I was glad to return to the Prince Theater for the first full day of films. Aside from being ridiculously close to my home, I’ve always like the theater layout. It was also a great place for opening and closing since it is a full stage and not just a film theater; having opening and closing at the theaters formerly known as Ritz East always felt awkward for that reason. There were only a few of the typical first-day snafus: projectionists getting used to format switches, getting people out of one show for the next to start, audio volume issues, etc.
To sum it up, this still feels like “the” film festival despite being scaled down. It’s certainly more convenient, not racing around town, but the lack of choice makes using the badge to its fullest harder. One way I’ve compenstated for this is not reading any blurbs or watching any trailers. Until Sunday when there are some scheduling conflicts, it’s really just about showing up and seeing what’s what.
Filmwise it was a rough start with a strong comeback.
Bruno and Earlene Go To Vegas (1/5)
Except for some competent cinematography, everything about this film felt forced and stilted. Despite two adorable Scots and the use of the word “Chimera”, I couldn’t concentrate on the film or find it believable. It really punts on its climax with a fade-out and no explanation of how the stand-off led to the final scene. This is a case of cargo cult filmmaking: it saw and copied the form of Thelma and Louise without ever really understanding why it was a good movie and what made it work.
Four Moons (4/5)
I had my doubts about going to see a “sneak preview” film from Mexico, but it looks like gay cinema is evolving in our neighbor to the South. This isn’t a glacially placed story of woe with lots of close-ups of eyes. It’s a cosmopolitan telling of four coming-out and coming-to-terms stories. A few absurdly sexy characters helps. What hurts is a few too many twists in one of the threads. Regardless, as both a film in itself and as a milestone in leaving behind the gay-as-tragedy for coming-out tales, it’s a very worthwhile film. Let’s see what comes out of Mexico in a few years when they reach their post-gay phase.
Ten Year Plan (4/5)
From a festival-regular director, this is a well made and well acted rom-com centering around a concept I’m at least jokingly familiar with: the pact to marry if neither of two people find themselves in a serious relationship. Perhaps its greatest strength is how little and how central “gay” is. Clearly most of the situations only come up in the gay context, but the fact that the leads are gay (at least one of the actors isn’t according to him) is never an issue. Perhaps not overly ambitious but definitely enjoyable to watch.
Power Erotic (3/5)
We always must have one on-the-edge-of-porn documentary regardless of what we call the festival. It’s a competent piece that doesn’t completely mire down in titulation about masculinity, dominance, and the fetishizing of those things. It’s weakness is in its experts, I think. There are some real sciency-type questions to ask, particularly from a evolutionary biology perspective, that don’t get asked for lack of the academic heft. Then again, it’s probably hard to get ivy-league talent to agree to be spliced between spanking, wrestling, and verbal domination scenes.