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Anchor and Hope

Essential Opinion: Anchor and Hope (Tierra Firme)

Anchor and Hope is a complex, mature relationship drama that feels nothing less than believable, even as it presents a lifestyle that’s likely alien to most viewers. But with three great performances at its centre, this is never a problem – it is quietly moving, even as it asks us to confront our own issues with parenthood.

Kanarie

Film Review: Kanarie at Outfest

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.

Bitter Melon

Film Review: Bitter Melon at Outfest

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.

Cuernavaca

Film Review: Cuernavaca at Outfest

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.

Call Her Ganda

Film Review: Call Her Ganda at Outfest

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.

Love, Cecil

Essential Opinion: Love, Cecil

Is it possible to separate the art from the artist? Documentarian Lisa Immordino Vreeland definitely doesn’t think so, as her examination of the life and career of photographer/artist/costume designer Cecil Beaton understands that the many contradictions in his character informed a lifetime of work across a variety of different mediums.

Man Made

Film Review: Man Made at Outfest

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.

Studio 54

Essential Opinion: Studio 54

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.

Believer

Essential Opinion: Believer

At one point in HBO’s original documentary Believer, Imagine Dragons vocalist Dan Reynolds is warned that he’s going to open himself up to criticism for organising a pro-LGBTQ concert – just not predominantly from the religiously conservative, but LGBTQ people aghast at a cis-gender, heterosexual white man co-opting their struggle. This is slightly unfair, as both the film and the charity concert presented within are born of good intentions that deserve the renewed spotlight this documentary will place upon them.

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