This offbeat independent film is subtitled “An American Allegory”, and indeed it’s seriously on-the-nose. With Kill the Monsters, writer-director Ryan Lonergan makes every scene mean something. The film is skilfully shot in black and white, and inventively edited and performed.
Winner of the Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the Guatemalan drama José is an astute look at male sexuality in a culture that’s infused with machismo. This is an earthy, honest story using observational filmmaking to touch on big themes without ever being preachy. Chinese-born American filmmaker Li Cheng cleverly lets the plot unfold in such a subtle way that the movie has a documentary feel to it.
Basically an accidental documentary, Ruminations came about when director Robert James went in search of stories about gay hippies in 1960s San Francisco and stumbled upon Rumi Missabu, a notorious raconteur who calls himself a “male actress”. As one of the original Cockettes, he is an oracle of anecdotes.
Originally made for Channel 4 in the UK, this documentary has been returned to its original version, as authorised by George Michael himself shortly before he died. In George Michael: Freedom – Director’s Cut, Michael offers an intimate, honest look at his life, ending just before the iconic singer’s shocking death at just 53 in December 2016.
The New York nightclub Studio 54 was so iconic that we feel like we know its story, but this documentary is packed with never-heard details that cast it in a whole new light. The film Studio 54 is solidly well-made, assembled with an insider’s perspective and packed with photos and footage of the top stars of the day partying like there’s no tomorrow.
This film feels like a dream: a chance to sit down with Ian McKellen and talk about his life and career. McKellen: Playing the Part is a fascinating collection of interviews, snapshots, home movies and film clips, all narrated by the chatty McKellen, who fills every moment with intelligence, humour and emotion.
With a story so detailed that it feels autobiographical, this earthy, natural drama can’t help but catch the audience by surprise as it pushes the characters through a series of intense situations. Golden Boy, is a strongly personal variation on the usual story of a young man who ends up lost on the streets of Los Angeles.
Freelancers Anonymous taps into the current issue of underemployment, where employers cut hours and benefits, forcing people to take multiple jobs to make ends meet. Thankfully, director Sonia Sebastian and writers Lisa Cordileone and Amy Dellagiarino never get overly serious about this, keeping things very light while grounding the humour in likeable characters.
Rupert Everett spent the past decade working on his passion project The Happy Prince, tracing the final three years in the life of Oscar Wilde. Ironically, these aren’t particularly happy years, following his post-prison exile from England as he loses status, money and finally his health, until his death at age 46 in 1900.