Glasgay! film season
A selection of fine, exciting (and occasionally underwhelming) new queer cinema
This year’s programme is strong, and though it lacks the big US names (Todd Haynes, Gregg Araki, John Walters) there is still plenty to savour. Check out Argentinean filmmaker Pablo Sofovich’s tale of turkey basters, lesbian parentage and familial farce El Favor (Oct 23 & 29) if it is mild titillation you seek. This madcap sex comedy has enough going for it to deserve comparisons to Almodovar’s more clunky early comedy dramas - Dark Habits, Matador - and with a deeply sane running time of 79 minutes, it’s over before there’s chance to form an opinion.
Good old-fashioned romantic comedy comes from Spanish writer/director Manuel Gómez Pereira in Queens (Reinas) (Oct 15 & 17), a film as glossy and feel-good as the mass gay wedding scenario it promotes. Set a few days before a collective ceremony, the lives of five mothers, sons, friends, ex-husbands, lovers and employees are intertwined with winningly mild hysterical effect. Queens was a critical and commercial success in the States, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Best of all is Tim Kirkham’s Sundance award winner Loggerheads (pictured, Oct 30), a sincere, affecting triptych drama recognising that being gay may be about something more than just who you’re sleeping with. Shot on location in the director’s home state of North Carolina, the film is a heartfelt, meditative exploration of love and family, told through three interconnected tales: young drifter Mark (Kip Pardue) and his lover George (Michael Kelly); Mark’s adoptive mother, Elizabeth (Tess Harper); and his real mother, Grace (Bonnie Hunt). Be warned: Loggerheads is slow-paced, lacks sensationalism and adheres to a coda of raw emotional naturalism. If any film here deserves a wider release, it’s this one.
The double bill My Cat’s Balls/Keep Not Silent (Oct 26) is an unusual but insightful and rewarding pairing. The former is French actor Didier Bénereau’s enjoyably silly short about feline castration, while Jill Alexander’s documentary Keep Not Silent is a fascinating look at the secret lives and times of Jewish Orthodox lesbians in Jerusalem. The best documentary, however, is the excellent Screaming Queens (Oct 25), a retelling of the pre-Stonewall riot at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco in 1966. Also worth a look is Filthy Gorgeous: The Trannyshack Story (Oct 24), an unpretentious record of the legendary west coast club, which features a cameo appearance from the Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic. For next year’s festival Glasgay! could do worse than adopt Trannyshack’s motto - we should, after all, try and be a little bit more gorgeous and filthy.
Glasgay! film season, CCA & Glasgow Film Theatre, Sun 15-Mon 30 Oct. See www.glasgay.com for details.