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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 6 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 23
SIFF Film Synopses & Recommendations
Arts & Entertainment
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SIFF Film Synopses & Recommendations

by Herb Krohn - SGN A&E Writer

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Films listed without dates have already been screened.]

FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS
Italy
Rating: EXCELLENT
Genre: Romance

A young woman falls in love with a macho heterosexist motorbike mechanic eventually marrying him. Her best friend is a Gay man who she goes into business with, turning an abandoned building into a thriving bar and restaurant. After having two children, she learns she has cancer and that her husband has been cheating on her for some time. Then the film goes back in time to fill in the blanks, including how and why she and her closest friend came to be friends, as well as her love affair with her husband, and how it actually happened. This film has very high quality production values and strong performances and character development, so the audience forms an emotional connection to the characters. Let's hope this one comes back to screen here again soon.

FIFI HOWLS FROM HAPPINESS
Iran-USA-Italy
Rating: EXCELLENT
Genre: Bio-Documentary

This is a fascinating profile of Gay Iranian artist, Bahman Mohasses, who was one of the most respected artists during the time of the Shah. Completely disappeared and believed deceased, he was found living in Italy. The film consists of actual interviews with this remarkable Gay artist, he expounds in depth on his philosophy of art, culture, and his own works, many of which he himself saw destroyed. His perceptions of contemporary Gay life are a reflection of a long bygone era, and his recognition and acceptance of his own mortality are simply realistic.

THE FOXY MERKINS
USA
Rating: BOMB
Genre: Comedy-Farce

An unattractive overweight young woman goes to NYC to become a Lesbian prostitute. She befriends another Lesbian prostitute who attempts to show her the ways of the trade. They sleep under plastic tarps in the bathroom at the NYC Port Terminal. The Lesbian prostitute hangout for soliciting business is in front of the Talbot's clothing store. She has strange encounters with many women, including one with a police fetish, and a strange merkin salesman in a cemetery. While quite funny at times, one of the most hilarious moments being an encounter with two women in town for an accounting convention, this film, nonetheless, just falls flat and seems completely without any real character development or a clear plot direction. We can do much better than this production.

GERONTOPHILIA
Canada
Rating: AVERAGE
Genre: Coming of Age & Aging

A young man working in a nursing home falls in love with an eighty year old patient in this Bruce Labruce production. Solid performances, with good character development, yet this films pace is at times so slow it could lull the audience to boredom or sleep. It really needed to move quicker and create a greater sense of the emotional bonding of the characters.

IGNASI M.
Spain
Rating: AVERAGE
Genre: Bio-Documentary

Ignasi Millet is a renowned museum expert and art restoration specialist; he is also the father of two boys, has AIDS and takes lots of medications. His parents are both accomplished artists. He fell in love with a woman in a wheelchair and they had their two children; then he came out as Gay. His ex-wife is Bisexual; one of his sons is a Jesus freak. He talks, often quite fast, all the way through film, which includes interviews with his parents, children, ex-wife, friends, and medical providers, which is marginally interesting and funny at times. The film uses some creative production techniques to build an understanding of this flamboyant character; however it is a relief when it finally ends.

LILTING
United Kingdom
Rating: OUTSTANDING!
Genre: Family Drama
FRI MAY 30 | 7:00 PM | HARVARD EXIT
SAT MAY 31 | 2:00 PM | EGYPTIAN

Warning: To avoid spoiling the plot of this absolutely amazing and extraordinary work of film art, major points have been intentionally omitted from this review. A Chinese man and his English lover interact with his aging mother, who doesn't speak English and who dislikes her son's 'friend,' without knowing they are Gay. She is temporarily placed in a senior home until her son can move her in with them after he can get the courage to reveal he's Gay. The boyfriend hires an interpreter to develop an understanding with her, to improve their relationship, as well as to assist her with her prospective male friend, with whom their Chinese-English language barrier is an obstacle. We learn that sometimes relationships are best unspoken. This film constitutes modern Gay cinema of the highest caliber. The character development is so realistic and phenomenal that when the audience realizes the underlying plot though transitional scenes, the emotional attachment to the characters is complete! Beautiful, realistic, and so profound, this is certainly among the most outstanding films in SIFF this year, as well as in Gay cinema. Don't miss out on seeing this wonderful movie!

MAY IN THE SUMMER
Qatar/Lebanon/USA/Jordan
Rating: GOOD
Genre: Family Drama

Three sisters meet up in Qatar with their divorced Mom and Dad for the upcoming marriage of one of the daughters to a professor of Arab ancestry who teaches in the U.S. Dad has remarried and we learn that the very religious mother is having an affair with her former husband. Oh, and one of the daughters, who is a Lesbian, finally comes out to her sisters. Entertaining with good production values as well as strong performances and good character development.

SALVATION ARMY
Morocco/France
Rating: POOR
Genre: Coming of Age/Coming Out

A young Moroccan Gay teenaged boy is used by various older men for sexual exploitation, his mother is abused by his father, and the entire family worships his older brother. Then we skip to 10 years later when he has learned how to manipulate his way out of his home country and into a scholarship in Switzerland through an older Swiss man.

A STREET IN PALERMO
Italy
Rating: AVERAGE
Comedy Drama

Two women face off as the drivers of two cars that come face to face in a narrow street where there is not room enough to pass. One is a widowed woman who lost her daughter and lives to take care of her grandson, she takes care of the stray dogs in the cemetery when she makes her regular visit to her daughters grave. The other driver is a lesbian traveling with her girlfriend who is going to the wedding of a friend, their relationship is on the verge of collapse. The two central characters engage in a stubborn battle to out wait the other to see which is the most persistent and stubborn woman. Meanwhile the grandmothers son in law and relatives decide to create a betting pool of the locals as to which woman will win the test of stubbornness.

TO BE TAKEI
USA
Rating: EXCELLENT
Genre: Bio-Documentary
FRI JUN 6 | 7:00 PM | EGYPTIAN
SAT JUN 7 | 4:00 PM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN

A great biographical profile of actor George Takei, whose most famous role as Sulu, in the original 'Star Trek' series, is only one small role in this remarkable man's life as an actor and recent Gay rights activist. As a child he was interred in the Japanese camps with his family, and he went on to become an icon for modern Asian American actors, even though he once had to play stereotypical characters to earn his living. He faced having to choose to live in the closet to maintain his profession, until finally he could no longer reconcile it when California Proposition 8 passed. This well-made production is a perfect example of expert documentary filmmaking, conveying to the audience who this brave and famous person really is and what influenced his life and success.

X/Y
USA
Rating: Below Average
Genre: Drama
SUN JUN 1 | 6:30 PM | Pacific Place
MON JUN 2 | 4:15 PM | Pacific Place

Six twenty-somethings experience the complexities of modern relationships in New York City, which includes some same-sex sexual exploration. They are all in differing phases of their respective relationships, some of which are working well and others are on the verge of falling apart. This is a modern contemporary tale, which will appeal to younger audiences, and likely bore older and more mature or experienced people.

Other upcoming SIFF Films of LGBT Interest:

GAY-LA FILM PRESENTATION:
HELICOPTER MOM
WORLD PREMIERE
USA
Genre: Comedy
WED JUN 4 | 7:00 PM | EGYPTIAN

Followed by Gay-La Party at Q Nightclub
Sponsored in part by Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Greater Seattle Business Association,
The Stranger, Poquitos, Q Nightclub

Regular screening without the party:

THU JUN 5 | 4:00 PM | EGYPTIAN

BOYS
Netherlands
Genre: Coming of Age
MON JUN 2 | 9:30 PM | EGYPTIAN
TUE JUN 3 | 4:00 PM | EGYPTIAN

THE CIRCLE
Switzerland
Genre: Documentary Narrative
TUE JUN 3 | 9:30 PM | HARVARD EXIT
SUN JUN 8 | 12:00 PM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN

FUTURO BEACH
Brazil/Germany
Genre: Romance
FRI JUN 6 | 9:30 PM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN
SAT JUN 7 | 11:00 AM | EGYPTIAN

ME, MYSELF AND MUM
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Belgium/France/Spain
Genre: Coming Out & Gender Identity
THU MAY 22 | 9:30 PM | LINCOLN SQUARE
THU MAY 29 | 7:00 PM | EGYPTIAN
SUN JUN 1 | 1:30 PM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN

PIERROT LUNAIRE
Germany/Canada
Genre: Experimental
SAT MAY 24 | 10:00 PM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN
THU MAY 29 | 10:00 PM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN

THE WAY HE LOOKS
Brazil
Genre: Coming of Age
FRI MAY 30 | 9:30 PM | HARVARD EXIT
WED JUN 4 | 4:00 PM | EGYPTIAN

YVES SAINT LAURENT
France
Genre: Biopic Drama
FRI MAY 30 | 8:30 PM | KIRKLAND PC
SAT MAY 31 | 6:30 PM | PACIFIC PLACE

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