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Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Gay Essential Review: Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu) at Cannes Film Festival

Celine Sciamma’s films are uniquely attuned to examining the female body, without a whiff of exploitation or a sexually charged agenda to be seen. After tackling films dealing with puberty and gender dysphoria, she’s taken a seemingly unusual step for her fourth feature, 18th century period drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire. No longer is she dealing with the struggles of young people as they deal with their changing bodies, but she is taking the logical next step, crafting a romance all around the very idea of capturing the essence of the female body in a work of art.

Pain and Glory

Gay Essential Review: Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria) at Cannes Film Festival

The film to which Pain and Glory has been most extensively compared is Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2, the Italian director’s genre-bending, meta textual examination of a filmmaker crafting his most ambitious project to date. Both films are excellent, but the comparisons prove to be something of a dead end; Fellini was more preoccupied with the process of filmmaking itself, while Almodovar is interested in exploring the human factors that would inspire somebody to tell a story in the first place.

The Handyman

Small But Perfectly Formed, FilmOut San Diego ShortFest Our Highlights

From broken hot tubs to one-way trips to Mars, the 2019 FilmOut San Diego ShortFest welcomes the summer season with a rich collection of LGBTQ storytelling. This catalog of 20 films features storytellers from around the globe and across the gender spectrum.

Socrates

Gay Essential Review: Socrates at BFI Flare

There’s a strikingly realistic tone to this Brazilian drama, pulling the audience into the experiences of a teen who is being squeezed in from all sides. Socrates was created in a workshop of young people between the ages of 16 and 20, and it’s the feature debut of Brazilian-American filmmaker Alexandre Moratto.

Gay Essential Review: The Blond One (Un Rubio) at BFI Flare

Over five features, from Plan B (2009) to Taekwondo (2016), Argentine writer-director Marco Berger has sensitively explored the blurred lines between sexuality and machismo in Latin society. His latest feature, The Blond One (Un Rubio), continues this theme with real insight and artistry.

Leitis in Waiting

Gay Essential Review: Leitis in Waiting at BFI Flare

A story that comes, quite literally, from one of the farthest corners of the globe, Leitis in Waiting is a surprising and thought-provoking documentary from co-directors Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson. Surrounded by vast oceans, coral cliffs, and lush rainforest, the Leiti community has lived peacefully for centuries in the small island kingdom of Tonga. Leiti (or fakaleiti) is a local term used to describe individuals who are born male, but behave as females.

The Ground Beneath My Feet

Gay Essential Review: The Ground Beneath My Feet (Der Boden unter den Füßen) at BFI Flare

The Ground Beneath My Feet is a slow burning delight, that manages to effectively balance its arthouse style with its genre inclinations. As an exploration of the emotional toll on women in the male dominated world of business, it would definitely make for a delightfully oddball double bill with Toni Erdmann.

Shelter: Farewell to Eden

Gay Essential Review – Shelter: Farewell to Eden at BFI Flare

The film is told through the eyes of Pepsi, a transsexual Muslim from the Philippines. Pepsi was previously a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an Islamic political group known for their hardline separatist tactics and an unwavering conservative stance regarding homosexuality and transsexuality. As the political climate worsened, she was forced to flee her homeland.

Cassandro The Exotico

Gay Essential Review: Cassandro, The Exotico! at BFI Flare

Archive footage provides plenty of dream-like nostalgia, as a high-flying and extraordinary Cassandro takes out his opponents one-by-one. Complete with lavish dress and feathered hair, Cassandro, recognized as the “Liberace of Lucha Libre,” quickly climbed the ranks of popularity in the Mexican sport, all without smearing his eyeliner.

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