Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

[MFA GLBT] Wednesday 05/14/2008 & Saturday 05/17/2008

Waiting for the E Line at Park St. on Wednesday, there was a cluster of young folk, including a person of indeterminate gender, and I bet that they were going to the MFA gay film festival. As it turned out, they were tabling for one of the co-sponsoring organizations.

trailers: Girls Rock!, The Curiosity of Chance
Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Love My Life
6:30 pm
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Remis Auditorium

Love My Life by Koji Kawano (Japan, 2006, 96 min.). An upbeat, indie-rock-infused tale true to the youth culture of Japan. College girls Ichiko and Eri fall madly in love, but while Eri studies law to please her family, Ichiko just wants to be young and in love. When Ichiko decides to come out to her father, stunning family secrets are revealed. Japanese with English subtitles. Co-presented by Massachusetts Asians and Pacific Islanders for Health (MAP for Health), Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance, and Center for New Words.
This is apparently based on a manga. The presenter actually read a definition of "yuri" which included the word "fanfiction." Heh.

When the dad said that both he and Ichiko's mother were gay, I thought he was joking.

Allie said Ichiko's name means "Number One Daughter, First Daughter, Best Daughter."

Eri looks so much older than Ichiko, and I really don't know what she sees in Ichiko, but I was mostly able to just take as foundational that they're very into each other.

I think the film did a good job of balancing all the happy coincidences and everything with realistic tensions, so props for that. (Also, the women were very pretty.)

trailers: A Jihad for Love
Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
black./womyn.:conversations with lesbians of African descent
1:30 pm
Saturday, May 17, 2008

Remis Auditorium

black./womyn.:conversations with lesbians of African descent by Tiona M. (2008, 97 min.). Candid interviews with nearly fifty out, Black lesbians including poet/author Cheryl Clarke, filmmaker/activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons, poet/author Staceyann Chin, filmmaker Michelle Parkerson, and hip-hop duo KIN. Honest dialogue on such topics as religion and sexuality, marriage, media representation, discrimination and homophobia, gender identity, youth and elders, and what it means to call oneself a Black lesbian today. Discussion with director follows screening. Co-presented by Queer Women of Color and Friends Boston (QWOC+ Boston), Bayard Rustin Community Breakfast/AAC and The Roxbury Film Festival.
The film opened with a quote from Audre Lorde: "When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak." I like that a lot.

One woman said that the message she got from church manipulated that same principle of "God'll love you if you're a good slave" -- that there's some kind of self-hatred you have to commit to in order for God to love you.

Spike Lee's She Hate Me was criticized. Women repeatedly talked about the lack of any black lesbians (in media, though in "real life" as well I imagine) to see themselves reflected in and help them come to self-understanding. One woman said she saw Bound and so her model was Gina Gershon, because she didn't have any other images of lesbians. Another woman talked about how for a long time, the only black lesbians she saw were on Ricki Lake and she thought, "They're crazy," and, "I don't look like that," and so she felt like she must not really be a lesbian.

Staceyann Chin said she uses the word "lesbian" every chance she gets, so it's not so jarring, so it becomes just another word, like "tea." She talked about doing it, "For every lesbian in Jamaica who thinks, 'oh my god, there's more than one of me.' For every white girl in Minnesota who says, 'oh, I understand.'"

There was definitely some depressing stuff -- like the woman whose sister will tell her daughter to change from her skirt into pants, when the woman comes to visit, like she's going to inappropriately touch her niece just because she's a lesbian.

There was a section on labels, and I heard a bunch I'd never heard before -- including stud, soft-stud, femme-aggressive, sweatshirt femme, bi-queer.

Cheryl Clark said, "I should be able to make a domestic partnership or a family with my door neighbor if I want ... if we want to form a household and it's mutually beneficial." Most everyone else in the video was very assimilationist, very much wanting to be able to get married (though some commented that they wanted a new word given all the baggage of the word "marriage" -- which I thought was interesting given how many people are okay with "civil unions" but want to keep the word "marriage" just for opposite-sex couples), so I was glad to see some diversity of perspective/opinion.

One woman, who does nonprofit legal work or something, said earlier in the film, "I don't care if you don't have a pot to piss in, you need to draw up a will," to deal with the disposition of your body and stuff like that, plus taking care of issues like: if you're in a coma do you want to be kept on life support, can your partner come visit you in the hospital, etc.

People talked about how yeah you can have a public commitment ceremony, but when you can just walk away with no (legal) repercussions, it loses some of that power. And also, there's no divorce court if you do separate -- no mediator to divvy up assets and/or fault, no institutionalized process to provide you with closure. (I remember when I was writing a paper on same-sex marriage back in 2000/2001 and I came across that idea about how when you can't get married that means you can't get divorced, which I had never thought of before.)

More than one woman said that because of her religious background, she wouldn't feel comfortable having a church wedding herself, though she would attend other people's church weddings. In the Q&A, the director said it was very hard for her to include those bits, but that many people said those things and so she felt it was important to include them.


trailers: A Jihad for Love, The Curiosity of Chance
Youth Program
4:30 pm
Saturday, May 17, 2008

Remis Auditorium

Blueprint by Kirk Shannon-Butts (2007, 60 min.). Keith is a reserved, straitlaced New York City transplant; Nathan is a street-smart Brooklynite who lives on the edge—or so he'd like Keith to believe. At first glance, nothing about these two young African American college students suggests romantic compatibility. But despite a series of minor misadventures, a courtship gradually develops. An achingly observant, slow burn that is equal parts urban valentine and pastoral romance. Description adapted from Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. Co-sponsored by BAGLY.
For more information about this film, please visit the film site.

Co-presented by BAGLY, Boston Glass, Massachusetts Youth Pride, and The Roxbury Film Festival.

Actor Blake Young-Fountain will be present at screening.
I actually didn't like this film much at all. I constantly felt... not exactly distanced from the character, but that's the best phrasing I can come up with.

I think this exchange well sums up the two main characters, their different outlooks on life:
Keith: "There is no escape. Just life. I don't understand why some people make it so difficult."
Nathan: "Life is hard for some people."

I do love the poignancy of this:
Keith: "Why didn't I see you before?"
Nathan: "All that matters is that we see each other now."
Tags: film festivals: mfa: glbt, film: mfa, films: foreign: japanese, issues: race, issues: same-sex marriage, movies: watched

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