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BFI Flare 2020...Our Virtual Coverage...

FLARE 20 Header

by David Anderson Cutler

Sadly [and quite rightly], Flare 2020 has been cancelled...but, the good folks at the BFI have sent us a few of the films that would have been screened...so, we're going to have a 'virtual coverage' of the festival...as a token of our respect for all their hard work [it ain't easy organising a festival of this size]...and, of course, much gratitude to all the filmmakers who have allowed their films to be viewed via the digital platform. We thank you all.


Day 1...

Cicada

Cicada
by Matt Fifer & Kieran Mulcare

Troubled and damaged...a bisexual hypochondriac bares and shares his soul in this semi-autobiographical attempt at catharsis.

With something so personal...and, with Mr Fifer being so personally involved [writer, director, producer, editor and star]...the inherent dangers [of self-indulgence] are hazardous waters to navigate.

At times, it's akin to overhearing an uncomfortable confession. But, thankfully, melodrama and that dreaded indulgence are avoided...although there are a few close shaves [with both]!

Considering this is the debut feature from both directors, it is admirable in the way they side-stepped the glaring potholes...however, the plot-holes are a different issue entirely. In truth, there really is not much of a plot to speak of...the force that drives this film is dialogue. A little more 'show-than-tell' would have earned this film a great deal more purchase. A few more peaks to combat those impending troughs...and, those troughs are particularly deep!

Quite possibly, the film's power lies in its gentility when unearthing and addressing the individual traumas that these two men have endured...and, still endure. It is cathartic...the problem being...catharsis only resonates with some audiences.


Day 2...

Ask Any BuddyAsk Any Buddy
by Evan Purchell

Take 125 vintage [i.e. old] gay porn films, cut them to bits...then, stick some of those bits together and, hey presto, you have Ask Any Buddy!

Call it collage, call it a labour of love [for Evan Purchell]...call it what you will...but, there really is only one pertinent question that screams to be asked: Evan, dear heart, what was the point?

In recent years, pornographers have been rediscovered, reappraised and, ridiculously, celebrated...most notably Peter de Rome. There are quite a few others...those of a certain age will surely remember their favourites! And, yes, they are all represented within these 78 salacious and old-fashioned minutes!

Porn has changed exponentially. Porn is absolutely everywhere...and, porn still makes money. Access to any kind of porn is a mere click-of-the-mouse away...there are many websites specializing in vintage porn...hey, once a 'rare' film has been digitized, it's no longer rare.

Now...if Ask Any Buddy was an exercise in salvage, restoration and preservation [of gay erotica]...then, those who regard porn as essential cinematic history and/or as an artform would certainly appreciate such an endeavor. But...it's not, this is just a curated piece of saucy nostalgia...worthwhile or worthless, it all depends on your attitude towards nostalgic porn! 

Pain And GloryPain & Glory
by Pedro Almodóvar

It took a while...but, the wait is finally over...Pedro Almodóvar is back...with - without a shadow of doubt - inarguably, his best [and most mature] film [to date].

It happens to everyone, when we reach a certain age...those moments of reflection and recollection that continually [and gently] lap into your consciousness. Memories, part forgotten, always remembered...of lost lovers, faded friends, youthful mistakes and temporary triumphs. Oooh...the pain...that has acquiesced into a tolerable regret. Aaah...the glory of those yester-happy-days, feasts for thought...with side dishes of smiles and tears. Life...what a wonderful, arduous journey it is.

Señor Almodóvar captures it all and covers it all...with cinematic glory. This is a beauty to watch. A gem to listen to...and, a bitter-sweet thrill to experience. When autobiography is mixed with tragic fiction...those lines [of truth] become [all] fuzzy with feeling. Flashbacks to the idyll of childhood pitted against the reality of the now...Penélope Cruz [simply] dazzles, Antonio Banderas [ruefully] embraces...the memories, the decline, the here-and-now...with drug-addled dignity, suffering and suffrage. This is a performance not to be missed, this is an actor's finest moment.

Both human and inhumane...compare and contrast, the ravages that make life so hard-line and fine...this is what Señor Almodóvar has achieved.

The highest [really, the pinnacle] of praise.

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire
by Céline Sciamma

As delicious as it gets! This is direction!

Céline Sciamma's back catalogue is mightily impressive, especially her writing. But, with this portrait, this [daring] auteur leaps out of her comfort zone and jumps into the world of period drama and romance...

And, breathtakingly, reveals her alarming [an enviable] artistry...too few films have, too many directors forget [or, are incapable of]...the artistry. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is paint-by-emotion...

This is a film to watch and feel. There are no deafening abstractions, there are no unnecessary words...all that there is...is craft, precision and delicacy. It just seems so effortless...and, as a result, becomes as immersive as any film can be.

What's more startling...this is a political film...without the throat-ramming politics! This is feminism...without the adjunct aggression. But...there is anger...and, as resigned as it is...it's there, knee-deep in the futility of the situation. This about familial expectations and reluctant acceptance...this is about love...unmentionable, unexpected, intolerable, intricate love. Nothing last forever...but, as long as it lasted for a time...no-one can take that away. This bittersweet, cinematic memory.

A tear-inducing beauty.

For They Know Not What They DoFor They Know Not What They Do
by Daniel G. Karslake

The oxymoron that is...being LGBT and [institutionally] religious. It just doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Wake up, smell the goddamn coffee, it's not exactly subtle...your parents brain-washed you!

Sure be LGBT, be religious, be spiritual...but, be yourself, be your own religion. Jeezuz H. Christ, that godforsaken 'book' calls us abominations - no matter how you [re]interpret it, it's a full-blown, in-your-face, badass whipping...that leaves behind more than just welt marks.

The Robertson family know only too well, their evangelical brain-washing killed their son. He did everything a 'good' evangelical son should...voluntary conversion therapy...but, his mind couldn't Their atonement is palpable...but, it ain't gonna bring their son back! Harsh? Indeed it is...but, so many precious lives have be ruined/ended by these evangelical, blasphemous nutcases...deaths that could have been/can be/got to be avoided...with love, understanding and care. Amends, they are making...vitriolic condemnation is what's needed.

That's just one story, there are three others...more about being accepted. This is - on the whole - a positive film...people who are going through something similar may take comfort in that everything might just work out...but, that all depends on how brain-washed their parents are! It does delivers a mighty fine message: If your parents/family/religion cannot accept you for who you are...it's their problem. Not yours.

Those who are accepted are the lucky ones...spare a thought and a tear for Ryan Robertson [who wasn't]...a young, beautiful man. Gone.


Day 3...
You Dont NomiYou Don't Nomi
by Jeffrey McHale

Definitely...a film for a small niche market...to be part of the intended audience:

1. You have to have seen Showgirls.

2. You have to have either loved, liked [or - at least - appreciated] what Paul Verhoeven was trying to say!

3. You have to be able to - willingly - digest absolute fantasy...courtesy of Adam Nayman and his book: It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls - without which, this film would probably never have been made.

The big question is: Does Jeffrey McHale's [almost] academic reappraisal - of one of the worst films ever made - manage to change hearts and minds? No, it's a simple as that!

No amount of analysis, re-analysis and proselytizing will change the fact that Showgirls is...garbage. Apart from some archive footage, Paul Verhoeven does not take part...shouldn't the man - himself - defend his own film instead of these two flunkies?!?

Without his input, You Don't Nomi  is reduced to nothing more than mere [flunky] fandom...and, just like its inspiration, is laughable...for all the wrong reasons. Still, there's no getting away with the massive amount of work that went into this...an obvious labour of love!


Day 4...

And Then We DancedAnd Then We Danced
by Levan Akin

T-R-A-D-I-T-I-O-N!!!

Where [exactly] did tradition get us? Absolutely nowhere, that's where! Okay, okay...a slight concession [for the purists]...it's a good place to start [evolution] from! Evolve...we must.

Levan Akin's film is startling...in its view of [toxic] masculinity within a context that turns its back against any form of toxicity...the world of dance. But, in Georgia...a country landlocked by tradition, constrained by conservatism and dominated by religious devotion...dance is manly, dance is tradition. Dance does not deviate from its origin.

This is a country that sits on a geographical crossroads...and, as Western influences unrelentingly flow in, the strict orthodoxy is being challenged...by the youth...and, by the President who has declared his desire to join the European Union. In 2000, Georgia adopted the Council of Europe's standards relating to the decriminalisation of homosexuality. However, homophobia is a major cause for concern...the Georgian Orthodox Church does not shy away from expressing its [absolute] revulsion of homosexuality.

So...this is where a young, gay, talented dancer finds himself...quite literally, stuck between a rock and a hard place. He finds [requited] love, a [reviled] community and [repressed] expression...he is the 'new' Georgia...with an unenviable fight on his hands.

That fight is expressed through a sensational dance routine...a dance that pays homage to the tradition while daring to evolve. It is dazzling.

And Then We Danced is not an easy watch...but, it is absolutely gripping from start to finish. There are moments of joy, of cruelty, of anger, of frustration, of heartbreak and sadness...of determination...by a determined young man. Levan Gelbakhiani, a professional dancer, in his first film role, simply excels in the vast array of emotions that his character is forced to face, manage and, possibly, conquer.

Levan Akin's film is the voice of the disgruntled. It's bold and brave and beautiful. Easily, one of the finest films of the year.

BooksmartBooksmart
by Olivia Wilde

Dear oh dear...oh dear!

Booksmart seems to have divided the camps...what's not to like about this jolly, light-hearted teen romp?

The dissenters have compared it to being a female version of Superbad - is that such a bad thing?!? Is geek-dom the sole domain of the geeky boy? Of course it's not!

Where Superbad was - and will always remain - cruel, loathsome and misogynistic...Booksmart is bright, likeable and entertaining. And, it's not as wholesome as you may think...two best friends with differing sexualities...have realised they have [seriously] missed out with their all-work-and-no-play ethos...well, the time has come for change. Their virginities are going...just as soon as they find out where the party-of-parties [actually] is!

Cue a few mad moments and a few mad encounters - Noah Galvin is sociopathically hysterical - but, will all their dreams come true?

Olivia Wilde rattles through each scenario, adding [unnecessarily] a few goofy bits here and there...however, the laughs come aplenty...with one particularly brilliant guffaw...and one 'oh my'!

Behind all the silliness, there are a few stabs at the 'Snowflake' generation, judging a 'book' by its cover...and, taking life [just a bit] too seriously.

It's not exactly a wake-up call..nor will it melt a few Snowflakes...it's semi-wholesome entertainment with a subtle [sexy!] edge.

All in all...rather delicious.

Matthias & Maxime

Matthias & Maxime
by Xavier Dolan

Xavier, Xavier, Xavier...where have you been?

After a cacophonous and dissenting win at Cannes with the divisive It's Only the End of the World [although we loved this film]. And, following the full-on flatulent disappointment of The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, Monsieur Dolan [thankfully] returns to what he does best...with one almighty problem!

That 'problem' is none other than that old chestnut itself...being too close, doing too much. The importance of a script editor can never be exaggerated...M&M desperately needed one to shave off all the unnecessary bristle. In John F. Donovan, Monsieur Dolan infamously cut Jessica Chastaine from the entire film [he lost quite a few Hollywood Brownie points with that manoeuvre]...if he had employed that same tactic with M&M, by cutting out the entirely unnecessary scenes with Harris Dickinson...and, by listening to and acting on a script editor's advice, M&M would have been a far better film than it is.

Saying that...M&M is [still] a fine film...with so much heart and wounded soul. Boys born on different sides of the tracks...friends with aspirational benefits, friends destined to become so much more. Monsieur Dolan infuses his character with a decent, deep-down delicacy...he is everything that Matthias is not and vice versa. Yet, they fit. Their relationship is as lovely as it is frustrating to watch...with their histories concluded and their futures yet to be decided...this is all about will they or won't they.

All Matthias & Maxime needed was a closer shave to be more of a marvel than it already is...!

Jack & YayaJack & Yaya
by Jen Bagley & Mary Hewey

All this film needed was a ruthless, unsentimental editor...who could thrash out the story and leave all the clutter on the cutting room's floor.

It's a shame...because, there is a great story here. A life-time of friendship told [and led] in transition. Absolutely fascinating, it most certainly is. Considering that most trans stories are remarkably similar and familiar...this has that something extra...and, too much more!

There is a cacophonous scene showing these families watching the Superbowl...why? What was that scene with Jack's grandfather and the gun all about? Good grief, Jack's gonna inherit a gun! Whoopee!

Look...this is transition without the any bells or whistles, these are ordinary working folks...family is everything, money is scarce. The filmmakers certainly make no bones about showing how 'ordinary' these families are.

More focus on the subjects would have propelled their stories into memory...alas, the irrelevance relegates this into the once-seen-quickly forgotten brigade.

Shame...such a great story. Such a great friendship.

My FionaMy Fiona
by Kelly Walker

Erm...what just happened? It was all just a little too inexplicable...Fiona jumps off of a very high roof. You see her body hurtling past the window...and then, her funeral. That may sound like a spoiler...it isn't, this all happens in the first few minutes. It certainly sets the tone.

Unfortunately, the obvious tone is explored no further. Why did she jump? Dunno...who cares? Don't expect any answers, Kelly Walker's debut feature really isn't concerned with answers. 

Rather focusing on a blossoming romance wrought out of grief...tricky indeed! What's even more trickier is that the left-behind-straight-best-friend has started questioning her sexuality. Has Fiona's suicide triggered her sapphic desires? Does the left-behind-straight-best-friend want to take Fiona's place...as mother to her son and wife to her wife? Oooh doesn't this all sound so deliciously manipulative, complex and downright nasty? Yum.

Well...that's not the film. It could have been...but, it's not. This is just a fairly tepid romance between two grief-stricken people and a little boy thrown in for cuteness.

Why did Fiona kill herself? We will never know...so, what was the point of the film when the film forgot the point?!? 

Our Dance Of Revolution

Our Dance of Revolution
by Phillip Pike

As an overview and introduction to black LGBT contemporary history [in Toronto]...it does a damn fine job.

It set its agenda from the off and stuck to it...without any deviation. Activists are always interesting subjects to film over time...watching and hearing as the rage of their youthful fire evolves into a long-toothed wisdom of experience. This film is full of I-was-there and I-did-this and I-did-that...there are many satisfied faces to be seen, quite rightly so! It really does make you question your own self...what did I contribute? Or, for the youngsters, how can I contribute to the most important cause: Equality...for each and all. This is activism at its best...forget that damn armchair, get out and do something. Stop traffic...but, never stop yelling!

Beautifully filmed and scored, there's nothing really to criticise! Just...sit back, relax and prepare to be educated and enlightened. 


Short films...just click on the pic to get the review...

I Am My Mother’s Child

Les Levres Gercees My Mama A Man Hands And Wings Ibb Kya Kothie Shear Avory

Love, Sex and Other Emotions

After That Party The Scene Last Romantics Because Youre Mine 

Dance Like Everyone’s Watching

Sweetheart Dancers 134 Cuban Heel Shoes Bonde 2019

Past Imperfect

A Battle In Waterloo Sleeping Longing Atomic Love Room For Two


Day 5...

Short films...just click on the pic to get the review...

School of Life

Kikos Saint Involuntary Activist

Catching Feels

Jay Szu Wei Chen Sam Eyre Morgan Dirty 2019 Mandem Who Can Predict Boldly Go 2019 See You Soon 2020


Day 6...

A Dog Barking At The MoonA Dog Barking at the Moon
by Lisa Zi Xiang

Winner of the prestigious Teddy Award' with a few other trophies to keep Ted company...and, inexplicably, regaled - by some - as an outright masterpiece!

Throw a dollop of paint onto the nearest wall and watch it dry...there, that's just as interesting/entertaining as watching 107 minutes of this slow, painfully repetitive, practically static, unnecessarily muddled dirge to/comment on traditional Chinese family values and Chinese society as a whole...told by one diasporic auteur.

This is Lisa Zi Xiang's first film...more homily than homegrown. Present...are all the usual suspects, the mother with anger issues, the doormat father, respect and shame, matching and marriage...and, the kind of 'why-did-you-marry-that-foreigner' racism that seems to [always] avoid criticism. The 'foreigner' in this instance is Thomas Fiquet's Benjamin, the husband...as impotent a character could ever be and - quite possibly - one of the most ineffectual performances ever to disgrace the big screen. Fortunately, Thomas Fiquet's screen-time is limited, saving him from complete embarrassment...sorry, but acting ain't your thing. Or, is it a case of bad direction? Whatever...the character of Benjamin serves only as a wasted opportunity.

As does that of the father...again, minimum screen-time and the crux of the story! Discovered by his wife...fumbling with a [much] younger male student! Indeed! Well, as you would imagine, the proverbial hits the fan...only, in this instance, the proverbial misses the fan [completely] and lands sloppily on the floor...to be trodden on, over and over again.

Yes...there is a great premise here...tradition, homosexuality, communism, religion [with modernity and migration having their say too]...they all go together like oil and water! Explosive ingredients...the only problem is Lisa Zi Xiang...with her [infuriatingly] static camera, she focuses on her [yes, this is autobiographical] mother's immersion into a Buddhist cult. The 'gay' father barely gets a look-in, apart from the mother refusing to divorce him [all that family shame] and declaring him to be [frustratingly for her] impotent for years! Erectile dysfunction is no laughing matter...but [especially with the little blue pill in existence], this should have been the joke of all jokes...there's nothing wrong with his willy, it's you! And, yet one more wasted opportunity...his homosexuality: Nature or [spousal] nurture? Discuss!

Add to all these wasted opportunities, moments of directorial madness, Lisa Zi Xiang takes her [now long lost] audience out of the [presumed] reality and into the theatre...of the absurd. You couldn't make this stuff up...and, she didn't...this is her autobiographical, theatrical whimsy...and, the biggest wasted opportunity of all...is that of her mothers' - she had the biggest secret, she held the story in the palm of her hand...and, sadly, her daughter let it slip through her [inexperienced] directorial fingers!

But, hey, what do we know? Winner of the prestigious Teddy Award'...and, regaled - by some - as an outright masterpiece! 

Short films...just click on the pic to get the review...

At the Brink of Dawn

The Sea Runs Thru My Veins Alious Journey Baby Girl Miss Man 2019


Day 7...

Moffie

Moffie
by Oliver Hermanus

When a filmmaker hits the nail on the head, capturing an experience, a memory, something that will resonate deep within...that is a filmmaker who demands and deserves attention.

This goes out to all the 600,000+ boys and men who were conscripted during the South African Border War which lasted for 23 years, 6 months, 3 weeks and 2 days.

This goes out to all the men who remember their first instances of same-sex attraction...Oliver Hermanus captures that moment with harrowing perfection and precision.

Way before the nude-infested internet, a naked man rarely [mostly never] appeared on screen. Swimming pool changing rooms were the place where young [gay] boys could - furtively - glimpse at a mature naked man. It was thrilling, dangerous, heart-thumping...and, breath-taking. Being 'caught' was unimaginable...because, we really did not know what we were really doing...but, we knew it was [somehow] wrong. It was an amalgamation between looking, wishing, hoping and desiring. It was curiosity and innocence all rolled into one...it's all here, in Moffie.

And...this goes out to all those boys and men who ended up in Ward 22. A 'hospital' where gay and conscientious objectors were 'treated' by Aubrey Levin...a man most foul.

Here's to the survivors of that war and of Ward 22...and, here's to the dead on both sides. It's time for your stories to be told...Christiaan Olwagen's [exceptional] Canary brought South Africa's contemporary history to a new audience. Oliver Hermanus continues the story...two very different films, different voices...both, mighty fine films of the same inexhaustible story.

Easily, one of the best films to come out of 2019.

And, finally...here's to all those who opposed Apartheid. Let your voices and stories continue to ring out!

Short films...just click on the pic to get the review...

Unite to Fight

We Are Dancers Came The Wave Make Yourself Heard When Pride Came To Town


Day 8...

Two Of Us

Two of Us
by Filippo Meneghetti

Perfectly laid plans crushed by reluctance, secrets and circumstances [and people] beyond your control...this is Filippo Meneghetti's [mighty] debut feature.

This is poised and elegant film-making. A film that will rip at your heartstrings and make you consider the bigger picture...if this was you, what would you want? When decisions are taken away from you...what else have you got left?

Life is all about choices...you pick and choose, rightly or wrongly, rejoice or regret...and, with age, there is the opportunity to take stock, to reflect, to smile, to grimace...perhaps, even, to make amends.

Two of Us delivers many a potent message...

Don't dilly-dally, grab the bull by the horns...before it's too late. Because, you never know when it's too late!

Be prepared for the unthinkable...because, sad but true, the unthinkable invariably [and eventually] happens.

Respect your mother, her life, her wishes, her past, her secrets, her wishes.

And, finally, respect those who love those you love.

This is a monumentally mature piece of work...graced by two precise and comparative performances. Opposites attract and the hand fits perfectly inside the glove...this is love...in all of its joy and terror.

This is immaculate and heartbreaking film-making...merci pour cela. 


Day 9...

Monsoon

Monsoon
by Hong Khaou

Story-telling takes on many forms, Hong Khaou has his own style and voice...infused with delicacy and, surprisingly, [considering the many themes explored] serenity. Quite easily, Monsoon could have slipped into a melodramatic deluge of emotion...thankfully, it doesn't. Instead, we are given room to think, moments just to watch a process of exploration and self-realisation. This is a carefully constructed mood, a thoughtful sense of being. The three tenses are given a voice...past, present, future...as are the conditionals...what could/should/would have been/be...as for the future...well, that all depends on the here and now...those 'ifs' - this all sounds terribly complex and that is the innate beauty of this film, Hong Khaou manages to demystify the complexity...via a gentle and poised performance by Henry Golding...

Monsoon may [or may not] sweep you away emotionally...but, it will linger...asking - politely - where are you? Where is your place? Where will you end up? Not many filmmakers are bold enough to ask such questions...Hong Khaou does, politely.

A lovely, careful film.

Disclosure

Disclosure
by Sam Feder

This is a shocker...we are absolutely reeling!

The inaccuracies, the irrelevance, the omissions...talk about doing a disservice to the trans community!

Give us time...we are going to rip this American-centric, farcical 'Trans Lives on Screen' apart...made by what self-serving sycophants...yes, they really did lick Laverne Cox's ass...because, she's in the film.

Not a mention of her atrocious Rocky re-make! And...not a mention of the incomparable original...sweet transvestites from Transsexual, Transylvania...a-a-a!

The first section of this is...drag. Harmless drag. A man dressed as a woman in 1901 is NOT trans!

Anyway...bear with us, we're going to watch this again...we have to watch it again to see what we missed...less than what the filmmaker missed! 

Rescue The FireRescue the Fire
by Jasco Viefhues

I may have met Jürgen Baldiga, I may have not...but, I lived in Kreuzberg, Berlin in the early/mid 80s - what a place, what a time! I was just 19, I went because of David Bowie, Cabaret, Christiane F., the Wall, Spandau, the Berlinale...and, a beautiful boy called Christian. He was 6 years older than me and I was smitten...with him, with Berlin, with the people, with the mad, bad and dangerous bars...with life.

Alas...like all good things, they always come to an end. I left and lost contact, there was neither e-mail nor mobile in those days...and, the memories have - sadly - become distant and hazy. Until now...this film brought it all back...like thunder.

Jürgen Baldiga would have been 60 in 2019 [when this film was made]. This is his long-overdue obituary. Strike that...this is lament and celebration of a young man gone and of days gone by. Here is his legacy...of words and pictures and friends...rediscovered, remembered, respected and rejoiced. This is his life...led with all the nonsense and the truth...with defiance and despair. Jürgen Baldiga was loved, this film is testament to this indisputable fact.

I may have met Jürgen Baldiga...if I had, I'm sure I would have remembered him...I'm remembering so much more now. Thank you.

Keyboard Fantasies

Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story
by Posy Dixon

It's never too late...and, you are never too old.

Extraordinary lives are always worth watching. Especially when gentility, spirit and grace are thrown into the faces of racists, homophobes and transphobes...what a life, what a story...a remarkable man indeed.

And...what a comfortable film to watch...not so much like easy-listening, this is more inspirational and aspirational, you just never know when that much sought after recognition comes knocking at you door. This is the epitome of: Never give up!

It may sound a little strange...but, watching this film reminded me of Rudyard Kipling's If - one of the finest poems written, this is one of the finest lives led.


Short films...just click on the pic to get the review...

Depth of Perception

Mach Stem Queering Di Tekholojik They Looked At Me And I Smiled May 35 Scat


Day 10...

Dont Look Down

Don't Look Down
by Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau

Odd...strangely compelling...but, definitely odd...in an absurdist sort of way.

Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau seem to be channeling Jean-Paul Satre, there's a whiff of his 'No Exit' surrounding Haut perchés - so, you wouldn't be wrong in thinking that an existential vibe permeates throughout this peculiar offering. Not everyone's cup of tea and - quite possible - not everyone's cup of coffee either...it is a challenging bit of work that would have benefited more from the few [rather bizarre] scenes of levity...the 'flossing' scene is an instant, weirdly and insanely out-of-place [in a good way] classic. The film just needed a bit more of that insanity.

Saying that...this is an insane film...and, considering there is only one set [an apartment with a rather lovely Parisian rooftop view], the cinematography is slick and colourful. The performances...each character has their moment...and, can't be faulted. It's an interesting, technically accomplished film...it [too] has its moments, it just needed more of them and, perhaps, a few less words.

Anne Anne+
by Valerie Bisscheroux

This really is aimed at a particular demographic...young-ish lesbian professionals...who like to date lots and lots of women.

When you think about it young European lesbians are grossly under-represented on television...so, this goes some way in making amends. The appeal, perhaps, is that of shared experiences...note comparing on girlfriends past, present and future...the good, the bad and the downright insane choices [of partner] we have all experienced.

Unfortunately, for us, the production values veer more towards that of a web series rather than a fully fledged television production...which, for us, is its downfall. Each episode runs for an average of 20 minutes, bite size...we prefer something we can really sink our teeth into!

Still, Channel 4 [in the UK] have picked it up and all episodes are available to stream on their website. So...it is enjoying some success.

The LawyerThe Lawyer
by Romas Zabarauskas

As they say, practice should always allow room for improvement [if it doesn't, it's time to give up]...this is Romas Zabarauskas' third feature...and, as a filmmaker, he has improved...exponentially. But, as they say, there's always room for more improvement...when an auteur finds their cinematic voice, it's time to dispense with those [film-school-ish] gimmicks...let that voice be heard without the bells and whistles.

The Lawyer will resonate and ruffle [quite a few feathers]...Mr Zabarauskas is - hallelujah - not afraid to give the 'snowflake mentality' a bit of a slap across their collective chops...whether it be trans issues, identity, gay4pay, bisexuality, migration...basically, all those hot topics à la mode - he presents quite a feast of controversy...all served [deliciously] without [even a hint of] indignant melodrama. Well done!

Nothing is quite what it seems...nor, is anyone quite who they seem. On the surface, there are clear [and cloudy] motives...but, are they so cut-and-dry? Who - really - is pulling whose strings? This really is a rather splendid game of understated cat-and-mouse...obviously, the lawyer is perceived to be the puppet master. But, his 'refugee' puppet is poised and prepared to cut those strings at the best [most beneficial] time. This is intrigue and intriguing to watch...but, when beauty-and-brains are involved [Dogac Yildiz's character has each in abundance], it becomes a powder-keg waiting to explode. The ending does suggest that Mr Zabarauskas has not finished with this story...will there be a sequel?

If there is...keep the intrigue, keep the magnificent use of music, keep the cinematographer, keep the actors. Get rid of the filters, that black-and-white [nonsensical and eye-jarring] gimmick and all those superfluous storylines and scenes...make it more about the puppet and the master, who is who...and then, Mr Zabarauskas, you will have a mighty fine conclusion to your already tantalising story.  

Pride & Protest

Pride & Protest
by Blaise Singh

Sometimes...words [utterly] fail. 

If ever there was a 'documentary' made...that would make you feel embarrassed to be a member of the LGBT community...then, this is it!

Rather than offend...by [easily] ripping this apart...we shall resist and desist.

All we say is...drama queens do not make good activists. And, anti-semitic, transphobes should not be given - despite their faux apology - any [atoning] airtime whatsoever.

An ill-conceived, badly-managed, snowflake-drenched, more-cringe-than-worthy, vanity project.  


Day 11...

Short films...just click on the pic to get the review...

Wonders of the Universe

Knowingly Unknown Leo & Alex Girl Sweetvoiced Lone Wolf 6 23am Dinner Date 2019 I Know Her 2019

Keep on Living

My Sweet Prince Positions Crypsis Stray Dogs Come Out At Night Miller & Son 

Go Through It

Pompeii Dungarees The Passing 2019 Memoirs Of A Geeza Something In The Closet Eyelash Heart To Heart

And that's it...thank you Flare :)


And, finally, here are all the other films in the programme that we never got to watch...click on the pic!

Clementine Drag Kids Queer Genius Young Hunter We Are The Radical Monarchs 

Pier Kids Busy Inside No Hard Feelings Make Up BloodSisters

Midnight Kiss Transkids Spiral  2019 Sequin In A Blue Room Justine 2021

La Leyenda Negra The Prince Memories Of A Teenager Ellie & Abbie T11 Incomplete

Queering The Script Changing The Game Flawless Lingua Franca Steelers 

Suk Suk A Night At Switch N Play Sixth Happiness Summerland

And...these are the short films...

Sheer Qorma The Summer House The Future El Destello Mack Wrestles Father Figure

My World In Yours Fag PD 2019 Womxn GUO4 Broth Of Vigour When The Androgynous Child

How To Live Your Life Correctly Wherever You Want Bathroom Privileges Sweet Mother 2019