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 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.
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.
Being a micro-budget comedy, this film requires a bit of effort from the audience to overcome some technical issues, but the story and characters strong enough to make it worth a look. Available online, No Chocolate, No Rice is a lively gay movie that touches on a range of bigger issues even as it keeps viewers laughing.
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.
Part Thriller, part Period Film, part Romance (…sort of), French director Yann Gonzalez transports us on a kitschy and intriguing ride. Knife + Heart (Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur) throws viewers head first into Paris 1979, complete with eclectic fashion, technicolor, and that unmistakably soft, creamy focus in every shot.
Pitched somewhere between a behind the scenes look at downtrodden cabaret acts previously seen in a film like The Full Monty, and a high camp tale of an ageing drag queen reminiscent of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Tucked feels very distinctively like a throwback to the most successful of those efforts.
From kitschy ballroom dance classes to world-renowned concert pianists, to the lavish and colourful Carnival festival, this year’s BFI Flare collection really gets the body moving. Never failing to delight, the 2019 collection of short films presents a wide variety of stories from across the globe, guaranteed to provoke thought, crack smiles, and perhaps draw out a tear or two.
Most directors feel the need to overcompensate their material with cinematic flourishes, but Fitzgerald’s stripped down and intimate approach to the drama is far more rewarding. Splinters is a simple, quietly affecting family drama told in a humble manner; an authentic portrayal of an estranged family, where both the funny and moving moments come from the everyday. There’s no out of the ordinary dramatic twists here – and the film is all the better for it.