Friday, September 06, 2013

7th Queer Lion Lineup and Winner

A few minutes ago the winner was announced and to my surprise this year Queer Lion winner is a film that I'm really looking forward to watch, which is highly unusual!

... and the winner is:

Philomena, Stephen Frears, UK, USA and France (G)

The jury, headed by Angelo Acerbi and composed by Queer Lion founder Daniel N. Casagrande and Marco Busato, general delegate of cultural association CinemArte, unanimously awarded the prize "For the ability of giving proper relevance to issues such as homosexuality, AIDS and homophobia in a movie focused on the painful topic of a 50 years long search for a son, and for emphasizing, with the light touch of a comedy, how an humble woman with a deep Catholic faith can show outright and loving acceptance for the essential, important aspects of the sexual identity and same-sex family of a 'just re-discovered' son."

Today finally was published the list of the nine (9) films that will compete for the 2013 Queer Lion and here they are with a small summary for each film.

Venezia 70 (Main Competition)
Philomena, Stephen Frears, UK, USA and France (G)
Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a “fallen woman.” When her baby was only a toddler, he was taken away by the nuns for adoption in America. Philomena spent the next fifty years searching for him but with no success. Then she met Martin Sixsmith, a world-weary political journalist who happened to be intrigued by her story. Together they set off to America on a journey that would not only reveal the extraordinary story of Philomena’s son (who had become a great lawyer, front-man for the Republican Party under Reagan’s and Bush Sr.’s administrations; but who was also gay, forced by his party’s homophobic views to lead a double life, until his tragic departure, at 43, due to AIDS), but also create an unexpectedly close bond between Philomena and Martin. The film is a compelling narrative of human love and loss that ultimately celebrates life.

Tom à la ferme (Tom at the Farm), Xavier Dolan, Canada and France (G)
Tom, a young advertising copywriter, travels to the country for a funeral. There, he’s shocked to find out no one knows who he is, nor who he was to the deceased, whose brother soon sets the rules of a twisted game. In order to protect the family’s name and grieving mother, Tom now has to play the peacekeeper in a household whose obscure past bodes even greater darkness for his “trip” to the farm. Stockholm syndrome, deception, grief and secretive savageries pervade this brief and brutal pilgrimage through the warped and ugly truth.

Via Castellana Bandiera (A Street in Palermo),Emma Dante, Italy, Switzerland and France (L)
It’s a Sunday afternoon. The sirocco is blowing pitilessly in Palermo when Rosa and Clara, a lesbian couple, lose their way in the streets of the city and end up in a sort of alley: Via Castellana Bandiera. At the same moment, another car driven by Samira, crammed with members of the Calafiore family, arrives from the opposite direction and enters the same street. Neither Rosa at the wheel of her Multipla, nor Samira, the old and stubborn woman driving a Punto, is willing to give way to the other. A wholly female duel punctuated by the refusal to drink, eat and sleep; more obstinate than the sun of Palermo and more stubborn than the ferocity of the men who surround them. For, as in every duel, it is a question of life or death.

Eastern Boys, Robin Campillo, France (G)
They come from all over Eastern Europe: Russia, Ukraine, Moldova... The oldest ones appear no more than 25; as for the youngest, there is no way of telling their age. They spend all their time hanging around the Gare du Nord train station in Paris. They might be male prostitutes. Daniel, a discreet man in his early fifties, has his eye on one of them, Marek. Gathering his courage, he speaks to him. The young man agrees to come and visit Daniel the following day at his place, with wholly unpredictable consequences. Daniel will have to learn to fight to defend himself and the youth from the violent reaction of the group, led by a brutal man who is determined not to loosen his grip.

Piccola Patria, Alessandro Rossetto, Italy (L)
Two young women, a hot and stifling summer, the desire to get away from a small provincial town. Luisa is full of life, uninhibited, unconventional; Renata is dark, angry, in need of love. The lives of the two women tell a story of blackmail, of betrayed love, of violence: Luisa uses Bilal, her Albanian boyfriend, Renata uses Luisa’s body to pull the strings of her vendetta. Both want to leave the small community that raised them, among local festivals and nationalist rallies, exhausted families and new generations of migrants targeted by those still feeling threatened. Luisa, Renata and Bilal will run the risk of losing themselves, of losing a precious part of themselves, of losing the people they love, of losing their life.

Giornate degli Autori
3 Bodas de Más (Three Many Weddings), Javier Ruiz Caldera, Spain (G)
Is there anything worse than being invited to your ex-boyfriend´s wedding? Sure! When it happens three times in one month, when you don´t know how to say no, when you are an awkward 30-something who loses it after a couple drinks, when the only person you can convince to be your date is the new intern, and when at one of the weddings you are up for a huge surprise, when it comes to the sentence “you may now kiss the bride”.

Gerontophilia, Bruce LaBruce, Canada (G)
18-year-old Lake has a sweet activist girlfriend, but one day discovers he has an unusual attraction for the elderly. Fate conspires to land him a summer job at a nursing home where he develops a tender relationship with Mr. Peabody. Discovering that the patients are being over-medicated to make them easier to manage, Lake decides to wean him off his medication and help him escape, resulting in a humorous and heartfelt road trip that strengthens their bond.

Julia, J. Jackie Baier, Germany and Lithuania (documentary) (T)
A story of faith and disbelief. Of uprootedness and affiliation. What makes a boy from art school decide to leave home and live as a girl on the streets of Berlin selling her body for money? For more than ten years, photographer and filmmaker J. Jackie Baier followed transsexual Julia K. from her birthplace, Klaipeda in Lithuania, to her tough life on the streets as a hooker, outlaw and nonconformist who never signed any social contract.

Kill Your Darlings, John Krokidas, USA (G)
Kerouac. Burroughs. Ginsberg. Who were they, though, before they became virtual icons of the counterculture movement? In 1944, Jack Kerouac was a washed-up college running back who had lasted all of eight days in the U.S. Navy. William S. Burroughs was a medical school dropout, former door-to-door insect exterminator and budding drug addict, hanging on the fringes of the New York bohemian scene after following a pair of friends from his native St. Louis, Lucien Carr and David Kammerer, to Manhattan. Allen Ginsberg was a nervous, straitlaced freshman at Columbia University, easy prey of Carr’s seduction games and his obsession with the charismatic Kammerer. This is the story of three future beats who fell in with each other, and a brutal murder that capped off their youthful partnership.

Settimana della Critica
L’Armée du salut (Salvation Army), Abdellah Taïa, France (G)
In Casablanca, the young Abdellah spends his days at home, living a relationship of conflicts and complicity with his father. In the city streets, he has occasional sexual intercourses with men. During a holiday, his older and venerated brother Slimane abandons him. Ten years later. Abdellah lives with his Swiss lover, Jean. He leaves Morocco and goes to Geneva, where he decides to break up and to start a new life alone. He takes shelter in a house of the Salvation Army, where a Moroccan man sings a song of his idol Abdel Halim Hafez for him.

Furthermore, NOT competing, but worthy of being mentioned for their secondary LGBT contents, are Stephen Frears’s Philomena (Venezia 70), Paul Schrader’s The Canyons (Out of Competition), Cherien Dabis’s May in the Summer (Venice Days), Moisés Sepúlveda’s Las Analfabetas (International Critics’ Week). And we cannot  forget mentioning the restored version of Nagisa Ôshima’s masterpiece Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

As usual, during the Festival the jury might decide to include in the competition movies not mentioned in this list.

On Saturday, September 7th, at Cinema Astra in Lido, Special Event with the screening of Il rosa nudo by Giovanni Coda, the Queer Lion 2013 award ceremony, and the debate Lotta all’omofobia: quali strumenti? (Fighting Homophobia: How?) at the presence of Sen. Josefa Idem, M.P. Alessandro Zan, and president of Gaynet Franco Grillini.

Up to this moment the jury has three members Angelo Acerbi (president), Daniel N. Casagrande and Marco Busato.

Here is a recently published document that has a bit of the award history plus several award winners in past editions. Available only in Italian.

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