Coming Soon (were there trailers in years past?): Girls Rock! (this looks adorable and awesome -- the website says it's showing at the MFA July 31 ... which is a Thursday, dammit), A Jihad For Love (part of the festival, and I still do not feel compelled to see it)
The woman introducing the films mentioned that yes they're aware that they should probably change the name of the festival to something more inclusive which more accurately reflects the community, and the 25th annual next year seems a good time to do that, so if anyone has any clever name ideas let her lnow. Personally, I would settle for "GLBT Film Festival," which is what I've mostly been calling this, though I recognize that that's not inclusive of all identities and yadda yadda, but the tradeoff seems worth it for the simple clarity.  (It's also sort of weird to me that the festival is only one year younger than I am. 1984... that's pretty bold to have a Gay & Lesbian Film Festival then, with AIDS having so recently come out and all.)
Gay & Lesbian Film FestivalThis was a little too melodramatic for me, but I suppose that's kind of what it's billed as. It's actually a pilot for a tv show, which I hadn't realized.
Don't Go [IMDb]
Friday, May 9, 2008
Don't Go by Amber Sharp (2007, 60 min.). Melrose Place meets The L Word meets 227 in this intimate story of the lives and loves of a group of LA friends. Melody and Jaden (Guinevere Turner and Melange Lavonne) are a couple dealing with a surprise pregnancy; Jaden's friend, Bone (Skyler Cooper), has a potentially devastating secret; Shanti (Nisha Ganatra) struggles against her controlling family; Cindy (Janora Mcduffie) tries to balance work while caring for her mother; and Jess (Yaniv Moyal) still grieves the loss of his lover after five years.
Preceded by The Insomniacs (Kami Chisolm, 2007, 11 min.). Skyler Cooper seeks late-night comfort.Discussion with director follows screening. Co-presented by Queer Women of Color and Friends Boston (QWOC+ Boston) and The Roxbury Film Festival.
I thought of oyceter et al at the preponderance of characters of color. The only white main character is Guinevere Turner's character, and I think the only other white person we see is a couple minutes of the boring schmuck-y seeming guy that Deedra goes on a date with.
In that opening scene, I totally read Jaden and Bone as male -- gay, but male. I didn't realize Jaden was female until Bone called Melodie and said her girlfriend was "knocked up." I didn't realize Bone was female until Melodie said to Jaden, "Why is she always here?"
Seriously bold to include an intersex character.
I felt like Shanti was being set up a lesbian, but I hesitated when she was telling Cindy she wanted freedom and mentioned the freedom to choose her own husband. By the end of their conversation, though, she totally seemed to be into Cindy in a 'shippy way.
When Cindy's dad puts his hand on her, I thought of PenKnife's post about how men should be careful of their body language when interacting with women because they have a physical advantage and even when they're not intending to be threatening they can feel that way.
Cindy's father: "Let's get to know each other."
Cindy: "What if I don't want to get to know you? What if you leave again?"
My heart just about broke on that second line.
While I was sitting reading, a woman asked if the seats next to me were free and I turned and looked up and said yeah, and the woman asking was Sarah W-W! She had come with another Smithie (another Sarah, class of '06) and as she was standing she saw another Smithie a few rows back and they chatted a bit. In talking about area Smithies (she lives in Porter) she mentioned that Becca and Shawn are getting married.
Coming Soon: Girls Rock!, XXY (not part of the festival, but showing at the MFA later in May -- was already on my To See list, and the trailer still makes me wanna see it), The Curiosity of Chance (part of the festival; I had originally had no interest in seeing, but now I do -- which is unfortunate since it's a Sunday night)
Gay & Lesbian Film FestivalMistaken identity plotlines are so not my cuppa, but I enjoyed this.
Butch Jamie [IMDb]
Friday, May 9, 2008
Butch Jamie by Michelle Ehlen (2007, 84 min.). A quirky gender-bending comedy about an out-of-work lesbian actor willing to try almost anything for a role. Dressing up as "femme Jamie" for auditions, Jamie Klein (writer/director Michelle Ehlen) continually faces rejection. Frustrated and jealous of the success of her roommate's pet cat/actor, Jamie decides to audition as her true, butch self. When offered a male role, she reluctantly accepts, and begins passing as "male Jamie." The plot thickens as Jamie piques the interest of Jill, a sexy straight woman on the set. Co-presented by MadfFemmePride.
Jamie's deadpan with Howard (the cat) in those early scenes is great.
As soon as Jill asked Jamie where he went to college, you knew the answer was gonna be a women's college, so we were just waiting to hear which one it would be. Smith! Sarah and I kinda turned and grinned at each other. And then she mentioned the engineering program!!! I was literally chewing my fist at that point.
When Lola said that Howard was named for Howard the Duck, I thought of Eric.
After the "kiss me, you fool," I knew the film was gonna end with Jamie/Lola, but I don't quite buy it. (I am impressed at the way the movie got itself out of Jill/Jamie, though.)
I also said to Sarah, "This movie really was made for you, wasn't it?" (She studied German at Smith.)
After the kitchen kiss, Sarah said, "This really is a Smith movie, isn't it?"
Coming Soon: XXY, The Curiosity of Chance
Gay & Lesbian Film FestivalUm, I don't really have a lot to say about this. I was coming into it with basically no background, and a lot of it was just about art, but it was definitely interesting.
Black,White + Grey: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe [IMDb]
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Black, White + Grey: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe by James Crump (2007, 72 min.). Yale-educated and born into wealth, Sam Wagstaff's transformation from innovative museum curator to Robert Mapplethorpe's lover and patron is explored in Black, White + Gray. During the 1970s and '80s, the New York art scene was abuzz with a new spirit, and Mapplethorpe was at its center. Wagstaff pulled Mapplethorpe from his suburban Queens existence, gave him a camera, and brought him into his world, creating the artist whose infamous images provoked emotions ranging from awe to anger. In turn, Mapplethorpe introduced the starched-shirt Wagstaff to the world of drugs and gay S-and-M. Twenty-five years separated the lovers, but their symbiotic relationship endured throughout their lives.
One unrelated thing which I found interesting was noticing that there are things I have visceral emotional reactions to -- they talked about Wagstaff's background and how he was in the Navy because that's what all people of his generation and class did, and hearing the words "Normandy" and "D-Day" was like this tug at my gut, even though I have no particular interest in WWII.
When Patti Smith said, "Robert was also sick," I realized the two men had AIDS. The end of the film spoke briefly about how the art world was this very close community and so AIDS went through that community like a fire. They ran this whole list of people in the art world who died of AIDS, and while I recognized almost no names, I gasped a little at "Alvin Ailey (2002)."
Coming Soon: XXY, A Jihad for Love
Gay & Lesbian Film FestivalI wasn't a huge fan of Whatever Suits You. The technique of opening with shots of a suit and then having narration over images of someone cutting up and sewing together black cloth and ending with footage of a woman walking outside in a black dress is neat, but I wasn't really enjoying the narrator. "I can be more sympathetic and nurturing ... adapted to have a more feminine perspective ..." it reminded of of stuff we read in Queer Studies about men who transitioned to women generations ago and were all high femme and their personality totally shifted and that was the way the culture understood it then and I just like so much better the culture we live in now where being female doesn't have to mean being stereotypically feminine.
Red Without Blue [IMDb]
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Red Without Blue by Brooke Sebold, Benita Sills, and Todd Sills (2007, 76 min.). A groundbreaking portrayal of gender, identity, and the bond of twinship, this film follows a pair of identical twins as one transitions from male to female. We witness Mark and Claire Farley and their parents over a period of three years, exploring the Farleys' struggle to redefine their family. Preceded by Whatever Suits You by Ashley Altadonna (2006, 7 min.). A suit becomes a dress, a boy becomes a girl, and all is right with the world. Co-presented by Massachusetts Transgender Political Coaltion, GenderCrash, TransCEND, Tiffany Club of New England, and Truth Serum Productions.
So I was so very happy when the first shot we saw of the mtf in Red Without Blue she was sitting in a coffee shop or something wearing a regular shirt and pants, obviously having tits, blond hair about shoulder length, not heavily made up or super accessorized. Clearly female, but not hyper-feminine.
Early on, it was mentioned that the twins were born on March 7, 1983, and I boggled a little 'cause that means they're my age.
Clair to Mark: "If you want me to call you Oliver, you're gonna have to grow tits. I had to grow tits, and even then it still took a while for people to call me Clair."
Song played during the movie:
One day I'll grow up, I'll be a beautiful woman.The chronology shifts in the film were sometimes unclear. The mom says that she got a divorce when the twins were about 11, and in the next scene this woman says that when she was going through her own separation, Jenny (the mom) invited her to come live with her. Given the juxtaposition of the scenes, I thought they happened right around the same time, but later Jenny says that about six months after the divorce she fell in love with this guy Tom and that was all-consuming and she wasn't really paying attention to the twins and that's when they started really doing drugs, skipping class, etc. Anyway, in the bit with the other woman, Jenny says that she has relationships that can't be defined and yadda yadda and she says that they're really close friends ... and they sleep in the same bed ... but they're not gay. I and many of the other audience members laughed in that knowing kind of way, but part of me hesitates and thinks I'm being unfair, that of course people can have close relationships that are non-sexual ... and that even if they are sexual, they don't have to fit into broader cultural categories of sexuality.
One day I'll grow up, I'll be a beautiful girl.
But for today I am a child, for today I am a boy.
Ladd, this dorky guy who played Dungeons & Dragons, is now Rachel. I loved the two tranny girls in Missoula, Montana, going to Wal-Mart to stock up to go skeet shooting.
I felt like I was being told more than shown the evolution of the twins' relationship with each other (and also their parents coming to terms with Clair's transition -- Mark and Alex both coming out as liking boys appears to have been totally taken in stride; the mom apparently asked their kindergarten teacher if they were gay 'cause they seemed so feminine, and the teacher said no, you could always tell, and they weren't; the teacher was wrong) though I guess the showing is hard to really do in a documentary spanning long periods of time.
Oh, and they never coded as 'cesty, even with the frequent talk of them being so close and the mom actually saying, about how she insisted that the schools allow the twins to be in the same class, "What God had put together, no man should put asunder." I was kind of impressed.