Tag: Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

5 New Queer Documentaries on Queer Day 2018 by IDFA

5 New Queer Documentaries on Queer Day 2018 by IDFA

November 19, IDFA (International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam) held the sixth edition of Queer Day. Queer Day 2018 kicked off with a video essay by queer artist Finn Paul, followed by a visit to Rio de Janeiro through the eyes of transgender icon Luana Muniz and a look into the life of Mexican wrestler Cassandro de Exotico. The day winded up with a portrait of performance artist Linn da Quebrada in Bixa Travesty with a live performance by Guillermo Blinker (OTION) and ended with an intimate portrait of a porn star in Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life In between these last two films, the audience was welcome at the Queer Drinks in the foyer of EYE. I could not stay until the very end, but I can tell you what I thought of the first four documentaries.

‘5 New Queer Documentaries on IDFA’s Queer Day’ November 19, IDFA held the sixth edition of Queer Day. They showed five new documentaries of which I was able to watch four: Beside the Water, Bixa Travesty, Obscuro Barroco, and Cassandro, the Exotico! Here, you can read what I thought about them so you can decide if you want to watch them yourself: http://bit.ly/QueerDay18

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First documentary on Queer Day 2018: Beside the water, 1999-2004 by Finn Paul

Info by IDFA: Queer artist Finn Paul tells the story of transgender sexual awakening in this provocative video essay that looks back at the early 2000s when transgender lives were less visible. He energetically combines both history and photographs of lovers to create a personal story of sexual discovery. Real and imaginary events blend in a mix of erotic snapshots, found footage, home videos, postcards, and desert landscapes. At the same time, he criticizes the misconceptions about queer people that existed at the time.

Finn Paul not only delves into his own personal collection but also creates new, imagined images. This way, he proposes alternative ways to bring a trans-past to the surface of his memory. This unconventional video diary rewrites the past to herald a queer future, with a place for pleasure, sincerity, and beauty.

My experience

An essay film is not the type of movie I usually watch. There were some moving images but mostly photos. It was interesting to see and hear these different types of footage, such as listening to a voicemail and watching a photo of an envelope that once contained a love letter. It is exactly why I love visiting film festivals; they open up a world to you that you may not have looked for yourself. It felt like a visit to the museum while simply sitting in your chair. So, I am happy that IDFA and the director offered me this opportunity. It is definitely a creative piece of work.

In terms of story or impact, it did not really move me personally but I can understand that if you are transgender yourself, this short documentary can be of much value to you given the fact that much transgender history is erased or hidden.

Second documentary on Queer Day 2018: Obscuro Barroco by Evangelia Kranioti

Info by IDFA: [This] is a spellbinding, hallucinatory film essay that wanders off the beaten narrative track and takes us to Rio de Janeiro, the go-to city for anyone wanting to transform into a new version of themselves at the exhilarating, gender-bending carnival, or one of the many nightclubs for the queer scene.

This visual homage meanders through the steamy clubs, the vivid carnival parades with their buttock-shaking dancers, and the raging protests, before drifting onwards into the nocturnal streets of Rio, a city of extremes where queer culture is in full bloom.

Our guide and narrator is the famous Brazilian transgender activist Luana Muniz (1961-2017), who is sensual and melancholy as she recites lines of poetry from Clarice Lispector’s experimental monologue Água Viva. Reflections on identity, aging, and self-expression all flow into the lights of Rio. Political events that herald a new conservative era seep into the background of this dizzying dream.

My experience

I do not really know what to say about this documentary. It felt very much like a dream. You see Luana Muniz but not enough to establish a real connection with her. You see many different images from Rio, which offer very bright and beautiful colors. In the meantime, you hear this poem being recited. I was constantly wondering what it all meant. As a result, I was not really present, which may have distracted me from the true meaning of the documentary. I can see that it was very creative, though.

Third documentary on Queer Day 2018: Cassandro, the Exotico! by Marie Losier

Info by IDFA: Cassandro is often referred to as the Liberace of lucha libre (Spanish for “freestyle wrestling”). This tough Mexican show wrestler wears glittering costumes and has more than earned his wrestling stripes in his gender-bending exótico persona. In this intimate 16mm portrait, we follow this likable entertainer and athlete in the twilight of his 26-year career. His body is, at last, succumbing to the years of broken bones, concussions, and alcohol and drug abuse.

The characteristic color palette of this analog film perfectly complements Cassandro’s life: his spectacular costumes, his home filled with trinkets and the poor neighborhood where he grew up. On just a few occasions the protagonist himself appears in a Skype conversation. These are often his darkest moments, and it’s in these scenes that director Marie Losier becomes most deeply involved. Cassandro needs to reconcile himself with the prospect of his impending retirement. But without the spotlight, who is he?

My experience

Because we closely follow one person, I was drawn in much more than in the previous documentaries. When Cassandro is happy or cracking jokes, you laugh with him. When he tells you about his dark past, upcoming retirement or relapse, you feel for him. And when he is adjusting his hair for the umpteenth time, you chuckle at his vanity. You admire his perseverance when you see his scars, x-rays, and casts. Finally, when you see him jump from the ceiling during wrestling matches, you understand his talent.

Fourth documentary on Queer Day: Bixa Travesty by Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman

Info by IDFA: Raw, vital and sometimes very intimate portrait of the Brazilian artiste Linn da Quebrada, a “tranny fag” who uses her own body as her medium of political expression. Her performances are confrontational, subversive and colorful—and they offer no room at all for a heteronormative perspective. She deconstructs the self-image of the alpha man and examines what a tranny fag really is.

Public and private life are completely intertwined in this journey of discovery, with discussions about gender and how to define it—or undefine it—taking place in the shower, in the bedroom, and on the radio. We see Linn da Quebrada sharing tender moments with her family, during playful exchanges with friends and bursting with self-confidence onstage.

My experience

I am happy to have watched this. Quite a few people walked out, though. Were they offended by the many genitals shown? Were they bored by the huge amount of text spoken, sung or shouted? It shows that no matter what you think of this documentary, you will have an opinion. And is that not precisely the reason why art exists? To challenge you and the world around you?

For me, I have seen enough penises for a while but I enjoyed the moments when they sat down for the radio shows. There, they stripped away most of the show and came back to their message. That is when I really listened.

Queer Day 2018

Queer Day 2018 was the second time I visited IDFA’s Queer Day. Last year, I watched Chavela, Queerama, This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, and Mr. Gay Syria. I have to say that Queer Day had a bigger impact on me last year. I feel the 2017 program was more diverse in terms of stories from the entire LGBTQIA community. And if I have to compare Chavela and Mr. Gay Syria, which I have seen winning quite a few awards over the year and shown at many different film festivals, with Cassandro, the Exotico! and Bixa Travesty, then I think the first two movies have a longer-lasting effect on its audiences. Bixa Travesty does have the potential to win some awards because it is so very outspoken. However, that may also be what works against it. Time will tell!

With a Kiss I Die [LGBTQ Movie Review]

With a Kiss I Die

In this Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Review, I discuss With a Kiss I Die, which was released a few hours ago. It tells the story of Juliet Capulet (of Shakespearean fame), who is plucked from death and turned into a vampire. She is forced to live all eternity without her sweet Romeo. Now, 800 years later, Juliet meets a young woman, who captures her heart again. But Juliet’s new family, headed by a blood-thirsty patriarch, disapproves of the pairing. Juliet must once again choose between love and family obligations, terrified that repeating her past mistakes will lead to even more tragedy.

The combination of Shakespeare and vampires had me intrigued but also scared: would it be any good? I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the preview. Below, I will list three things that I like about With a Kiss I Die and at the end of the blog post, you will read what the perfect mood is for watching this movie.  If you prefer video, you can watch my three-minute review below this image.

‘With a Kiss I Die’ In this Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movies Review, I discuss With a Kiss I Die, which was released a few hours ago. The combination of Shakespeare and vampires had me intrigued but also scared: would it be any good? I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the preview. Here, I list three things that I like about With a Kiss I Die and describe the perfect mood for watching this movie: http://bit.ly/WithaKissIDie

What I liked about With a Kiss I Die: not intended to be an LGBTQ movie

With a Kiss I Die was never intended to be a lesbian or LGBTQ movie. As I was informed, director Ronnie Khalil was looking to give the best parts to the best actors, not just actors that fit the mold. He made the decision to cast a woman as Juliet’s love interest as well as the decision to cast a black woman as Juliet, who historically is an Italian character.

“It was originally just a boy/girl love story but when we were casting, we liked a lot of the girls auditioning and my casting director suggested pairing them up,” says Khalil. “I was open to the idea and when we had them read together, it really made the script pop.”

Khalil and his writing team then decided not to rewrite the script because characters changed gender. That means you will find no lesbian clichés in this movie. It is not a coming-out story or any other story we have seen over and over again. The two main characters being two women in love never is a topic of discussion. It just is. I find that very refreshing.

What I liked about With a Kiss I Die: almost like watching a play

With a Kiss I Die feels like watching a play. It is very theatrical in a way. I think it is in the way the colors change subtly. It is definitely in the slower pace. It is also in the way the actors have specific spots on the screen, especially during the meeting with the patriarch at the end. Without a doubt, this movie is very different from other vampire movies you may have seen.

What I liked about With a Kiss I Die: the international look and feel

With a Kiss I Die gives you a unique international look and feel. The movie was shot at two different Greek islands, which allows for beautiful colors and scenery.

In addition, the two main characters have a British and an American accent and the main supporting characters have a Greek accent when they speak English. You can tell they are all very talented. I particularly liked the actor who played the cousin. He was so animalistic, which for me was expressed mostly in the way he used his mouth. All in all, the cast was a pleasure to watch.

What is the perfect mood for watching this movie?

This movie is perfect if you want a bit of a slower night. It is also perfect if you want to watch a Shakespeare-themed movie without watching the classic adaptions over and over again. Finally, the movie is perfect if you simply want to watch two beautiful women being in love without the being women part posing the main problem of the movie.

Where can I watch it?

On the movie’s website, you can find all the ways you can watch the movie. I will share some of them with you here. You can order the DVD. For instance, Barnes and Noble has it. The movie is also widely available with Video on Demand. Examples include Amazon and iTunes. The only social media account that I found was on Facebook so you can follow the movie there. I hope you enjoy the movie!

You may also like my other LGBTQ Movies Reviews: Carmen & Lola, Rafiki, Freelancers Anonymous, The Date, A Girl’s Band, Girl, Different for GirlsNobody Famous, Love, Simon, and Becks.

Love, Simon – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

Love, Simon – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

This week in Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews, you will find the 3 things that I like about Love, Simon and the perfect mood for watching it. Being in my thirties, I am probably not the target audience for this movie. Still, l enjoyed watching it because I feel this coming-out story goes further than other coming-out stories and it had some good jokes. You can find Love, Simon on Amazon and iTunes.

‘Love, Simon – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews’ This week in Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews, you will find the 3 things that I like about Love, Simon and the perfect mood for watching it. Being in my thirties, I am probably not the target audience for this movie but I still l enjoyed watching it: http://bit.ly/LSimon

What I liked about Love, Simon: It is a coming-out story

Yes, there are a lot of coming-out stories. Yes, our community needs more storylines than just people coming out or falling in love. I agree.

However, I also believe that in this day and age, with increasingly more hate crimes, fear, and intolerance, the teenagers of our community still need new coming-out stories, especially men. Consequently, I welcome Love, Simon with open arms, even though the protagonist is a white, cis-gender kid from American suburbs. We definitely need more diversity within the coming-out genre but Love, Simon is very much needed as well.

What I liked about Love, Simon: it is not a classic coming-out story

If Love, Simon only had a coming-out story, the audience would no longer have been engaged and moved. Coming-out stories need more material to do that. Instead of a whodunnit, Love, Simon turns into a whowasit. The twist to this story is that you know whodunnit when Simon’s emails were made public but you do not know whowasit when Blue signed his emails. The quest for Blue makes it interesting. At times, if you recognize the same disappointments from your younger years, the quest also makes this movie slightly painful to watch.

What I liked about Love, Simon: the protagonist is not perfect

Another thing that I liked about Love, Simon was that Simon was not perfect. You were not feeling sorry for him the entire time simply because he had a hard time coming to terms with his sexual orientation. I do not want to give away any spoilers but trying to hide the fact that he is gay, he did mean things to his friends behind their backs, putting his interests before those of his friends.

In addition, there is one other gay kid in his school, called Ethan. Simon admits he was not seeking contact with him because he felt they were not the same, assuming that Ethan would probably fall for him. Simon gets a reality check when Ethan says that Simon’s attire is not really what does it for him either…

So, Simon had to learn a few things about tolerance and empathy himself, which made this coming-out story enjoyable for me to watch.

The perfect mood for watching Love, Simon

If you are not in your teenage years anymore, you might be somewhat apprehensive about watching this movie. Will you be able to relate and enjoy yourself? From experience, I can tell you that you can. My wife and I both laughed quite a few times as there were some really nice jokes. Also, certain situations were so awkward that we could not help but laugh.

Fun fact: One of my contact lenses fell out right before the movie started. So, I had to watch it like that. Even under these circumstances, I completely enjoyed myself!

Want to watch or read the story?

As I said, you can watch Love, Simon on Amazon and iTunes. The movie is based on the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which you can find on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Rakuten Kobo, Book Depository, Audible, and Bol.com.

You might also enjoy my other two episodes of the Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews: Becks and Nobody Famous.

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Nobody Famous – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

Nobody Famous – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

This week in Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews, you will find the 3 things that I like about Nobody Famous and the perfect mood for watching it. The movie was released May 29 and you can watch it on Vimeo and iTunes. Thanks, Gravitas Ventures, for letting me watch a preview!

‘Nobody Famous – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews’ This week in Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews, you will find the 3 things that I like about Nobody Famous and the perfect mood for watching it. Find them here: http://bit.ly/NobodyFamousMR

What I liked about Nobody Famous: it is not a scary movie

I have been following Adrianna DiLonardo and Sarah Rotella’s Pillow Talks for a few years now and when I heard they made another feature film (after Almost Adults), I was immediately intrigued.

Then, the trailer dropped and I felt a bit apprehensive: was this going to be a scary movie? Because I cannot watch scary movies. As in, Wynonna Earp gave me nightmares. Yes, I am that bad watching something scary.  And that trailer looked a bit scary to me.

I thought it was going to be the classic “somebody is murdering all the people in a cabin in the woods (and they all suspect each other)” storyline.  It might be classic but that is still too scary for me. Still, I had to watch Nobody Famous.

And thank goodness, it was not a scary movie. The synopsis describes Nobody Famous as a dark comedy and that is exactly it. Let’s be real, in a way, the storyline is quite scary, just not in the “I am going to jump up from my chair now” type of scary!

What I liked about Nobody Famous: the attack on actors’ egos

I can image Adrianna and Sarah have seen their fair share of actors. I absolutely need to know where Adrianna got her inspiration from when she wrote this script. The jealousy and the egos of the actors are so out there that I am wondering whether anyone Adrianna and Sarah know is precisely like this. I hope it is just a gathering of many, many personalities all wrapped up into five characters.

I mean, I hung around with amateur actors but they were nowhere near these characters. However, I can imagine that actors’ attitudes change the moment they leave acting school and everybody is fighting for the same roles. This intense, though?

I do not remember how many times I have thought “Oh, no” or Oh, God” when a character said another line or took another selfie. In this respect, Ricky is the most fun (or the most annoying) to watch, with Valerie being a good second.

What I liked about Nobody Famous: the duration of the movie

I do not like how most of the movies released right now are at least two hours long. Many times, they would have been much better sticking to a shorter duration. Before hitting play, I was happy to see Nobody Famous lasted 1.5 hours.

That duration was perfect for this movie. Once Dani was gone (and you need some time to process what you have just seen), I wondered whether the movie was finished or what was in store for me now. How do you go from a scene like that to an ending? There are several routes to take and I certainly was not expecting this one. Maybe I should have, considering the central role the actors’ egos play in this story. It definitely gave me a chuckle.

Is it gay though?

After watching the trailer on YouTube, I scrolled down the comment section. The biggest (and angriest) question was: Is it gay though? The answer is yes. Oh, by gay you mean two women lusting after each other? Then, the answer is no. Dear people, open up your minds a bit more. If that is your prerequisite for watching an LGBTQ movie or a movie created by two out women, you must be missing out on a lot!

The perfect mood for watching Nobody Famous

If you want to watch something fun, have a few chuckles, see some exaggerations, and be amazed by where your ego can take you, Nobody Famous is the right choice. The scenery is beautiful, the dialogues are funny, and you are constantly wondering where this is going (and it might not be where you thought it was going). So, if this is your mood, go to Vimeo or iTunes to watch it.

You may also like: Becks – Short  & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

Becks – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

Becks – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

This week, you can find the very first review of my blog and vlog series called Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews. As the name says, these reviews will be short and sweet and they will be accompanied by a short and sweet vlog. This week, I will talk about Becks and I will try not to give away (too many) spoilers. I mentioned before that I really wanted to watch it and now I have, so here it goes!

‘Becks – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews’ In this week’s Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews, I talk about Becks. I list the 4 things that I like about this movie and explain the perfect mood for watching it. You can find it here: http://bit.ly/BecksMR

What I liked about Becks: the music

The first thing that I liked about Becks was that music was a big part of the movie without the movie immediately having to be a musical. I love musicals but sometimes, you just want to listen to good music and normal dialogues. Moreover, it turned out I actually liked the songs. I mean, sometimes I either hate the lyrics or the voice but no, this time, I sincerely enjoyed the songs.

 

What I liked about Becks: the actors

Lena Hall looks like someone I could be. I mean, if I was able to sing songs. Still, she seemed so normal. I could relate to her. I always find Mena Suvari a joy to watch so I was happy to find out she was in this movie and that she played an LGBTQ character.

Oh, and I did not know Hayley Kiyoko yet. I did not know Lesbian Jesus yet?! No, I live under a rock, sorry. I liked this introduction to her though. I thought she had a really interesting face to follow and I always love it when people take on the role of an egocentric person. You love to hate her but in the short moments you see her and Becks together, you do see the affection. Rather than merely portraying her as a bitch, the movie makes you understand why they were together.

What I liked about Becks: the ending

I liked the ending and I did not. Watch it and you know why. The entire movie, you are wondering whether this is just going to be the cliché falling-for-a-straight-chick storyline but if you though so, the ending might surprise you.

What I liked about Becks: the party

You know the party. You are the only LGBTQ person. But wait! You will not be for long because so-and-so is coming. Wink, wink. You already feel awkward without the person actually being at the party but things only become more awkward when the other person arrives.

Alternatively, you are the person being promised to the other guest. You arrive and you notice immediately that you have failed to meet expectations without knowing that you were supposed to meet them in the first place.

Yup, that moment is portrayed perfectly in this movie.

Perfect for what mood?

Becks is perfect if you want something easy to watch, if you do not set very high expectations, if you take for granted a few cliché plot twists, and if you want to laugh a few times. Basically, if you simply want a chill evening, Becks is a good choice.

If you want to watch it, you can find Becks on iTunes (download) and Amazon (download + DVD). Do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

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