at all about the film.
A propos though, I had a conversation with people in the foyer and we were trying to decide what the collective noun for lesbians was. I favoured ‘crescendo’ which has its points, but Ephemerita went with ‘drama’ which seemed to have the consensus of the meeting.
Heartbeats Last year, Xavier Dolan’s I Killed My Mother was one of the highlights of my festival. His second feature, which he wrote, stars in and directed, for the second time, is not quite as amazing, but is very funny and poignant in its own way. A gay man and his best woman friend both fall for the same air-headed blond man and compete frenetically for his attention to a point that threatens their friendship and humiliates them both; he leaves and returns, and their good intentions of entirely despising him disappear in moments.
What I particularly liked about this was its sense that there is nothing especially sad or futile about the central relationship; Marie and Francis are clearly better off with each other than they would be with almost anyone else in their lives, but their relationship happens to be about stylishness and banter rather than about romance or sex. And good for them, I say.
Lost in the Crowd Suzi Graff’s excellent documentary about young transwomen and others on the streets of New York has little in it that is new and that matters hardly at all. A lot of parents throw their children away rather than cope with who they are; abandoned teenagers turn to whoring and theft and take a lot of drugs. Some of them survive and prosper, but most don’t; a high proportion of the people Graf interviewed were dead or disappeared by the time she finished the film.
LitC is wonderfully sad – Graff got interesting people to talk to her and many of their lives came to nothing except the fragments here. It is a campaigning angry film, but also a stunning memorial.
Gigola Directed and scripted by Laure Charpentier from her own novel about her early life, Gigola is an at once sardonic and sentimental account of the lost world of ‘garconnes’ dandy butches who lived on the margins of the criminal world. The protagonist is at once a whore for rich women and the pimp for a string of whores, some of whom she has brought into her orbit and trained to be more stylish. I liked the cheerful amorality, the sense of period and the glossiness; I was a bit less impressed by the psychologising – Gigola has been damaged by the older teacher who seduced her and cannot love, even when she sets out to have a child by a gangster friend.
Break the Habit What do you say about a gorgeous little farce except that it was gorgeous fun? A coke addict, the woman who reluctantly and distantly loves her, and a stunning amoral Hispanic woman have a body to dispose of and a large sum of money to steal. Part of the joy of it is that I saw a lot of what was coming and enjoyed the sense of anticipation…
And I get to The Owls and Hooters and realize that I need to leave the house and have more to say about them than I have time for. So, another post about them and tonight’s film in due course.