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.
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.
Ireland has been a fairly cold, distant place for gay people for too long. It was only three years ago that the country had passed marriage equality through public vote, under the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution. An inspiring documentary about the history of LGBTQ rights, The 34th sensibly depicts the long road to marriage equality in the Irish state, as well as the touching love story between politician Katherine Zappone and theologian Ann Louise Gilligan.
It’s fairly easy to say that you’ve never seen a film quite like Good Manners. This Brazilian odyssey mixes elements of comedy, fantasy, horror and dark drama to tell a story that continually subverts expectations. It’s also made with a resonant sense of emotional depth that gets under the skin, so the story and characters become more involving as the movie gets increasingly bizarre.
Prejudice, discrimination and hatred do not have to lead to loss of innocence and bitterness. This is what Sidney & Friends sublimely showcases in its exquisite seventy-five minutes – a riveting, but peaceful and vulnerable account of what it means to be transgender and intersex in the crude social climate of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
Riveting and sincere, Anucha Boonyawatana’s powerful feature film bluntly, but calmly reminds us of the inescapable reality of death. From its roots as a chilling, complex concept to its nitty-gritty manifestation as a decaying, irrepressible force in the universe, Malila: The Farewell Flower looks at death from a variety of enlightening perspectives.
Narrative is not needed to create an enthralling, one-of-a-kind story that keeps you glued to your screen. This is what Pedro Diogenes and Guto Parente’s mesmerizing feature film proves without a shadow of a doubt. My Own Private Hell (Inferninho) is a deliciously strange and visually stunning motion picture that oscillates between drama and impressively well-executed dark humor.