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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 22
The LGBT films of SIFF: Week one
Arts & Entertainment
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The LGBT films of SIFF: Week one

by Herb Krohn SGN Contributing Writer Each year, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) brings great films to Seattle from around the globe, and the SGN reviews the best LGBT movies the festival has to offer. SIFF runs until June 13 at various venues around Seattle. For a full list of films, visit www.siff.net.

Every Day
Rating: Very Good
Family Drama
May 29, 11 a.m., Neptune,
June 11, 7 p.m., Kirkland


A middle-aged screenwriter with a zany Gay boss and a Gay son struggles in midlife when his wife brings her ailing, alcoholic, wheelchair-bound father whom she dislikes home to live with the family. He struggles to come to terms with his uncomfortable feelings around his teenaged son's budding sexuality, and must deal with the erratic demands of his boss, who orders him to team up with a sexy co-worker to improve his scripts so they are more shocking. Meanwhile, his wife is struggling to come to grips with her father's presence.

What this film really is about is the importance of family, and how vital these relationships really are when it comes to the bigger picture of life, love, and the passage of time. In the end, it is just a slice-of-life kind of film that conveys a poignant realistic message about familial bonds. Using humor, compassion, and social situations, this is a solid drama that is well-made, worthwhile, and realistic.

From Beginning
to End
Rating: Outstanding
Social Drama
Brazil - Subtitles
June 2, 4:30 p.m., Egyptian


This extremely controversial film by Brazilian director Aluizio dives headfirst into one of the original great social taboos: incest. The film tells the story of two very indulged half-brothers of a wealthy Rio de Janeiro couple. The two young boys are inseparable and very affectionate towards each other. Although the parents are concerned about their closeness, worrying that as they mature things may go in the wrong direction, they are unwilling to intervene and convey any message to their boys that would cause guilt or shame or prevent them from being close to each other as brothers. Once they mature into young men, the film launches into graphic depictions of their incestuous relationship with one another, and the recognition and acceptance of this by their one remaining parent as well as others within their social circle. The film clearly demonstrates their affection towards each other as adorable pre-pubescent brothers, which causes adults to notice that it is unusual in their formative years.

This film benefits from very high production values and makes good use of on-location sites in Brazil and Argentina. Yet what makes this unusual film so remarkable is the way the filmmaker has addressed such disturbing subject matter so that the audience will relate to and sympathize with the lives and experiences of the film's characters and their love and close bond with each other as brothers. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the adult brothers are portrayed by two very handsome and attractive actors who shed their clothes and bare lots of skin in several erotic scenes. After the screening, there was considerable discussion outside the theater by those in the audience. This contentious SIFF entry raises lots of questions about social values and stigmas, and that is exactly what makes this an outstanding must-see film - the controversy! It is one of those rare films that will leave you thinking about the issues it raises for days afterwards, and while their relationship is disconcerting, it is skillfully conveyed.

Loose Cannons
Rating: Very Good
Humorous Melodrama
Italy - Subtitled


Antonio and Tammaso Cantone are the two sons in a family that owns a pasta company. When one of the brothers unexpectedly comes out, he foils his brother's plan to escape the clutches of having to take over the family business by being disowned. The patriarch then places all of his hopes and dreams onto younger brother Tammaso, and soon things spiral out of control when his friends come to visit and the truth seems destined to reveal itself. While there is little new ground in the plot, it is nonetheless a fun, easy-to-watch film that again demonstrates the talent and ability of Italian filmmakers. Another worthwhile 2010 SIFF entry.

Mundane History
Rating: Below Average
Drama
Thailand - Subtitled


A 20ish male nurse is hired by a professor to care for his recently paralyzed 20-something son. Initially angry and hostile, the son gradually comes around and begins to relate and bond with his able-bodied aide. With some graphic masturbation scenes, this film is slow moving in its pacing, as is common in films from Thailand. The performances are solid, the situation is realistic and believable, but it suffers from just moving too slowly making it difficult to sit patiently and wait for something to happen.

Paris Return
Rating: Below Average
Documentary
France/Israel - Subtitled
June 11, 7 p.m.
June 13, 1:30 p.m.,
Harvard Exit


This documentary profiles an aging longtime Gay couple who resides in Paris, France. The younger partner, Pierluigi, originally hailed from Italy, and the older partner, Revuen, has a desire to move back to his childhood homeland of Israel, where his brother resides. They have begun to try to sell some of their belongings and have started planning, however they seem to be struggling with this and have not completely decided to move. An upcoming visit to Israel will help them decide. The filmmakers follow the two around at length, so most of the film is interview footage of them in Paris as they wax nostalgic over the convergence of their lives many years before in this city. It quickly becomes apparent that they both love their adopted hometown as they struggle with their future.

While an interesting documentary profile about an aging Gay couple, it really is not absorbing or particularly interesting in its length of 71 minutes. With considerable editing, it would be an interesting topic for a significantly shorter film.

The Topp
Twins:
Untouchable
Girls
Rating:
Outstanding
Documentary
New Zealand
May 30, 7:00 p.m.
May 31, 11:00 a.m., Egyptian


Sometimes it is better not to count on published SIFF guides to judge whether or not to see a particular film, especially if it describes the subject as "yodeling Lesbian twins." This description of this entry just fails to do justice to the subjects - twin sisters Jools and Lynda Topp, who have been performing as singers and comediennes in New Zealand for the past 30 years. The film uses archival footage of the identical twin teenaged girls performing years ago, and follows their remarkable careers from working on their family's farm through the military and as street performers to earn beer money. What really makes them amazing is not only their talent - which is described as sounding as though they are singing in stereo - but also their comic portrayals of characters which the rural residents of New Zealand so strongly relate to and have popularized. They are very famous in their native land, even having starred in their own multi-year television series.

Yes, they do yodel, but that is only a small portion of their abilities as outstanding vocal performers and comics who have advanced the cause of LGBT rights in rural communities in New Zealand by being out since the inception of their careers as performers and taking the lead on political issues without hesitation. This film will have you leaving the theatre with their vocals and tunes etched into your memory. It is an outstanding and interesting biographical profile of these two remarkably talented performers. Director Leanne Pooley and the Topp twins are expected to attend.

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