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last update 29.Mar.09
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london l&g film festival From the BFI's 23rd London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Mar.09
The Japanese Sandman   4.5/5
dir Ed Buhr
scr William S Burroughs
with John Fleck, Stephen Twardokus, Nick Niven, Sam Slovick, Leigh Rose, Amy O'Neill, Ferd Eggan, Keston Ridley
08/US 12m
An intriguing dramatisation of a letter written from William S Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg in 1953, this witty short film is a sharp examination of the point where addiction and emotion meet. The first half of the letter sees Burroughs (Fleck) in Panama looking for new and more exciting drugs, leering at local boys and flirting with skanky hookers, then typing the hilariously snarky letter. He then adds a postscript that's a nostalgic look at his teen years in St Louis (now played by Twardokus), during which he had an oddly truncated relationship with his best pal (Niven). Shot and edited with intelligence and humour, filmmaker Buhr wonderfully develops and then twists the tone, shifting from the jazzy, noirish Panama to the warmer, more wistful reminiscence of youth. This change is extremely effective, moving from sharply hilarious to deeply emotional while adding some striking subtext about the nature of addiction. The result is entertaining and surprisingly moving.
27.Mar.09 llgff
Even in My Dreams   3.5/5
dir-scr Flavio Alves
with Richard Reade, Beau Hauser, Burt Panitz, Celia Howard, Erin Sullivan, David Hodorowski, Maria Justine Henley
08/US 8m
even in my dreams It's great to see a short centring on an older man, and this nicely assembled little film has some superb moments as it follows the cranky 70-something Michael (Reade), who dreams that a Tom of Finland doll (Hauser) comes to life and visits him in his sleep. Of course, he is woken up by his best friend (Panitz) at just the wrong moment in the dream. And then the next night his late wife (Howard) appears to confront Tom. And things get increasingly frustrating for Michael night by night until he has to take drastic action. The film is extremely slight, and often a bit simplistic, but touches on some solid themes, especially when it becomes clear that Michael isn't out to his old friend. It's also very funny.
29.Mar.09 llgff
No Strings Attached 3.5/5  
dir-scr Alexandre Powelz
07/Germany 20m
no strings attached
"Sex is easy, but getting a good hug is more difficult." This film profiles a tanned, blond Dutch guy on holiday in Portugal, where he spends his time cruising for sex in the woods along the seafront. He talks frankly to the camera about why he likes anonymous sex, how it works and what it means to him. It's strikingly revealing to hear him compare a random encounter in the woods with a frustrating meet-up in a bar. For him, sex is entertainment, and it's about experience and variety, but not intimacy. Even so, he recognised that no matter how detached these encounters are, they're never shallow. Most insightful are the comments about how this kind of sex can be a "confirmation of your being". The extremely strong camerawork catches some remarkable scenes along the way, including a couple of intimate meetings while strangers watch through the trees. And it's edited together in a way that gets surprisingly deep beneath the surface while still acknowledging the voyeurism and excitement.
27.Mar.09 llgff
Bramadero   3/5
dir-scr Julian Hernandez
with Sergio Almazan, Cristhian Rodriguez
07/Mexico 20m
almazan and rodriguez
bramadero Beautifully shot and edited, it's difficult to understand the point of this overlong short, which features two guys in an unfinished skyscraper overlooking a vast city. The only sounds are the traffic noises from below, as these guys circle each other in slow motion, eventually coming together and gradually removing their clothes. What follows is like a ballet, as they almost perform a mating dance, striking poses, watching each other and then crawling, wrestling, sleeping, getting violent. The camerawork is fascinating enough to keep us watching, with gliding long takes catching the minimalist movements. What emerges is a growing sense of sexuality as these two men behave like animals around each other. But it's so pretentious and deliberate that we feel there must be some sort of subtext we're missing along the way--something political perhaps. And in the end, it just feels like arthouse porn, really.
27.Mar.09 llgff
Neurotica   3/5  
dir-scr Nick Wauters
with Alex Pakzad, Jorge Ortiz, Michael Padula, Todd Christian Hunter, David Trachtenberg, Ulrich Que, Kevin Cardenas, Leigh Rose
08/US 14m
neurotica Corny but cute, this short follows a large number of people around a gay bar in which they're all preoccupied with what everyone else thinks of them. There's the nervous nice guy (Pakzad), the fake gay guy (Meyer), the slimy poser (Ortiz), and so on, including a number of women and a straight guy (Que) who's not coping at all. The camera work is very clever, although it begins to distract from the subject matter, which is actually somewhat astute. In the end, it feels silly and extremely slight, and also rather obvious, really.
29.Mar.09 llgff
Allen Ginsberg Gives Great Head 3/5
dir-scr X'Ho
07/Singapore 15m allen ginsberg gives great head
Shot in two days without any hope of being screened in his own country, this brainy 15-minute short is an odd mixture of political polemic and porn. It's narrated by the filmmaker using quotes from Ginsberg and references to other artists, like Fassbinder and William Gibson, who challenged the status quo and pushed boundaries. These ideas simply have no space to exist in the "idyllic" island nation of Singapore, which suppresses free expression and has the world's highest execution rate. This voiceover is accompanied by images of a lonely young man in his flat, bathing, lounging around naked and masturbating in extreme close-up while quotes from Ginsberg are superimposed on-screen. This is an extremely important topic, and the filmmaker's heartfelt anger is palpable, but the film is rather indulgent and pretentious.
27.Mar.09 llgff
The Fugatives   3/5  
dir Octavio Chamorro
07/Brazil 13m
the fugatives
Shot on tacky video like a Latino soap, this lurid, camp mini-adventure is pretty hysterically funny for fans of the genre. It centres on a young guy who steals his mother's money and her car and hits the road with his angry diva boyfriend. Meanwhile, their mothers refuse to believe all evidence that their sons are gay, but head out in pursuit, stopping at the hairdresser for advice and then catching up with the boys when they stop for a cappuccino. A madcap chase ensues that gets increasingly ridiculous. The silly no-budget production values, over-the-top acting and corny action keeps us in fits of laughter. It feels utterly pointless, but actually addresses some fairly serious themes along the way. Not that it pauses to actually deal with them.
29.Mar.09 llgff
Superm Highway   2.5/5  
dir-scr Slava Mogutin, Brian Kenny
06/US 6m
superm highway
This film consists completely of grainy black and white stills that look like they were shot in a pitch-black room with a flash. There are fragments of narration and dialog, not all of it clear, but we can essentially see what's happening here: an athletic, wiry young guy is in his home, where he's joined by another guy who looks pretty much just like him. Wearing only boots, they have sex as we listen to them talking about what they like to do. Is this a random encounter or do they know each other? Since there's no back-story and no character-building, we have no idea. It's an interesting experiment in filmmaking but, even at just six minutes, it feels overlong and unclear. What is the meaning of the title caption, "On a highway I drive very fast"? Not a clue.
27.Mar.09 llgff
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