As the three generations of women meet for the weekend there are obviously some topics that are “forbidden”. ‘What ifs’ is right up there. Along with the perils of too much drinking, smoking and wallowing in grief and betrayal. And that’s just the mother. Daughter has issues aplenty too. But this is a ‘what if’ story, a wistful peek back, precipitated by the square photos lately developed from the grandmother Rose’s long forgotten box brownie. What follows is a quality film of considerable appeal, in which the excellent cast bring to life a story rooted in truth. A truth to sit beautifully in Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras program.
Piper Laurie plays the elder Rose with an easy and hard fought for wisdom and Laurie’s performance is mesmerising. Her ability to express an in-concert exactness of mood as the film swiftly cuts from flashback to modern close-up is masterful storytelling. Not unengaged, yet with a dispassion wrought by experience, Laurie is loving but measured. In the flashbacks to younger Rose, played with a vibrating interiority by Shannon Collis, we see full force the reserve and fear that drove her choices. Continue reading SNAPSHOTS – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL→
As the list of the deceased keeps moving up the screen and the unmistakable sound of the dot matrix printer shows no signs of stopping, the strings double down on the emotional content in the confronting beginning of BUDDIES. From 1985, this underground indie masterpiece has been remastered for a modern audience. Both the audience who remembers and new generations who are urged into hear and know.
POSTCARDS FROM LONDON is stylish, smart and sexy. It is also garish … but never Gaudi. The topic, you see, is art. Paintings and literature and desire. With every frame a frameable image and beauty abounding in the environments and in the characters and in the matters to hand, this is a film to adorate. Unless you are Jim, a country boy from Essex, drawn to London, who lands in a Soho of Director/Writer Steve McLean’s imagination. A world which belongs to “writers, queers and whores”.
Jim will begin a life of sex work that is just right for a pretty, polite, eager to learn young man blessed with a passion for appreciating art and a nascent intellect. Falling in with ‘The Raconteurs’, who are short their fifth member in mysterious circumstances, he will be schooled in post-coital conversation and musery. “intellectual debate – inspired and uplifting” Thus begins his escorted journey which will lead him to embrace both the arts and arts lovers. Unfortunately he feels distinctly unwell around masterworks and is afflicted with a definite tendency towards inserting himself. Continue reading POSTCARDS FROM LONDON – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF→
I MISS YOU WHEN I SEE YOU is a marvellous film and my favourite so far of the offerings for Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival. Sad and soulful and conflicted, it grips the viewer with a combination of empathy for the characters and an instinctive romantic desire for these men to be together. It is shot with integrity and skill and the storytelling, over its 90 minutes, guides the audience to a fulsome understanding of the forces behind their active choices and their powerlessness over the passive.
Cowardice and self-destruction will roil in the two protagonists who we first see together in the second scene of the film. At their Hong Kong school, these boys meet in the bathroom to discuss the latest manga because one is bullied and the other is too much of a coward to be seen with him in the open. Flashbacks to Kevin and Jamie’s school days will inform the men who make up the contemporary story ten years later. A situation where Jamie has a mercantile friendship with the men who were the boy bullies, a girlfriend and need to visit Kevin. Kevin had been taken to Australia by his parents and he will return the visit by Jamie and begin a kind of half-life in his native country. Continue reading I MISS YOU WHEN I SEE YOU – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF→
Outrage. I was prepared to be outraged by this film … seeing LDS and LGBTQ in the same sentence enough to cause fear and a presentment of horrors. Yes, there is plenty to be outraged by here if that’s what you need, but a calm analysis will give a much more reflective, intellectual response. For BELIEVER is not just about us but about our allies and the choice they can make to walk beside us.
The film follows Dan Reynolds, front man of band ‘Imagine Dragons’, a Mormon on a different kind of mission. With his consciousness raised by life events he sets out to ally with LGBTQ people by making this documentary about his journey and specifically by producing a music festival called LOVELOUD, in Utah in 2018. His focus is the alarming rate of suicide in the Mormon community and the responsibility of the church, his church, toward LGBTQ youth. Continue reading BELIEVER – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF→
How to bake a successful modern rom com? Put the girl in hot water, simmer her in a slob of ennui, gradually add the heat of some hot sex and serve with an alternatively romantic ending. The chef’s secret technique here? Balance the dominant spice with vanilla for the most palatable of delicious enjoyment.
Emily, you see, has a nasty addiction to cooking show marathons as she is parked unceremoniously on her friend’s sofa, out of luck in love, career and self-esteem. TWO IN THE BUSH: A LOVE STORY is a fun and entertaining independent feature with clever messaging about love and the forms it can take and a discreetly expressed agenda of acceptance. Continue reading TWO IN THE BUSH: A LOVE STORY – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF→
KANARIE is such a sweet film. Don’t know why that adjective springs to mind when it is about a young man who, under church and state conditioning, struggles with his inner self, his authentic self. Perhaps it is because of the love in the film. Or, maybe, it’s the songs and the singing … Boy George to Brahms. Then again it could be the way that a discreet social agenda never takes centrestage, simply whispering gently to make its point. Whatever the reason, this is a film which nestles easily into Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival for its uplift, entertainment and joy. Continue reading KANARIE – A TENDER, FUNNY FILM FOR QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF→
Since Nanook was captured on film fishing through a hole in the Northern ice, the documentary form has brought millions of other lives into our own. In a stunning choice by Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, Tonga’s Leitis community will warm your heart, give you hope and inspire you to be Fearless.
LEITIS IN WAITING is an emotional and motivating feature documentary about the transgender community of the Kingdom of Tonga and it begins The Guide's coverage of this year's Mardi Gras FF.
Reflecting the colours of the nation’s flag, the film begins with white intertitles on a red background and one of these will pull the breath from you. And will join an LGBTQI audience together in an understanding that the issues that these women face may be site-specific, but are despairingly common for trans people. Murder, bashing, thoughts of suicide, familial rejection, homelessness, poverty will raise their ugliness in a beautiful film of warmth and hope. Continue reading LEITIS IN WAITING – A FEARLESS FILM FOR QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF→
Stylish and supernaturally creepy, JADE OF DEATH, is making its public premiere at the Mardi Gras Film Festival on February 23rd. Lucky me, I had a chance to see the series of 6 x 10 minute shows before it opens as a 60 minute offering. And luckier still had the chance to speak with Erin Good (writer / director) and Taylor Litton-Strain (producer) of the show. Continue reading JADE OF DEATH: A STYLISH SUPERNATURAL MYSTERY→
SATURDAY CHURCH is a trans story yes. But much much more. It is transporting, transcendent and transformative, with themes of belonging and being that reach well beyond the coming out. The film is essentially a drama, but the interspersed songs and dancing, a bit like LA LA LAND, come smoothly together to inform, touch and influence hearts and minds. Continue reading SATURDAY CHURCH: MGFF 2018→
Light piano music leads us from hands slowly massaging dough, through a cityscape, into a Torten Laden, Café Krendenz on a busy street in Berlin. THE CAKEMAKER, playing as part of Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, is a profound and impactful film which has been crafted with loving hands. Continue reading THE CAKEMAKER: MGFF 2018→
SYDNEY REVIEWS Screen + Stage + Performing Arts + Literary Arts + Visual Arts + Cinema + Theatre