GCN Editor Brian Finnegan picks through the program of the 16th Lesbian and Gay film festival, which starts this weekend!
Over the years GAZE has grown to become not only a key event on the gay calendar, buto enjoy film without boundaries of sexual orientation.
The 2008 GAZE programme is packed with goodies and will have the IFI and attendant venues packed to the rafters with people who enjoy good film. Among the most eagerly awaited films is the latest from avant-garde director, Bruce La Bruce. Otto, Or Up With Dead People takes the zombie genre and gives it a queer twist, delivering laughs, frights and plenty to think about along the way. A young gay zombie named Otto appears on a remote highway, with no idea where he came from or where he is going. Hitching to Berlin, he ends up auditioning for a low budget zombie film, in the hope of hiding his zombie status from the world. When Otto discovers information about his past, he begins to remember details, including memories of his ex boyfriend, Rudolf. He arranges to meet him at the schoolyard where they meet, with devastating effects.
Gay Zombies For ‘Otto, Or Up With Dead People’ @ The IFI , Friday August 1, 10.30pm
From Berlin to Italy, where gay partners Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi decided to take matters into their own hands and explore the country’s reaction to proposed same-sex partnership legislation in 2006, through the eye of a camera. The resulting film, Suddenly Last Winter, is by turn a hilarious and sobering reflection on Italian society, as Gustav and Luca travel throughout the country to explore and challenge the objections to their civil rights within a loving relationship. Both directors will be in Dublin for the screening and will take part in a debate after the film is shown.
Meanwhile, in France, Pierre is juggling the facts of life for gay men as they get older. Directed by Jacques Nolot, Before I Forget is a subtle study of a one-time gay gigolo who can’t leave his hedonistic life behind, but is struggling to survive amidst the economic pressures brought on by a dwindling number of clients. It’s got gay classic written all over it.
Another GAZE must-see is the South African lesbian film, The World Unseen. Set in the midst of apartheid it tells the tale of Miriam, a demure and traditional wife whose life is turned upside down when she meets radical, free-spirited Amina. In the face of outraged disapproval, their friendship flourishes into something the challenges all the boundaries of a country going through enormous change.
Must See: The World Unseen @ the IFI, Friday August 1, 6.30pm
Lesbian relationships are also challenged in Cynthia Wade’s Freehold, a documentary the pits Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester, who spent 25 years investigating serving in Ocean County, New Jersey against the authorities who want to withhold the transfer of her earned pension to her long-term partner, Stacie, when Laurel is diagnosed with terminal cancer. We follow the escalation of Laurel’s battle with Ocean County and the decline of her health as cancer spreads.
Things get off on a lighter note in another American entry into the festival, Were The World Mine. Directed by Thomas Gustafson, the film mixes with wish fulfillment, as high school same-sex love story leads an entire town to turn sexually curious. Our hero happens across a love potion during rehearsals for Shakespeare’s magical love mix-up play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As a consequence he brings a little bit of queer love out in everyone he meets. Is the price worth paying and does our hero win over the school jock’s heart? Does he turn his girlfriend’s boyfriend gay for good? Will his mother fall in love with her female boss? Were The World Mine is a film that sparkles with confidence, an inspired musical with a sweet centre and a subversively gay story at its heart.