With a growing number of queer topics and motion pictures emerging in South African filmmaking, the status quo is being increasingly questioned and dismantled. Kanarie, tackles a variety of controversial subjects, from blind patriotism to the effects of religious dogma on sexuality and healthy self-expression.
Only a brilliant and gifted director can manage to make grueling topics like domestic abuse mesh well with dry humor and dramedy. Albeit slipping out of its vision and losing its prowess at times, Bitter Melon brings a genuinely refreshing and satisfying experience on the screens of this year’s Outfest edition.
Exploring the stunted childhood of a young, misunderstood boy, Cuernavaca is a colorful film that employs a tried and tested surrealist approach to storytelling. Alejandro Andrade’s directorial debut amasses a variety of old-age visual concepts and renders them to the viewer in a soft, easeful manner, reminiscent of the aesthetics of the irrational.
Following one of the most gut-wrenching events in the history of the Filipino trans movement, Call Her Ganda is a staggering and thought-provoking documentary on the epidemic of violence against LGBTQ people. Part-chronicle, part-tribute, the film is ushered by three central female figures who take on a seemingly never-ending and irremediable quest for justice.
The public perception of bodybuilding is currently defined by the idea of warped masculinity – a heteronormative activity exclusively for men who take more steroids daily than they have braincells in total. It’s not entirely clear how media representation of bodybuilders has, in the past few decades, gone from presenting them as idealised men to cultural laughing stocks, but T. Cooper’s documentary Man Made is set to send stereotypes back in the opposite direction.
For Izzy, writer-director Alex Chu’s latest film, is a story of broken people who find strength through fellowship. It is the story of retired divorcee Anna, and her lesbian daughter Dede, struggling with addiction, whose lives change after they move next door to a lonely widowed father, and his autistic daughter, Laura.
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.
You might think you know the story: two men meet at a remote cruising spot, where men have been mysteriously disappearing for weeks, and find themselves falling deeper into a murderous cat and mouse chase. But this surface level synopsis is the only true similarity between Devil’s Path and 2013’s widely acclaimed anti-thriller Stranger by the Lake, a film to which it will likely be compared based on the subject matter alone.
Every Act of Life proves to be a surprisingly comprehensive documentary, effectively recounting six decades of a successful career at a brisk pace. For theatre fans, this is essential viewing – and for those of you like me, who shamefully don’t watch as many plays as they should, this is still well worth a look.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is set in the early nineties in Montana, but the film doesn’t wear the cultural differences separating then and now too heavily; a cassette tape here, a “Clinton/Gore” bumper sticker there, but no detail significant enough to leave the audience thinking that what we’re seeing is a relic of the past, and not something that’s unfortunately still taking place well into the 21st century.
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.