Tuesday, October 10, 2006

GLBT Films

Films for Gay-Straight Alliances

For the Bible Tells Me So by Daniel Karslake, 2007, 99 min, Color, DVD

Filmmaker and Duke graduate of '87, Daniel Karslake's new film has been short-listed for an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary in 2007.

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. As the film notes, most Christians live their lives today without feeling obliged to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath or eats shrimp (as a literal reading of scripture dictates).

Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

To view a trailer this film, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajBR0dq0XXk

See also: http://firstrunfeatures.com/forthebible_synopsis.html

New list from the Safe Schools Coalition: SHORT VIDEOS for your GSA?
NOTE: Safe Schools Coalition has NOT previewed these.

The Manual: http://cart.frameline.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=T723
Sophie Gregg 2006 15 min. Australia
Sonny, an eight year old boy, is sent away from home because his father believes he has characteristics that could lead to homosexuality. After twenty four years of treatment and psychiatric institutions, Sonny returns home for a funeral, and attempts to save his seven year old niece from experiencing a similar fate.

Act of Faith: http://cart.frameline.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=T569
Dan Bree 2002 6 min. USA
In the history of Islam, love between men is a centuries-old phenomenon. Yet Koranic tradition forbids choosing a mate of the same sex. Kyriell, an Imam’s son, struggled with reconciling his love for men with his love for Islam and eventually came back to the faith. Pakistani-born Arslan saw no compromise in Islam and discarded his religion, and Iftekar, a Muslim community leader, admits that Islam needs to be brought into the twenty-first century. Through the words of these men, the struggle of gay Muslims is revealed.

Junk Box Warrior: http://cart.frameline.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=T534
Preeti AK Mistry 2002 5 min. USA
Based on a poem of the same title, Junk Box Warrior is an enchanting mesh of spoken word and black-and-white images over a haunting soundtrack. Written by and starring Trans Slam poet Marcus Rene Van (of Deep Dickollective), this film explores the alienation, frustration and fear of not fitting into society's gender binary.

Myth of Father: http://cart.frameline.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=T556
Paul Hill 2003 28 min. USA
Director Paul Hill’s father, Jodie, is a transsexual woman. When she came out to Paul a few years ago, he began a journey to learn about who his father is. This stunning video documentary contrasts Paul’s relationship to his father with the relationship of his father and her own dad. Candid interviews provide reflections on Jodie’s youth: "He seemed to live the normal life. He was into cars, he was into rock bands, he went into the Army…married…child…" But no one really knew Jodie, as she explains, "No one knew who I was. I trashed relationships with everyone I knew, including my own son."

In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents: http://cart.frameline.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=T626
Jen Gilomen & COLAGE 2005 31 min. USA
In a time when LGBT families are debated and attacked in the media, courts and Congress, from school houses to state houses across the country, five young people who are children of LGBT parents give you a chance to walk in their shoes – to hear their own views on marriage, making change, and what it means to be a family. This film was produced by the COLAGE Youth Leadership and Action Program and directed by Jen Gilomen.

I was compiling a list of films for a GSA to show, and thought others might like to comment on or add to the list I came up with. Since the creation of this list, I've added links to IMDb to each film, and will be adding a note as to whether each film is available from KCLS and/or SPL. We should be ordering these films from the libraries so that they are made available to all:

In and Out (1997): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0119360/ (SPL, KCLS - VHS)

Ma vie en rose (1997): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0119590/ (SPL, KCLS - VHS)

Not specifically gay, but - Billy Elliot (2000): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0249462/ (SPL - VHS; KCLS - DVD, VHS)

Trevor (1994) is a sweet, short film about an important topic - suicide by gay teens: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0111486/ (KCLS - VHS)

Another short: Andre's Mother (1990), which was made for public TV. Very nice character study of two characters brought together by shared grief. Richard Thomas is more likeable than I've ever seen him, as Andre's grieving lover, and Sada Thompson as Andre's mother is *frozen*. In the scenes with her mother, played by Sylvia Sidney (who steals every scene she's in), you see the roots of her damage. http://imdb.com/title/tt0099037/

Haven't seen Bruno (2000), (AKA The Dress Code) but it looks suitable, and funny: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0123003/ (KCLS - DVD as The Dress Code; SPL - none)

Haven't seen Innocent (2005) yet, either. It is described as, "17-year-old Eric follows his parents to immigrate to Canada and is thus forced to confront different emotional and cultural problems. He must not only adjust to the new environment, but also come to terms with his homosexuality. Standing at the brink of adulthood, he encounters a series of potential romantic interests - his handsome cousin, a schoolmate, a middle aged lawyer and finally a kitchen helper. They represent different stages in Eric's development, from infatuation, sex, love to a sense of responsibility. http://imdb.com/title/tt0777896/

Edge of Seventeen (1998) - I don't see a rating, since it is Aussie: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0138414/

Also unrated, but looks *wonderful* - La Ville dont le prince est un enfant (1997) or The Fire That Burns: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120453/

This one sounds good to me, but may be too quiet for a GSA - The Long Day Closes (1992)(unrated, UK): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0104753/

My Own Private Idaho (1991) (I can't find a rating, but River Phoenix is prostituting himself): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0102494/

Interesting, also NR - Olivier, Olivier (1992): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0102583/

12-minute short on iFilms - The Seventh Sense: http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2404708?htv=12

Du er ikke alene (1978)(You are Not Alone): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0080662/

Short documentary - Gay Youth (1992)(40 min): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0345317/

Doc. - The Times of Harvey Milk (1984): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0088275/

35 min doc. - Let's Get Real (2004): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0414222/

One of my favorites is Philadelphia (1993): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0107818/

Another is Maurice (1987): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0093512/

The Laramie Project (2002): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0257850/

(Aus.) Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (1994): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0109045/

Saved (2004) has a cute gay sub-plot: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0332375/

M. Butterfly (1993) was a revelation. Such sensitive, beautiful acting, and an excellent riff on the operatic tale of Madame Butterfly. Jeremy Irons, always excellent, plays René Gallimard, based on a historical character, who is in fact still alive. John Lone as Song Liling is electrifying. http://imdb.com/title/tt0107468/

Too bad these are R:

Latter Days (excellent!): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0345551/

Yossi & Jagger (2002): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0334754/

Beautiful Thing (1996) (UK): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0115640/

Like It Is (1998): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0146990/ (Roger Daltry -- but boxing? Aus.)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0248845/

Of course as soon as I clicked the post button, I remembered more. A couple more R-rated, but they are biographies, so maybe you can slide by.....

* Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer's End (1996): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0117310/

Piñero (2001) (Benjamin Bratt stars): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0261066/

** Before Night Falls (2000) (Javier Bardem): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0247196/

Basquiat (1996): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0115632/

Super intense - Boys Don't Cry (1999) (Hilary Swank): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0171804/

Gia (1998)(R): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0123865/

Love! Valour! Compassion! (1997): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0119578/

Torch Song Trilogy (1988): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0096289/

Better Than Chocolate (1999): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0168987/

Revoir Julie (1998): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0180095/

Orlando (1992): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0107756/

Trick (1999) (R): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0162710/

The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0222850/

Mysterious Skin (2004)(NC-17): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0370986/ -- very intense, prostitution, and very disturbing violence. Wonderful performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The Cockettes (2002), was a total trip back to the late Sixties San Francisco. I adore this film, and anyone who cares about gay history, the Sixties, art or drama should SEE THIS FILM! As John Waters so wisely said, "the Cockettes were basically complete sexual anarchy. which is always a good thing." http://imdb.com/title/tt0303321/. Brief views of bare breasts and penises, and frank discussion of drug use. This is a documentary of the Sixties. :-)

La Mala educación (2004) (Bad Education) (NC-17/R): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0275491/

Burnt Money (Plata quemada) (2000), is a wonderful Argentine film based on a true crime story. Leonardo Sbaraglia as El Nene and Eduardo Noriega as Ángel burns up the screen. Pablo Echarri as El Cuervo is crazysexy as hell, too! Dolores Fonzi as Vivi also shines on the screen. If sex, drugs, nudity and crime offend you, this is not your film. But if magnetic characters walking and even dancing to their doom is your style, check it out! http://imdb.com/title/tt0227277/. Probably not suitable for most high school GSAs, in the US anyway.

Also, in my wonderful queer film group over at MyQueerSpace.com, the following places to research and order films were recommended:

Strand Releasing: http://www.strandreleasing.com

TLA Releasing: http://www.tlareleasing.com

Popcorn Q Movies: http://www.planetout.com/popcornq/

IMDb: http://us.imdb.com/ (obviously, I use this one constantly)

Suggestions from the GSA group where I originally posted my lists:

Camp (2003): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0342167/ (PG-13)

The Birdcage (1996): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0115685/ (R-?!)
Of course there is always the original: La Cage aux folles (1978): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0077288/

The Truth About Jane (2000): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0256459/ (TV movie)

Three to Tango (1999): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0144640/ (PG-13)

Paragraph 175 (2000) is a good documentary about how the Nazis persecuted gays: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0236576/

Hairspray (1988): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0095270/ (PG)

I came across a SUPER list tonight, with short summaries of each of the listed films: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/andrew.cmu.edu/usr/out/public/Filmlist and Listmania! Gay Films You Might Have Missed: http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/3SYA7TIB3ZZKI/104-2303910-1113561?%5Fencoding=UTF8

Why are so few of these gay, independent films not known even in the community?

Mark mentioned at the recent annual Seattle PFLAG meeting that most of the gay related movies were independent and that people seemed to be unaware of the majority of them. He says, "This documentary should shed light on why this is the case, from what I read in the review, which is on page 57 of the Advocate, September 26, 2006 issue."
Rated G for “greedy”

This Film Is Not Yet Rated
Directed by Kirby Dick, IFC Films

In his new documentary, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Kirby Dick goes well beyond indicting the top-secret rating system of the Motion Picture Association of America. His real subject is the greed of the Hollywood studios and how they use the rating system to suppress independent films, especially those with queer characters.

Brokeback Mountain notwithstanding, indie filmmakers produce most queer screen content. Unfortunately for these artists, the MPAA maintains rigid control over commercial releases through a secret panel of screeners who often label gay sex as ‘aberrational behavior.’ Regardless of the artistic intent, filmmakers adding a little boy-on-boy action are headed for an NC-17 rating and all that it implies: advertising restrictions and limited releases.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated presents an overview of the rating system’s hypocrisy, including how sex (gay and straight) is censored four times more often than even the most brutal violence. With the help of a dyke private investigator, Kirby aggressively pursues the identities of the secret screening board members in an effort to understand their maddeningly inconsistent judgments. While the investigation techniques tend to be a bit pathetic, the findings are damning—the panel turns out to be a glaringly white and heterosexual group of ‘concerned parents’ sometimes augmented by Catholic and Episcopal priests.

Kirby obviously had a soft spot in his heart for queer filmmakers, beginning his film with the travails Kimberly Peirce faced in releasing her Academy Award-winning Boys Don’t Cry. He compares, for example, the sexual content of Peirce’s film, which received an NC-17, with the hetero horniness of American Pie, which skated by with an R.

The MPAA, which emerges in Kirby’s film as a creature of the Hollywood studios, wraps itself in the cloak of morality. But like so much in the United States, what the MPAA presents as protecting children is much more about protecting profits. And it’s clear that gay visibility on the silver screen suffers for Hollywood’s greed.

—Patrick Moore (September 26, 2006 issue of The Advocate, p. 57)
Often we seek to grow or change ourselves by adjusting the external aspects of our lives. We all too often forget that permanent or real change only comes when the center of our being, our inner drives and motivations, undergoes transformation. - Errol Strider

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