Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Exposing a toxic leader x4

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

LLGFF excitement.4

My only encounter of intersex on film has been with XXY, a good film but with a promise of many downtrodden intersex characters and narratives to come. Orchids: My Intersex Adventure is refreshing in its presentation of its protagonist, Pheobe Hart (who also directs), who uses this documentary to address the scars of her adolescence.

Hart is a perceptive filmmaker and has managed the difficult task of creating a entertaining film from this very personal story. Unfortunately she does not widen the canvas of the film to include experiences of intersex adolescents today or any improvements that the health system may have made, but the title never suggests that this will be anything more than a look at one person's experience. Still, this is a fun but forgettable film despite its very interesting content.

Monday, March 26, 2012

LLGFF excitement frustration.3

Pariah is a beautiful and deserves to be celebrated for many reasons...but I cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of frustration with its UK distribution. It has none. 

Here is a film that equals anything I've seen over the last twelve months, it is a layered narrative of isolation with incredible performances (particularly from Adepero Oduye and Kim Wayans) and this is a feature film debut - Dee Rees is definitely a writer/director to watch. The film premiered at the Sundance Festival in 2011, it has been seen at the London Film Festival 2011 and was given a limited released in the US in December 2011 - so why can UK audiences only see this terrific film in a festival? 

Sure, this type of independent cinema with a queer narrative doesn't usually make money but it can do. Look at Weekend. And if you're talking about films with a coming out narrative, look at C.R.A.Z.Y. Or does the distribution of this film suffer from the narrative revolving around African-American characters? Surely this could be marketed at the audiences who have seen Precious, but that was an award winning film by the time it was released in the UK. Pariah has nothing other than its wonderful self. And like it's protagonist, audiences will eventually discover this gem.

To conclude, those people who claim that excellent films with queer content do not need queer-orientated festivals to be seen by audiences (cite films like A Single Man and The Kids Are Alright that have gone to various non-queer festivals and became box-office successes), it does and I hope that this continues to share the wealth of cinema that is being created about and by lesbian, gay and transgendered individuals.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My week through movies.

Feeling unstoppable.

Working with children.

Getting an emotional boost from a sister.

Applying for a job.

Doing some creative writing.

Visiting the boyfriend at work.

Planning for an event at work.

Wanting to be elsewhere.

Attending an event celebrating film.

Feeling liberated.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

LLGFF excitement.2

The reason why I am an advocate of festivals specific to a community or group is their function to reflect, challenge and engage with issues specific to them. After the disappointment of the Opening Night Gala, I was treated to a day filled with excitement. This involved a screening of a wonderful documentary; a chat with the first openly gay Bishop in the Anglican church; Latin American dancing; bumping into Brenda Fricker; and a panel discussion on transgender representation. The combination of these events/moments have made me feel incredibly giddy. And very inspired.

Love Free or Die is a documentary that follows Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop, and the effect his consecration has had on the Anglican community. As I grew up in a society where the Catholic church has a huge influence on the State and public opinion, this is a film that resonated with me deeply. The reaction of homosexual people to the church is usually to revolt against both the institution and the religion, Robinson distinguishes between the two and bravely stood against the convention of the institution to perform as he believes God wishes. It is figures like Robinson whose actions have confronted ignorance that are making a real change in society. This documentary, made by  Macky Alston, celebrates the man whilst highlighting the need to remove ignorance. It is a film that I will treasure, especially as I had the pleasure of meeting Robinson after the screening.

Then the day continued with a discussion on transgender representation with a panel of fascinating people (Paris Lees, Jason Barker, Jay Stuart...and a participant from My Transsexual Summer) who debated and discussed the current outlets for transgender narratives / characters in the media. There were aspects to celebrate (the empowering of the transgender community via YouTube), to improve (My Transsexual Summer) and to critique (the standard 'transition' narratives of transgender films). Thankfully there was a sense that something is changing. And the discussion ended with a determination to collaborate and create more diverse films within the UK. The creative energy was massive. I felt like we, as a group, could have conquered the world. 

We probably won't...but I believe, now more than ever, that the LLGFF is important in creating a platform to hear voices that would go otherwise unheard and to establish a sense of community with  lesbian, gay and transgender filmmakers. I can't wait for the week to continue.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"I think I understand your feelings on this book..."

I used to have some problems with it myself. When I read it in grad school, Madam Bovary just seemed like a fool. She marries the wrong man; makes one foolish mistake after another; but when I read it this time, I just fell in love with her. She's trapped! She has a choice: she can either accept a life of misery or she can struggle against it. And she chooses to struggle...She fails in the end, but there's something beautiful and even heroic in her rebellion. My professors would kill me for eve thinking this, but in her own strange way Emma Bovary is a's not the cheating. It's the hunger. The hunger for an alternative, and the refusal to accept a life of unhappiness.

Friday, March 23, 2012

LLGFF excitement disappointment.1

As I have done with the Cannes Film Festival for the past two years, I will be sharing my thoughts (usually ones of excitement) from the 26th BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival over the next few days...and I will be actually attending many of the events/screenings. Hoorah!
Unfortunately the week started with a bit of a disappointment in the form of Cloudburst. As this was the Opening Night Gala screening, my hopes were understandably high for the tale of two elderly women who go on a road trip to marry after spending 31 years together. I was wholly unimpressed.

As a rule I try to celebrate all, especially independently produced, films but it is difficult to comprehend why anyone would want to see a film that contains stereotypical characters (the plucky sidekick, the bigoted relative, the crazy-but-wise elder) and has no sense of purpose (where are these characters travelling to? What is developing through the narrative?). The technical aspects of the film are equally poor and often verge on destructive, most notably the shots are poorly constructed to create chaotic scenes (most spectacularly when Brenda Fricker falls from her bed). This is a film that cannot overcome the many flaws. And that is a shame as Olympia Dukakis and Fricker give solid performances, there are some good moments for comedy and there is great potential in the story of acknowledging a homosexual relationship with marriage.

Whilst the LLGFF is a great opportunity for gay, lesbian and transgender people to see narratives more akin to their life than the media 'norm', it is disappointing that we are not treated to more impressive work. Hopefully the content will improve over the week...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top of the class. Films I'd like to see converted into 3D.

In 2011 my cynicism about 3D began to fade. That doesn't mean that I am as supportive as, say, James Cameron or Martin Scorsese...but there is potential that 3D could be a powerful tool for filmmakers. I'm hoping that Baz Luhrmann will be the filmmaker to unleash the full power of 3D with the release of The Great Gatsby later this year. But I'm sure that it will take more experiments with the format (like Avatar and Hugo) before someone cracks it. Still, 3D is here to stay and with the upcoming releases of Jurassic Park and Titanic destined to dominate the box-office I thought it was about time that I compiled of list of films that I would like to see converted into the 3D format. Even if 3D doesn't enhance any of these 10 films, I'd still be happy to see them return to my local cinema.

10. Raiders of the Lost Ark 
Why 3D? This is an enduring piece of entertainment that can only benefit from a 3D conversion (right?). 
Key moment: The boulder.

9. Fantasia
Why 3D? There are plans for many Disney 3D conversions over the next two years but this is the one that I'm eagerly hoping for. It was Walt Disney's ambition to make big, visual narratives to accompany a collection of classical music - Doesn't 3D sound like the perfect format for his dream to become a reality?
Key moment: The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Or Dance of Hours.
8. Alien
Why 3D? The claustrophobic environment of Alien may benefit from a 3D conversion and the alien will become even more frightening.
Key moment: any moment with the alien on screen, I'm not sure I can cope with the fear of seeing that face in 3D.

7. The English Patient
Why 3D? The Oscar winning film that seems to be forgotten, The English Patient is a sweeping epic that deserves to be remembered alongside Gone With the Wind, The African Queen and Out of Africa (and I'm sure it will be). 3D can only increase the epic nature of the storytelling, and that can't be a bad thing. 
Key moment: The sequence where Hana (Juliette Binoche) is brought to her local chapel and introduced to the frescoes.
6. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Why 3D? I want to see the titular character in 3D. Simple as. 
Key moment: The bike ride.

5. The Shining
Why 3D? I wonder what Stanley Kubrick would have thought of 3D and I wonder which of his films (if any) he would put through the 3D conversion? 2001 A Space Odyssey would probably seem like the more obvious choice but The Shining derives its success through the use of space, something that 3D would enhance.
Key moment: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
4. Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Why 3D? There are many reasons why the whole of the original Star Wars trilogy should be converted into 3D but it will probably be this one that will benefit the most from the conversion. The main reason for this is the locations - Hoth, Dagobah and Cloud City would all greatly benefit from a 3D conversion. And...
Key moment: ...that final duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker would look incredible.

3. Fight Club
Why 3D? A basic (and presumably insulting) take on Fight Club is as an action film for male adults nostalgic for their adolescence. But the action is a revolt against the attitude and behaviour found in modern society toward, making the joy of fighting all the more potent. 3D would only enhance this joy, making this film even more powerful.
Key moment: The ending. 

2. Moulin Rouge!
Why 3D? This is a film that caused headaches without the addition of 3D yet it is a film that enthralls the viewer into its world of freedom, truth, beauty and love (and I am a believer that 3D engages the audience). This could be wonderful.
Key moment: The can-can.

1. Blade Runner
Why 3D? The strength of 3D is in the presentation of space, and this is something that would bring new life to the world of Blade Runner. It's already visually stunning and 3D would only enhance this, creating a more detailed and (dare I say it) more realistic environment.
Key moment: Zhora's death.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My week through movies.

Finding a dog.

Standing up for myself and making my boss speechless at work.

Feeling a sense of dread.

Receiving a prep talk from mother.

Hunting for jobs.

Joining a group.

Meeting the boyfriend after work with a relaxing evening ahead.

Being supported by colleagues.

Having a discussion on film.

Receiving a surprise letter.

Welcoming a surprising guest.

Traveling by bus.

Feeling an overpowering sense of determination.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

6 ways to celebrate...the 62nd birthday of Howard Ashman

  1. Watch any of the three films written/produced/scored by Howard Ashman. And make sure they are subtitled so you can sing-along!
  2. Give the Walt Disney Animation Studios a new lease of life.
  3. Provide Ellen Greene with one massively iconic role.
  4. Give a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul.
  5. Listen to this cut song from Aladdin, 'Proud of Your Boy' and imagine what could have been...
  6. Be the guardian angel of Disney Animation alongside Walt Disney.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top of the class. How to leave your job.

So it may be apparent that my job scenario is a concern right now. Thankfully I have cinema to escape to...and it also helps me to dream. Unfortunately none of the below are viable options in my reality but they can fun to think about nonetheless.

10. Fight Club
Persuade (or force) your boss into making you an "outside consultant" by beating yourself up with the aim of framing him/her.
Downside: You'd have to be open to self harm.

9. The Stepford Wives
Undertake a controversial project that causes someone to attempt to shoot you and make your boss fire you. You will suffer a mental breakdown and move to the suburbs where you'll be neighbours with Bette Midler and Glenn Close.
Downside: Mental breakdowns aren't fun.

8. American Beauty
Write an offensive letter to your boss, attempt to blackmail him/her for one year's salary with benefits and then attempt to accuse him/her of sexual harassment if he/she doesn't do as you wish.
Downside: A pretty grim way to end any relationship.
7. Working Girl
Tell a sleazy guy who wants to bed you "I'm hungry but not that hungry" and pour champagne all over him. Then go back to your job and get revenge on the individual who suggested that meeting would progress your career.
Downside: Champagne should only be involved in leaving a job when used to drink.
6. Two Weeks Notice
Fight over a stapler.
Downside: It may seem petty.
5. Burn After Reading
Be completely surprised by a demotion in the workplace and ask, as John Malkovich does, "What the fuck are you talking about?" and "Whose ass didn't I kiss?"
Downside: Going home to your wife (Tilda Swinton) who will not be happy.
4. Jerry Maguire
Preach about manners before leaving your office with a goldfish and Renee Zellweger.
Downside: Zellweger turns into the Oscar hungry monster seen in Cold Mountain.
3. Bridget Jones's Diary
Sleep with your boss then tell him/her you'd rather be "wiping Saddam Hussein's arse" than work with him/her.
Downside: Sleeping with your boss is not always as desirable as is depicted here.

2. The Help
Make and give a chocolate pie with a very special ingredient.
Downside: This would definitely get you in trouble.
1. The Apartment
Refuse your boss's wishes to use your apartment for his/her extramarital affair and get the girl/boy you've been chasing. 
Downside: None (other than being unemployed).

UPDATE: How could I forget Rebecca where Joan Fontaine leaves her job as a personal assistant to marry Laurence Olivier and live in Manderley. That is definitely the best way to leave your job. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Julianne Moore crying x4