Reverend's Report: When Film Festivals Collide


Selasa, 06 Desember 2011

Weird News :
Most people think it's fun and semi-glamorous being a film critic, and it can be. A film critic's job, however, becomes about as challenging as a job can get when covering not just one film festival but two — while also serving as a programmer for a third festival — simultaneously. Such was my lot from late May through July 17, when I provided advance coverage for and attended the Los Angeles Film Festival and Outfest, the 29th Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, while reviewing submissions for this September's Long Beach Q Film Festival. All in all, I've been subjected to over 300 mostly independent, primarily GLBT-interest shorts and features in 60 days, an average of 5 films per day. And this isn't even my full-time job!

Outfest 2011 came to a close with the LA premiere of The Perfect Family, starring Kathleen Turner as the conservative Catholic mother of a lesbian daughter. On the same day she is nominated for the "Catholic Woman of the Year" award, Mom learns that her daughter and daughter's partner are planning to get married. Out actor Richard Chamberlain plays the local monsignor, and Sharon Lawrence has a great turn as Turner's co-nominee/nemesis. While the film is chiefly a drama, it has its comedic moments and I couldn't help but picture Turner at times as her Serial Mom character and wish she'd make an obscene crank call or two to Lawrence, which only made the movie funnier for me. The Perfect Family doesn't get all the Catholic details right but still presents the church's rituals and parish politics more seriously than most movies. Rating: B

Religious themes were big this year, with several significant entries in both the LA Film Fest (including Vera Farmiga's haunting Higher Ground) and Outfest. The Wise Kids, featured at the latter, is a lovely, teen coming-of-age story that avoids most of the clichés we've come to expect of that genre. Writer-director Stephen Cone (who also plays a closeted, married church leader in the film) won the festival's Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Screenwriting, and the movie was awarded the Grand Jury prize for Outstanding US Dramatic Feature. Its no-name cast is excellent and I was also impressed by the ethereal music score by Mikhail Fiksel.

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