Tuesday 1 March 2011

London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival line up: Zombie porn and gigolas

The BFI has just released their program for this year's London Lesbian & Gay film festival which will take place from the 31st of March till 6th of Aril. Just like every other art institutions in the U.K., the BFI has had to suffer significant budget cuts. As a result, the LLGFF has been reduced to just a week. But it might not be such a night thing, and may even benefit from a shorter selection. 

I felt that the programmers have had to include some real duds over the years to, as there is just not enough quality gay films made every year to fill all of it slots within a fortnight. And 90% of them were usually autobiographic stories about coming out, touching, but done to death! Or microbudget, amateur rubbish that would never have been included in any festival were they not include two men kissing.

If anything, I find that many of the best gay films have been made by straight directors, possibly they might have been a little more objective about their subject. I'm thinking Prick up your ears by Stephen Frears, Maurice by James Ivory, Brokeback mountain by Ang Lee...

I have picked a handful which I recommend out of this year's line up:

Kaboom by Gregg Araki, with Thomas Dekker, Juno Temple, Roxanne Mesquida

I've already seen it at the London Film Fest last year and I absolutely loved it. While the subject matter, a crazy day in the fucked up life of a horned up student, made it sound like it was retreating to Nowhere territory, he still managed to make it seem entirely new and fresh. With a keen eye for visuals and eye candy, and his sharp script with killer one liners, this is a hedonistic and humorous celebration of sex and youth, that never takes itself seriously. It felt like Skins, but written by somebody with actual talent, and filmed by Roy Lichtenstein like some kind of cinematic pop object.

Gigola by Laure Charpentier, with Lou Doillon, Marisa Paredes, Marisa Berenson...

Intriguing, first of all I have learned a new word today, gigola! This story of a slightly masculine toy girl and her sugar mummies in 60's Paris oozes style, sophistication and sex. Even more intriguing is the presence in the casting of 70's arthouse favourite Marisa Berenson, and especially Pedro Almodovar mid 90's muses, the too rare Rossy de Palma and especially Marisa Paredes!

L.A. Zombie by Bruce LaBruce, with Francois Sagat

Fairy godmother of the queer punk cinema movement, Bruce LaBruce had perfected his art of blending gay porn and politics in his masterpiece The raspberry reich. The story of a revolutionary terrorist queer group led by formidable lesbian Gudrun, this film ranks among my favourite films of all times. However he took a sharp turn with his next film, Otto or up with dead people, about a twenty something gay zombie stumbling on porn shoots, which I did not see. I am all for sex and politics, I'm not sure gore and sex mix all that well. Well he is following that path further with L.A. Zombie, the experimental and silent tale of a gay zombie (Francois Sagat) who comes out of the ocean to fuck male cadavers back to life. I love the Dawn of the dead inspired poster, the trailer is shit, but I'll give it a chance.

L'homme au bain by Christophe Honore

Francois Sagat again, playing an object of desire in this meditative tale of lust and melancholy. Christophe Honore was responsible for the fantastic Jules et Jim polysexual update Les Chansons d'amour with French arthouse poster boy Louis Garrel, so I won't be missing this.

Les Amours imaginaires (Heartbeat) by Xavier Dolan

Proving that he is no one hit wonder, precocious Canadian director Xavier Dolan offers a well worn tale of a love triangle, and add his impeccable esthetic tastes and class to the mix. I saw this at the London Film Fest last year and I adored it. I still cannot believe how incredibly talented Xavier Dolan is at a mere 21, with a visual style that is like Wong Kar Wai meets Pedro Almodovar. A must see.

Unhappy Birthday by Mark Harriott & Mike Matthews

The great joy of film festivals is to see films before everybody else, and before they have been swallowed by a media frenzy. Little is know about this low budget British effort, except that the story of a couple stuck on a island with sinister traditions, makes me think of The wicker man with a queer twist.

I shall be reporting next month! Book at http://www.bfi.org.uk/llgff/

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