April DeBoer and Jayne Rouse live in Michigan. Between them, they have FIVE adopted children. They couldn’t legally adopt all five jointly because the laws of the state prohibit unmarried couples from adopting. But being a lesbian couple, they couldn’t get married anyway because same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in their state. This leaves their family very vulnerable to being split up should something happen to one or both of them.
“We were born to be Beyonce fans.” When you find your calling in life, you do it on purpose. These men and women waited two months in line, camped outside a football stadium for a chance to glance at Queen B more closely. You may expect to see a film about celebrity culture, obsessive fans, or Beyonce herself seen through the eyes of those who know her persona best. You’ll end up watching a smartly done account of sexism, identity, human sexuality, homophobia, consumption, and celebrity.
What stands between mundane everyday life and tomorrow’s hangover? La Noche, narrates the sexual adventures of a man who navigates the prostitution underworld of Buenos Aires. For company, he has only drugs, prostitutes, and the incessant solitude that pushes him time and again towards the next fuck, the next shot, the next adventure.
A twist on the concept of trans sexuality, in Pulse, Stevie Cruz-Martin and Daniel Monks deliver an insightful look into the challenges of evolving into one’s true self, even walking head-on into the notion of creating your own ideal, perfect life. Interestingly, this innovative little film can’t help but make you look beyond the physical and consider what really makes you, you.
With increasing political and social justice movements emerging and the trans community receiving more and more pop culture exposure, you might begin to think that going against the grain of society’s gender compliances is not only accepted nowadays, but also praised and somewhat glamorized. Unfortunately, for many LGBTQ members this is merely another glorified media representation that has little to do with the reality of what trans people encounter and deal with on a daily basis.
Marcelo Caetano is a newcomer, but ambitious feature director who has a fascinating approach to gay cinema and LGBTQ relationships. His debut, Body Electric, is a candid and tender tribute to Brazil’s racial and sexual heterogeneity, as well as an unbridled, sincere addition to this year’s BFI Flare Festival.
The Naked Civil Servant is camp and unabashedly so- but it has far more going on beneath the surface, and helped usher in more nuanced portrayals of LGBT people and culture in the years to come. It may be dated, but time hasn’t made it feel embarrassing in retrospect. It is still one of the most pivotal works in the LGBT pop culture canon that helped further mainstream awareness and acceptance.
With Handsome Devil, writer/director John Butler, reprises the poignant reflection on the meaning of masculinity he had explored in his fun 2013 debut The Stag (aka The Bachelor Party) but this time he takes the diatribe back to high school – a rugby-obsessed, all-boys boarding school to be precise – and by his own admission infuses the story with inevitable autobiographical references.
There’s nothing quite as enticing as this year’s BFI Festival selection – Center Of My World, along with its fascinating cinematography, remains one of my personal favorites due to its candid and refreshing approach to gay relationships, as well as its memorable and enveloping performances. Despite using a teenagey framework, which could have easily diverted the film into a bland kitsch romance, Erwa sets the bar high and proves that any type of setting can be molded into a masterpiece with the right tools and sensibility.