Previewing the 38th edition of Frameline, “a.k.a. the world’s oldest and largest LGBT film festival,” opening today in San Francisco and running through June 29, Michael Hawley writes: “This year’s event boasts films from 31 countries, spread across nearly 80 narrative and documentary features and 18 programs of shorts…. Out of 14 films previewed, my top Frameline38 pick is Bruce LaBruce‘s sweetly comic Gerontophilia.” See, too, the reviews from last year’s Venice and Toronto festivals. “Given the emergence of a kinder, gentler Bruce LaBruce, I suspect the most transgressive film in Frameline38 may well be David Wnendt’s Wetlands, a German entry that has caused a ruckus everywhere it’s been screened.” The first round of reviews came out of Locarno.
The Bay Guardian naturally previews dozens of titles. Here’s Dennis Harvey on Cupcakes: “After a run of politically tinged features, Eytan Fox (2002’s Yossi & Jagger, 2004’s Walk on Water) goes the Almodóvar-lite route with this flyweight comedy about a Eurovision-style song contest.” For Lynn Rapoport, Desiree Akhavan’s Appropriate Behavior “has a comic looseness that occasionally verges on shapelessness, but the stray bits are entertaining too.” Cheryl Eddy recommends Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story, a documentary about “a 20-year, highly-decorated veteran of the Navy SEALs. During her time in the military, she was known as Christopher… A badass who survived multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, with a wry sense of humor and an easygoing, thoughtful personality, Beck is also an inspiration—an American hero on multiple levels.”
Sherilyn Connelly for the SF Weekly: “Harkening back to Frameline’s early days is Hervé Joseph Lebrun’s documentary Mondo Homo: A Study of French Gay Porn in the ’70s, which is exactly what it sounds like, with plenty of explicit footage of handlebar mustaches, glory holes, and other delights of d’Estaing-era France…. And this year’s documentary centerpiece is To Be Takei, the new picture from It Came from Kuchar director Jennifer Kroot about the Internet-beloved gay icon, Star Trek veteran, internment camp survivor, and living embodiment of joie de vivre George Takei, who is expected to be on hand to accept the Frameline Award.”
/bent, “a queer blog” from Indiewire overseen by Peter Knegt, has been spending June, Pride Month, “asking our readers to tell us the films, television shows, books, songs and people (both fictional and real) that have been important to them in the past 45 years.” The results of four polls have been posted so far. Meantime, /bent plans to be all over Frameline and recommends ten films from the lineup. One of them is Sophie Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays: “Winner of the best director award at Sundance (for World Cinema), this heartbreaking Australian drama follows sixteen-year-old Billie, whose path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans for to transition to from female to male, and their time together becomes limited to Tuesdays.”
Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s The Case Against 8 makes every list of must-sees. Here’s David Wiegand in the Chronicle: “Looking back on the legal battle that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision on California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage couldn’t be more timely. It also makes for a riveting film. Even knowing the outcome, watching 8… is like watching a well-scripted legal thriller.”
“Given the weighty task of designating twenty-five LGBTQ films as canonical, I confess to being a bit nervous.” That’s filmmaker Jenni Olsen at the top of her excellent list here in Keyframe. Meantime, have you looked over our LGBTQ Spotlight yet?
Update, 6/21: Tim Sika introduces his guide to the highlights at Eat Drink Films: “The global mission of Frameline—’to change the world through the power of queer cinema’—is becoming more evident with each passing year, as exemplified by this festival’s increased number of quality, content-rich and technically polished films—an astonishing 214 in number—featuring an incredibly diverse array of comedies, documentaries, dramas, music and sports feature films and shorts from more than 30 countries.”
Update, 6/27: At Eat Drink Films, Tien-Tien L. Jong focuses on the Spotlight: LGBT Films in Today’s Russia: “It would be challenging to find a more salient and urgent topic to address at this year’s Frameline considering the targeted decimation and destruction of LGBT visibility and rights that have taken place in Vladimir Putin’s Russia over the past 12 months. The four programs that make up this Spotlight series (2 dramas, 1 documentary, and 1 shorts program) come together to paint a striking picture of life in contemporary Russia for gay and lesbian individuals living in an increasingly hostile society since the critical passage of what has come to be known as the ‘Gay Propaganda Law’ in June 2013, and should be considered essential viewing.”