Part Two of our exclusive guide to the 17th annual event
by Sara Michelle Fetters -
SGN A&E Writer
The final days of the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (SLGFF) are upon us and the selection for potential viewing is as eclectic as any in the event's 17-year history. From documentary short programs covering the gamut of topical LGBT issues, to narrative features moving between genres with relative ease, to a Gay TV event that takes RuPaul's popular 'Drag Race' series to unforeseen heights, there's literally something for everyone as SLGFF closes out its 2012 run.
The following are capsule reviews for some of the films playing Friday, October 19, through Sunday, October 21. Adult tickets are $11 for regular screenings (youth, senior, and member discounts are available). A few special events are priced higher. Visit www.threedollarbillcinema.org for details.
Cloudburst (Friday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., Pacific Place)
Filmmaker Thom Fitzgerald (3 Needles, The Hanging Garden) makes a triumphant return with this moving and thought-provoking drama about an aging Lesbian couple (Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker) who escape from their nursing home and make their way to Canada to get married. Featuring sensational performances from the two Oscar-winning actresses, the movie manages to mine somewhat familiar territory in a way that feels fresh, original, and at times downright daring. As funny as it is emotional, this is one of the can't-miss films screening at this year's SLGFF. (3½ stars)
The Dance of Two Left Feet (Friday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., Central Cinema)
A visually stimulating drama out of the Philippines, directed with robust sensuality by Alvin Yapan, this movie may be a contrived and overly simplistic melodrama, but it still packs a mighty emotional punch. Forget about the story and focus on the dancing - everything you need to know about the characters and what they are going through is dynamically specified by the beauteous elegance of human movement. A gem. (3 stars)
Mohammed to Maya (Saturday, Oct. 20, 12:30 p.m., Pacific Place)
An insightful and moving documentary chronicling the gender transition of Maya Jafer, a devout Muslim from India who learns to balance her faith with her decision to undergo sexual reassignment surgery - a decision that her equally orthodox family condemns vehemently. What allows this documentary to stand out from the crowd is in its discussion of faith (specifically the Muslim faith) and spirituality as it relates to issues of gender dysphoria, Maya's journey a soaring testament to the human spirit that's as enlightening as it is captivating. (3½ stars)
Parts of the Heart (Saturday, Oct. 20, 3 p.m., Central Cinema)
This Indonesian import starts great, stalls in the middle, falters towards the end, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, delivers a knockout of a climax. The drama follows Peter, a Gay man living in Jakarta, as he ages from 10 to 40, chronicling his various romantic awakenings, entanglements, enlightenings, and disappointments as he travels through the decades. Cut into eight chapters, the first two are fantastic, while episodes three through seven leave more than a little to be desired. But part eight is downright fantastic, making every moment that came before resonate with far more poignancy than it easily would have otherwise. (2½ stars)
Chicago Sing-Along (Saturday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m., Central Cinema)
Rob Marshall's Academy Award-winning musical returns for an audience-participation event. The movie itself came in at number five on my own 2002 top 10 (behind Adaptation, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Far From Heaven, and Rabbit-Proof Fence), and looking back I'm still pretty comfortable with that placement. Featuring stellar performances by the majority of its all-star cast (although I'd have given the Oscar to Queen Latifah, not Catherine Zeta-Jones), the movie is a visual knockout befitting the Broadway stalwart that it inspired. If you haven't seen this in a theater, by all means do yourself a favor and remedy that by attending this screening. (4 stars)
Four (Saturday, Oct. 20, 9:30 p.m., Pacific Place)
The good news is that Four, adapted from the acclaimed Christopher Shinn play, is only 72 minutes in length. The bad news? It feels like three weeks. Sap running down the side of a tree moves with greater urgency than any of the dramatics depicted here. This movie bored the heck out of me, and by the time it was over I couldn't have cared less if any of its interlocking stories had real-world resonance or not. (1½ stars)
Mr. Wrong (Saturday, Oct. 20, 9:30 p.m., Central Cinema)
The 1996 Nick Castle-directed Mr. Wrong with Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Pullman is all kinds of bad, its status as one of the worst romantic comedies of all time absolutely secure. Seattle film critic David Schmader's obsessive evisceration of and commentary on it, however, is an essential viewing experience, making this screening a must even though the movie is as horribly unfunny as anything you are likely ever to see. Ticket sales benefit Washington United for Marriage. (No stars, but go anyway!)
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