Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival wraps: My favourite flicks this year...

Another year, another Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival draws to a close.  The festival tends to creep up on many film lovers in Toronto, so many friends of mine remarked to me this year they forgot to go see much.  Not me, of course.  Despite ongoing election campaigns pulling politicos in every direction, I still managed to see a few films.  But I also missed some good ones.

I sadly missed the Brazilian opening night film 'The Way He Looks,' which is a feature film adaptation closely based on a short film from a few years ago by the same director.  I was busy that night working on my own feature film screenplay inspired by a short film I worked on a few years ago, 'The Golden Pin' (available for viewing on YouTube, including a direct link on the right.)

But the feature version of 'The Way He Looks,' looks great based on this trailer:

I haven't heard yet if 'The Way He Looks,' has Canadian distribution, meaning it could be a while before anyone else can see it in this country.  With some luck, perhaps it'll play at TIFF later this year, or at the Brazilian Film & Television Festival of Toronto in the fall.

I also missed the fundraising screening of HBO's new TV movie 'The Normal Heart,' starring Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer.  But I'll catch that one soon through other means and will blog about it if I'm inspired by it.

Two other features I missed which I hope to catch soon are 'Last Summer', an American feature about the final days of a vibrant summer love between two small-town high school male sweethearts torn between staying together and moving on to bigger and better things, and director Ira Sachs' 'Love Is Strange,' which stars Alfred Molina and John Lithgow.

The trailer for 'Last Summer' is here:

Now for the films I did see and loved.

My favourite film was Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan's 'Tom at the Farm' (pictured above.) Based on the play by Michel Marc Bouchard, the film chronicles the story of a young gay man who journeys to his dead lover's family farm in rural Quebec, where he discovers his late lover's mother had no idea her son was gay.  But his unpredictable, volatile and sexy brother certainly did, as we soon discover.

Here is the trailer:

Dolan has been receiving accolades for years since his debut feature, 'I Killed My Mother.'  I loved that film, but thought his follow up 'Heartbeats' was disappointing.  I completely missed the three-hour 'Lawrence Anyways' as a result.  But with 'Tom at the Farm,' I have to say that I'm now a Dolan groupie (and will have to go back and watch 'Lawrence Anyways' asap.)

I also appreciated the German/Hungarian feature film 'Land of Storms,' (pictured above.) Detailing the story of a young Hungarian soccer player who gets kicked off a German team and returns home to his desolate life where he meets a sexy would-be thief, it was captivating from start to finish.  I can't say I liked the ending much, even though it nicely brought closure to the story.  But the hot images of a naked three-way in a pond at night, not to mention other nice moments of eye candy more than made up for the cliched finale. Here's a link to the film's trailer on YouTube.

I also loved the Brazilian/German film 'Praia do Futuro,' (pictured above) or 'Future Beach,' a fascinating and beautiful film about a Brazilian lifeguard who falls for the German friend of a man who dies at the beach in the north-eastern region of the country and abandons his family to go live with his new lover in Germany.  It was sexy, atmospheric, unfurling itself with an easy pace I loved.

Here's the trailer:

And finally I will say good things about the Venezuelan gem 'My Straight Son,' (pictured below.)  Though heavy on some gay film tropes like commitment-phobic lovers, gay bashers, ignorant families who come around in the end, and tough transsexuals who save the day, it broke new ground as a mainstream, Spanish-language film that may eventually find a wide audience across South America (and change a few closed minds in the process.)   About a gay photographer reunited with his teenage son while his lover struggles in hospital after a brutal attack, it was sweet, supremely well-made and contained some truly beautiful moments.  I'd highly recommend it to most.

I did catch some short films as well, including three great ones: Austin Wong's hilarious 'Gaysian', Britt Randle's clever 'Run Rabbit,' and Sonia Hong's awesome dance video, 'Waack Revolt!'.

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