Queer cinema is on display this week in
Austin, as the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival
continues. Here are some highlights.
Director Jacques Nolot's Before I
Forget takes a physiological look at the impact of growing old,
when youth was your elixir. For Pierre, our 60-year-old protagonist,
who has worked as a male escort in Paris since his teens, growing old
leaves him uniquely vulnerable. Now the roles are reversed, and
Pierre pays boys for sex, but the old whore gives us a good story.
“We've been conditioned to disparage,
pity or entirely ignore older gay men from the moment we became a
community,” writes Richard Knight of the Chicago Film Critics
Association. “But Before I Forget refuses to go that
route by being tough, flinty and refreshing in its emotional honesty
– a great film with a tremendous performance from Nolot. C'est
Lucia Puenzo's XXY is the story of Alex. Raised a girl
her entire life she possesses both male and female sets of
reproductive organs. Now at puberty she is being asked to “choose”
her sex by her parents who have invited a plastic surgeon to discuss
the issue with her. Complications arise when Alex develops a crush
on Alvaro, the surgeon's teenage son. He also is suffering gender
identity issues. Alex's search for her true identity forces both
families to face their worst fears.
The film's powerful message of love
transcending sexuality is only heightened by its beautiful
backgrounds and dramatic visual style.
Director Yen Tan's Ciao is a
powerful film that speaks about the strength of love. When a man
dies, two men find each other as they correspond over the Internet to
discuss their loss. Lives are altered forever when the pair continue
AfterElton.com said Ciao was
“the best gay movie I've seen all year.”
Finally, director Tom Gustafson's
spellbinding gay musical fantasy Were The World Mine – a
feature length follow-up to his award-winning short film
Fairies and winner of Outfest's
Heineken Red Star Award for
Outstanding U.S. Dramatic Feature – should not be missed.
Timothy is elated when his eccentric
teacher casts him as mischievous Puck in a school production of A
Midsummer Night's Dream. Timothy, a social outcast in a
homophobic community, loves Jonathon. Soon he discovers a potion
that allows him to turn his town gay and make Jonathon love him.
What happens when he reluctantly gives up his control over the town?
Audiences at Outfest, Los Angele's gay
& lesbian film festival, roared to their feet at the conclusion
of Were The World Mine. And that, from a small budget movie,
is worth an award.
On the net: Austin Gay & Lesbian
International Film Festival at www.agliff.bside.com/2008
Gay Entertainment Report is a feature
of On Top Magazine and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.