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SIFF enters last weekend
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SIFF enters last weekend

by Herb Krohn - SGN Contributing Writer

The Country Teacher
Czech Republic (subtitled)
Drama
Rating: Very Good

A late-20s teacher leaves Prague and the school where his mother teaches moves to the country and take up teaching elementary school there. It isn't initially clear why the teacher left the city, but soon after his ex-partner shows up and begs him to return and a visit to his parents, we get a bit of a clearer picture of why he left. He is a very popular instructor and befriends many of the locals, especially a single farmer mom of a very attractive yet troubled teenager. Mom takes a liking to the teacher and makes a pass at him, which is rejected. When the ex-partner makes his appearance events begin to spiral out of control leading to a self-inflicted crisis for the teacher. This film has very good production values and realistic performances with good plot development, together it makes for a solid film of LGBT interest; let's hope it gets a commercial release in the USA.

An Island Calling
New Zealand
Documentary
Rating: Very Good

In 2001, a Gay couple living in Fiji was murdered, one of the partners was a member of a very prominent British colonial family who had resided there for three generations. John Scott and his partner, Greg Scrivener, had moved back to the island years before; John, as the head of the Red Cross, had been instrumental in saving the lives of hostages taken in a failed coup attempt in 2000. The murderer had been a friend of theirs who had moved away. Was it motivated by religious or ethnic hate, or heterosexism or just retaliation for colonialism? This interesting documentary attempts to explore what happened and why. Even more surprising is the outcome of the investigation and trial. This is a solid documentary entry, compiled in a unique way through the eyes of John's brother Owen as the lead documentary interviewer and narrator. This one is a well done production that keeps the viewers interests. It may be coming to a theatre near you soon.

Fruit Fly
USA (subtitled)
Comedy Musical
Rating: Below Average

This film, targeting the Gay Asian market, is a musical production about a group of 20-somethings who live together in a house of creative artists near the Castro District in San Francisco. The story centers on Bethesda, a young Filipino who had been adopted. Her parents died and she went off to the Philippines in search of her biological parents. She has just returned from Asia to San Francisco, where she wants to her performance art project which profiles her journey. Made on a low budget by writer H.P. Mendoza (Colma: The Musical) in his directorial debut. This production is a worthwhile effort, but it still really lacks a cohesive plot and the ending never really brings it all together, it almost seems as though they are grasping for a storyline. The musical performances are very well done, and this worthwhile effort demonstrates the talent of this up-and-coming LGBT cast and crew.

Little Joe
USA
Documentary
Rating: Average

Joe Dallesandro was widely known in Gay circles in the early 1970s as the very hot star of such underground films as Trash and Heat, which were cutting-edge titillating films with lots of nudity and non-graphic sex. Discovered by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey, who made him a star, Little Joe (from a moniker tattooed on his arm) was really one hot early beefcake model. This documentary feature (Dallesandro wrote it) is an interesting look at this man's background, rise to fame, and his career. Filled with lots of pictures and film footage from his early career in the US and Europe, it is a flick with plenty of eye candy. As far as substance goes, well it's all about Little Joe and his life, he really lets it all hang out, both physically as well as answering most everything you would ever want to know. While it's not remarkable, it is really amazing that this icon of Gay masculinity has gone on to continue to work in films throughout his life, having now made 51 films as an actor. If you like Dallesandro or are interested in the genre of early Warhol films or early nude underground films with Gay characters than this is film for you.

Mommy Is At The Hairdresser's
Canada (subtitled)
Rating: Outstanding

What a film! With similarities to the feature film Far From Heaven with its homage to director Douglas Sirk, this film tackles similar subject matter from an entirely different perspective: that of the children in the household. Set in the early 1960s, we see a traditional nuclear family before, during, and after the disclosure of a same-sex escapade by the father. The story is told mostly through the eyes of the eldest early teenaged sister who strives to hold onto her two younger brothers through the wreckage of their parents' marriage. It is set from the end of the school year through summer to the beginning of the next year and how the world has changed only over the course of a summer break.

Talhotblond
USA
Documentary
Rating: Excellent

This documentary is one fascinating production, telling the true story of an internet love triangle gone bad that results in a murder of an innocent young man in upstate New York. Real life is often stranger than fiction and this eerie true tale proves it. This film is a must-see for anyone and everyone who has ever sought out friendship, partnership, or sex on the internet! Told through interviews with many of the participants and their families, as well as photographs, and transcripts of the actual internet text conversations, this production tells the story in a factual and non-sensational, unbiased way. It really raises lots of questions about internet freedom and regulation, individual culpability, as well as if and how should the web be policed, and if so, by whom. An absolute must-see; don't miss it!

Telstar
UK
Biopic
Rating: Very Good

Joe Meek was an early musical production pioneer who lived in London. This film centers on approximately seven years of his life, the music he made, and how naturally gifted as recording producer he was even without any formal instruction. Meek was also Gay, mentally unstable, and clearly addicted to speed, which obviously had a significant impact on his emotional instability. This film is fascinating to see because it covers the very early growth of rock and roll as a market and demonstrates how remarkable it is that many of the top rock hits of that era were produced in such primitive and wildly experimental recording studios. This film does not tell a very happy tale; nonetheless, it is based on factual events and conveys a part of rock and roll music history that needs to be told. See it and be amazed!

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