Check out San Francisco based Mark V. Reyes‘ “Last Full Show,” the award winning festival hit about a young man discovering his sexuality with an older man at an underground Manila movie theater. It’s sexy, poignant and gorgeously photographed. It is now the most viewed short on Frameline’s Youtube channel.
From the imagination of Irish novelist George Moore comes the upcoming lesbian blockbuster Albert Nobbs with Glenn Close who first played the titular character in a 1982 theatrical production. Judging from the trailer alone, I am sure that Albert Nobbs, a movie about an Englishwoman who disguises herself as a man, works as a butler in a hotel in order to survive in male-dominated 19th-century Ireland and falls in love with a young woman, will be the lesbian hit of this decade.
You may have heard of the documentary called Miss Representation. It’s about how the way the American media portrays women affects the self-worth and self-esteem of girls growing up today. “It’s all about the body, not about the brain”, one teenage girl observes.
This buzz-worthy documentary premiered at Sundance earlier this year and has made its way through the film festival circuit. Oprah bought the distribution rights at Sundance, and has started showing Miss Representation on her network, OWN.
As a woman in business I felt like I knew a bit about this topic, but I learned a tremendous amount more. I learned how everyone is complicit in suppressing the potential of women, and intend to change my own behavior. At the same time, I was inspired by the surprisingly wise teenagers who were interviewed. Continue reading
Hands down, this has got to be one of the best works I’ve seen from Margaret Cho. It’s funny. It’s slick. It’s dreamy. It’s satirical. It sounds really good and sexy. And it also features the amazingly talented singer Grant Lee Phillips. I’m totally Cho-dependent now.
On a recent trip to Washington, I was confronted by a member of the audience about my claim that it was difficult to find young square dancers. She had watched “Square Dance Story” at the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival, and perplexed by my claim. It happens that she was friends with organizers of Square Dance Collective. The Collective is a local DC group that hosts a square dance in the sanctuary of a local, social justice-oriented church (St Stephens) every month and is changing people’s Saturday night going-out plans. Yes, square dancing, contra dancing and many traditional folk dances have a public relations problem, but it does not mean that they are not fun! It also means that they can be open to re-interpretation, and what generation to do this than the youth.
I asked Anne Uebelacker, an established caller, what makes an outfit western and she just said western boots. They could wear mini-skirts, tank tops, spaghetti straps, but in order to make it a western outfit, they’ll need boots! This gave me room to experiment, and I even bent some by having my lead character, the outsider, wear black ballet shoes while the rest of his outfit remained “western”. Continue reading
SPOILER ALERT. Don’t read this review if you don’t want to spoil the movie before watching it, but I have to talk about the important plot points and ending to discuss the film. Pedro Almodovar’s the Skin I Live In initially feels like a remake of his earlier film Tie Me Up Tie Me Down also starring the stellar Antonio Banderas as a escape mental patient who holds a young woman captive in her apartment. In the Skin I Live In, Antonio Banderas has never been better in an Amodovar film. Skin is also easily one of Almodovar’s queerest film putting male desire center stage for a perverse critique.
I was talking to Ashley Jordan of Singafest over the weekend and she turned me onto a new gay zombie movie from the Philippines. It’s Jade Castro’s Zombadings that was a runaway hit of the past summer in the Philippines. The story involves a young man being cursed to be gay while his mother, a police detective, is trying to solve a string of murders of gay men in town that lead to gay zombies. As campy as it sounds, Zombadings is receiving strong reviews from even Twitch. Here’s the trailer!
David Lewis’ frothy and sexy third feature Longhorns is a fun-filled gay sex comedy totally worth checking out. I had the privilege to attend the Long Beach QFilm Festival where Longhorns premiered to the an appreciative audience at the 36th largest city in America. Inspired by 80s’ zany sex comedies like Porky’s or Screwballs, Longhorns tells the sweet romance of a “straight” frat-boy (Jacob Newton) falling for a sexy and out gay campus activist (Derek Villanueva).
If you have not seen Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied, you should. It’s the groundbreaking hour-long poetic semi-documentary film about gay black man. Mr. Riggs died at age 37 in 1994 from AIDS. Tongues Untied is nothing short of brilliance and insightful even after all these years. Available now on home video from Frameline. Powerful stuff!
Finally a queer friendly horror flick? Yes, Kevin Smith’s Red State is a very queerious film indeed. Mr. Smith is known for his support of the LGBT community by providing reasonably positive portrayals of LGBT characters in his films. He even produced his friend Malcolm Ingram’s Small Town Gay Bar and executive produced Bear Nation, the documentary on bears—big gay men and their admirers.
So it is not too big of a surprise that Red State is queer friendly. In fact, Red State turns the very red state rednecks, who have been oppressing LGBT people, into villains. Curiously, Red State is a very politically correct horror film. The religious right who turns LGBT people into unnecessary evil is due for a cinematic vengeance. Continue reading
Things have been awfully quiet here on Queerious, partly because our editor-in-chief Quentin is too busy directing a great project. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you should.
As an independent filmmaker myself, I of course aspire to be as accomplished a director as Quentin is one day. I am actually working on a (much smaller) project of my own, a short film with a lesbian love story and a Chinese Opera theme.
There will never be enough space on this blog to discuss the arts and (over 200 years) history of Chinese Opera. The Illuminated Lantern has done a great job at providing a short history.
My history with Chinese Opera began as child when I attended a lot of performances with my aunt in Hong Kong. My aunt has always been a Chinese Opera enthusiast and still performs opera plays as a hobby today. Like most children, I dismissed the ancient art as monotonous plays and ghastly noise. It was not until years later when I attended a performance put on by my aunt and her amateur Cantonese Opera group did I begin to appreciate the aesthetics and subtleties of Chinese Opera, and the discipline it requires. Subtleties, the ability to illicit the grandest emotions and convey the deepest message by the smallest gestures or images, have always been what I strive for in my films. Combining the medium of film and the ancient art of Chinese Opera seems to me is a perfect union.
When one talks about Chinese Opera in cinema, the more celebrated films like Chen Kaige’s Farewell, My Concubine and his recent Forever Enthralled, or even the more commercial, lighthearted Peking Opera Blues by Hong Kong director Tsui Hark will come to mind.
But one of the greatest inspirations on this project for me is the under-appreciated (at least at the time of its release) and obscure 1987 film Woman Demon Human by director Huang Shuqin, one of the very few prominent female filmmakers in mainland China. Continue reading
Deep in the eye of the storm of prepping my own upcoming feature White Frog, I had the privilege to catch a private screening of Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous, one of the most successful queer Hollywood directors’ take on the authorship of Shakespeare. A sumptuous and complex epic of literary intrigue, Anonymous stars the ever fabulous Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I who bears a forbidden relationship to one of the greatest literary figures of English literature.
If Shakepeare in Love is a comedy, then Anonymous certainly fashions itself after a Shakespeare tragedy. Continue reading
Wall art can be eclectic, inspiring and bizarre, but there is one common item that I have seen hanging somewhere on everyone’s walls and that’s photographs of themselves, family or friends. However in today’s age of the iPad, flat screen televisions and digital picture frames, I am surprised that there are not any looping videos, a living photo frame, on our walls similar to those found in the world of Harry Potter.
Not everything has to be recorded, but there is an ephemeral quality to see the moment before and after a very special photograph. Still pictures can create a false sense of reality, and be downright boring, if one chooses to only show people smiling. We tend to take notice when we see imperfections. I love candid stills, especially because people are caught in real situations.
These looping videos should not be long, perhaps only 40 seconds maximum, and there should not be any audio. Continue reading