Saturday, August 11, 2012

Frameline 2012

It was Pride in San Francisco two months ago, and it's about time that I reviewed the films that I went to see:

Kiss Me (Netflix link / IMDb link)

I started off the filmfest with this import from Sweden.  Most lesbian films that I have seen deal with one girl realizing that she is falling for another girl, and then dealing with the consequences of being a lesbian.  It happens to be the typical formula for lesbian films that I have seen.  Two of the better done lesbian films of this nature were Imagine Me and You and Saving Face, and Kiss Me will probably be considered third place in this group of three.

The acting, scenery, and camera work were all fantastic.  I'm also one that believes there must be some type of believable chemistry between the two women in order to have a good film to begin with, and for this film, there is definitely a believable chemistry.  The story was a little slow in spots and it felt like some things were happening without much reason or explanation.  I suppose that is what the director/writer was hoping to convey at times, or they just didn't have any other way of presenting it on film.

Overall, it was a pretty good for an independent film.

North Sea Texas (Netflix link / IMDb link)

I watched this movie right after watching Kiss Me, so I went from a Swedish movie to a Dutch movie, both with English subtitles. My lesbian friend who went with me to see Kiss Me did not want to stick around for this gay-themed film.  Every year, I seem to find one or two gay male films that looks interesting, and almost every year they really disappoint me.  I should have learned from my friend.

This film is about a young boy named Pim who seems to be coming into his own sexual identity.  His mom, a single woman who plays her accordion on the road at night clubs with her loser boyfriend, seems distant from his life.  Pim hangs out at the neighbor's house where the single mom there does a better job taking care of him than his own mom.  Pim falls for the older boy in that house, while the neighbor boy's younger sister falls for Pim.  Pim and the younger boy end up having sex, but the neighbor boy isn't so into being out about things, and starts dating a girl in a neighboring town.  It was basically a repeat of the same things over and over, and since I had a lot of things to do the following day, I skipped out of this movie early since it wasn't really doing anything for me.

Facing Mirrors (IMDb link)

Facing Mirrors was definitely my favorite movie this year.  Since this movie is from Iran, it was in Farsi, with English third foreign movie in a row.

In Facing Mirrors, female-born Eddie is being forced to marry a man by her father.  Eddie's not so keen on that idea since he's more into transitioning to be a man than marrying a man.  To get out of town, he jumps in a taxi driven by Rana, a woman illegally driving a cab to make ends meet.  While there were a few over the top moments, it still played out well and was very heart breaking in the end.

It's Complicated

This was a collection of shorts.  It seems like the good shorts are few and far between on many of the short film collections, but I'm still not sure if finding that one good one is worth viewing all of the bad ones.

Bye Bye Blondie (IMDb link)

While this movie looked very interesting on paper, the actual film really failed to deliver.  White collar Frances shows up in blue collar Gloria's neighborhood.  Frances asks her to come live with her for some unknown reason related to their youth when the two first connected.  There were some interesting parts, but there was never any chemistry between the 40-something actresses.  Their younger selves had more chemistry, but the story never really found good cohesiveness in the two timelines.

I Stand Corrected (IMDb link)

This movie was a documentary on jazz musician Jennifer Leitham.  I actually enjoyed this film quite a bit as we saw the life of Jennifer as she went through transition in the jazz world.  While there were some slow parts, it was a very interesting movie, not only about Jennifer, but about the jazz world in general.  There were a number of interviews with many famous musicians, but it was quite apparent that Jennifer has experienced discrimination in her post-transition career.  Jennifer was on hand for the event and spoke after the film concluded.

Transgender Tuesdays (IMDb link)

In this excellent documentary on the Tom Waddell Health Center, we see the many stories about a facility that helps out transgender people by providing health care and hormones.  In a world where many transgender people are discriminated against, the Tom Waddell Health Center has been a beacon of hope in the San Francisco transgender community.

Me @ the Zoo (Netflix link / IMDb link)

I will admit, when I first read about this movie, I thought "no way, I'm not going to see it."  After talking a friend into going to the film with me, we gave it a shot.  It actually turned out OK and was pretty interesting.

The film is about Chris Crocker, the androgynous young man who proclaimed to the Youtube world, "Leave Britney alone!"  Chris' life is a mixed bag as he struggles to find fame while also being a homebody with his grandparents.  At times, his grandparents steal the show, even in their very non-Chris Crocker manner.  Overall, this film turned out fairly well and was perhaps my underdog film of the Frameline.