Chavela Vargas is a name that you may not be familiar with – but after seeing Chavela, the stunning new documentary from co-directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi, the name of this Mexican musical icon will be hard to forget.
The Iris Prize is now in its 11th year and once again will showcase some of the best LGBT+ short films from around the world. Since it began in 2007, the prize has allowed filmmakers from as far afield as Australia, Israel and Brazil to produce a brand new short film in the UK, with a current budget of £30,000, thanks to the support of the Michael Bishop Foundation.
With a narrative spanning over a decade, director David Berry, making his feature film debut by transforming the story in to a musical, using a mix of original and famous tracks (by artists varying from Regina Spektor to Ne-Yo), that help document the increasing years and romantic entanglements of Benjamin Bentley.
Boys for Sale (売買ボーイズ) interviews several current and past sex workers about how they got into the sex industry, why they chose this work, their experiences as such and their life plans for once they move on from it – or, if they’re no longer working as such, what they’ve done since. The reasons are surprising and the stories are compelling – though at times, some are also bit sad and others even heartbreaking.
Set in 1983, the film depicts the growing friendship between gay writer Andrés (Eduardo Martinez), who has been banned from writing due to writing a subversive anti-government book, and the revolutionary woman (Lola Amores) tasked with keeping an eye on him for three days while a major event takes place down in their village.
Allan Carr was an outspoken, flamboyant personality who remained constantly in vocal opposition to the kinds of films Hollywood was making during the seventies – something he fought back against by producing Grease, the highest grossing musical of all time and a zeitgeist capturing sensation to this very day.
Documentarian Bobbi Jo Hart’s new film Rebels on Pointe follows Les Ballets Trockadero on a world tour, discovering their worldwide fanbases and the artists behind the make-up. Despite being set in a drag inspired world, this feels as removed from the bitchiness associated with that culture as possible, as we find genuine warmth and affection between all group members.
If Ang Lee taught us anything, it’s that you can have intimacy and affection in the most rugged and wildest of places. With inevitable comparisons to Brokeback Mountain swarming the critics’ reviews after the movie’s premiere, God’s Own Country brings back that picturesque and rowdy feel, but certainly doesn’t stop there. This is a bittersweet testament of gay love in the countryside that screened at this year’s Outfest LGBT festival edition.
The LGBT history and the fight for equality is sadly filled with hatred, animosity and prejudice from the outside world, as well as a whole host of seemingly insurmountable obstacles – but how many of us know of the bad blood and bitterness that went on inside the gay rights movement between actual queer folks and transgender people? The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson offers a unique perspective on liberation for gender nonconforming individuals and is an imperative documentary for anyone looking to fully understand the origins and evolution of the LGBT movement.
The perfectly cast Seana Kerslake takes an occasionally unappealing character and makes us want to give her the same recurrent chances as the other characters in the film. And there are some delightfully unexpected moments – largely stemming from Mary’s penchant for jeopardizing or even ruining whatever good things come her way.
Invariably at every film festival there’s one or two films that don’t get as much festival buzz around them and somehow go under the radar. This is definitely the case for Four Days in France of this year’s Outfest edition. Combining Rimbaud poems, art, anonymous sex, classical music and the notorious dating app Grindr, Jérôme Reybaud’s debut is undoubtedly a daring, but impressive addition to gay cinema.
Jonny Mars plays Alex, a drifter who wades back in to his hometown with the aim of confronting the man who abused him sexually as a child. Upon tracking down his former abuser, finding that he is frail and crippled with physical and mental illness, his original vengeance quest is paused and he continues to lead an existence outside of mainstream society. He is, after all, a man of few words, devoting his free time to either making money pimping himself or other people out- and it should be noted, although this issue is handled with surprising restraint, that the sexual partners he tends to visit are all significantly older men, which could be interpreted as a reason for his relationship with his abuser to become more complicated.