So, it’s that time of year when the Toronto gaybourhood is aflutter with Pride planning, float design and wardrobe choices, be it fitted salmon-coloured polo shirts, feather boas, or studded cock-rings, which makes a big gay film festival entirely apropos. Since this is the 20th anniversary of the GLBT (sorry, LGBT: an acronym change that I’m certain involved pie charts, a Facebook petition of some sort and a forthright lesbian channeling her inner Susan Sontag) film fest, it’s noted with the tagline “20 Years of Queers”.
Looking at this year’s lineup of titles, which includes a Danish movie about gay neo-Nazis (Brotherhood) and another about 14th century Korean homos (A Frozen Flower), it’s refreshing to see how few of them focus on the trademarks of queer cinema, such as psychotic lesbians getting raped, or suicidal gay AIDS victims. There’s some great representation of world cinema, along with documentaries, shorts and the usual camp entertainment for all to enjoy come May 20-30.
In addition to a doc about Joe Dallesandro (Little Joe), this year’s program includes titles such as The Last Summer of La Boyita, which explores the pains of adolescent Sapphic affections and mentions menstruation twice in the plot synopsis. Think “Are you there God, it’s me Margaret”, but with lesbians and horses, an animal that no teenage girl is complete without.
Korean import A Frozen Flower offers up some period drama, action and 14th century costumes, taking place at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty, but features steamy gay sex scenes–something I didn’t see in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
For those who love bodice-ripping BBC dramas, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister delivers the true story of the titular lesbian writer and her kooky 19th century shenanigans.
Of course, no gay film festival would be complete without featuring some titles about being different in an assimilative male-dominated society, and Le Fil and Eyes Wide Open offer perspectives on this issue in Northern Africa and Jerusalem, respectively.
It’s not all stoic political fare though, with films like And Then Came Lola delivering a saucy lesbo spin on Run Lola, Run, and Is It Just Me? delving into queer histrionics in San Francisco.
That said, my personal picks are the aforementioned Brotherhood, Francois Ozon’s newest film Le Refuge, and I Am Love, which is said to feature another impressive performance from the ever-wonderful Tilda Swinton. We all have our own tastes, however, which is why you may want to see a full listing of titles over at insideout.ca.