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Sunday, May 28, 2017

2017 Queer Palm Award Winners


As soon as read about Robin Campillo's film BPM (Beats Per Minute), knew was going to win this award as the award-worthy story was really compelling, emotional and relevant, even today.

Of course had no idea that film was going to be received so well, with film critics (crying) coming out of cinema teary-eyed and pouring so many positive reactions that film almost immediately became Palme d'Or favorite front-runner.

Film is a success story and more success will follow after the festival not matter if wins or not the top award.  Perhaps the only unfortunate element is that Pedro Almodovar is the jury president as there are some non-French-speaking critics suggesting that IF film wins top award is because of Pedro being the jury president (!!!???).

Anyway lets hope film wins the Palme d'Or and adds top win to already great wins, like prestigious FIPRESCI award, the François Chalais award, a special mention from Cannes Soundtrack award and now the well-deserved, Queer Palm.

Still, the most interesting situation has happened this year and is the first time it happens since the award was founded in 2010.  Believe has more to do with the film than with the Queer Palm award BUT nevertheless, organizers should take advantage to maybe now, once and for all, solidify the Queer Palm perception and position as a prestigious independent award.

No other Queer Palm winner has had the press coverage than BPM has had in less than 24 hours after the award was announced.

Not only social media but also every press serious outlet -cinema industry and beyond- in several languages has commented about the Queer Palm winner. Great!

In a few hours we will learn if BPM wins the top award or which award wins, as believe will win something tonight.  Let's hope the best to Campillo's film as after all is not often that a LGBT film gets recognition from one of the top three film festivals or the cinema industry in general.

Not available in English but wish to save the Jury statement here:
Pour la Queer Palm 2017 du meilleur long métrage, nous avons choisi un film dans lequel l'ensemble des acteurs a su s'illustrer dans des rôles poignants avec le plus grand des courages. Sans jamais verser dans le mélodrame, le film nous plonge dans les pages les plus sombres de notre histoire récente, tout en nous rappelant que nous sommes toujours plus forts quand on conjugue nos énergies, quand on s'aime tous un peu plus, quand on se soutient tous un peu plus, et bien sûr, quand on danse tous ensemble un peu plus. La Queer Palm 2017 est attribuée au film de Robin Campillo, « 120 Battements par minute ».

In the short film category Yann Gonzales Les Îles (Islands) won the award.  What follows is the Jury statement.
Pour le court métrage, nous avons choisi un film doté d'une sensualité fantastique. Un film que nous avons senti riche et multiforme dans sa célébration du désir et du queer. Le prix est attribué à « Les îles » de Yann Gonzalez.

Here is BPM trailer with previously release clip, all together in one video.  Enjoy!!!



Also take a look at this interesting video in English, about the award.



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5/4/17
Has become harder to find reliable info about this edition of the Cannes LGBT award as most of the past official web sites are not working anymore and the only place to find info from official sources has become the usually dangerous "social media".

But finally today organizers via facebook and twitter accounts, announced that the selection is available this year via TÊTU, a LGBT media that according to what I read from their twitter account "c’est aussi un regard masculin différent porté sur la culture, la découverte et le bien-être" which means that gives a different masculine view about the culture, coming out and well-being. Sigh.  Seems there is no "female" point of view in this media. (!!!)

According to what is announced at TÊTU here there are seven (7) feature films and six (6) short films that were selected by organizers and according to what have been able to learn about films in ALL sections, believe there are more movies with some LGBT interest.  Imagine perhaps later organizers will figure that they should also consider them. Sigh.

The Selection

Feature Films (7)

Official Selection

Competition
120 Battements par minute (BMP-Beats Per Minute), Robin Campillo, France (GL)
Synopsis: Paris, the early 1990s: a group of young activists is desperately tied to finding the cure against an unknown lethal disease. They target the pharmaceutical labs that are retaining potential cures, and multiply direct actions, with the hope of saving their lives as well as the ones of future generations.

Yes, Adèle Haenel is in film and in below film still.  My crystal ball tells me that this film has excellent odds to win the award this year.



Out of Competition
How to Talk to Girls at Parties, John Cameron Mitchell, UK and USA
Synopsis: John Cameron Mitchell, director of the acclaimed films Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Shortbus takes us to an exotic and unusual world: suburban London in the late 70s. Under the spell of the Sex Pistols, every teenager in the country wants to be a punk, including our hopeless hero Enn (Alex Sharp). Crashing local punk queen Boadicea’s party, Enn discovers every boy’s dream – gorgeous foreign exchange students. When he meets the enigmatic Zan (Elle Fanning), it’s love at first sight.  But these teens are, in fact, aliens from outer space, sent to Earth to prepare for a mysterious rite of passage. When their dark secret is revealed, the love-struck Enn must turn to Boadicea (Nicole Kidman) and her followers for help in order to save the girl he loves from certain death. When the punks take on the aliens, neither Enn’s nor Zan’s universe will ever be the same again.

No idea of the "interest" film has but surely could be Gay-interest as most JCM films have.  Because of cast film will have lots of buzz and perhaps will be a popular contender to win the Queer Palm IF indeed has some relevant LGBT interest.



Special Screenings
They, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, USA and Qatar
Synopsis: J has been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, goes by the selected pronoun “they”, and takes hormone blockers to suspend their puberty. J is in their early teens and lives with their parents in the countryside. While J’s parents are away on a trip, their older sibling Lauren and her boyfriend Araz are assigned the duties of house-sitting and looking after J. Through a series of activities, performances and events, J’s growth and complex gender identity are explored within the precarious family dynamic. The rural landscape becomes a queer site for dismantling the narratives of coming-of-age and transition, pharmaceutics and human biotechnology, and the effort for self-determination between recalling/forgetting the past and imagining/avoiding the future.  J, Lauren and Araz spend time in their parents’ greenhouses, the artificial environment for sheltering organic growth, as well as in the clinic : the technologized institution that shapes their bodies . They recast the family and the medical-industrial complexes through role-play games and test the role of language in the formation of their identities and relationships by reading poetry, telling stories, and entertaining bilingual games. These adventures become an entry point into the open-ended questions of growth and becoming that THEY are facing.

From synopsis film story seems quite interesting and obviously is a Gender Identity interest film.

Meet the director



70th Anniversary Events
Nos années folles (Golden Years), André Téchiné, France
Synopsis: The plot revolves around newlyweds Paul and Louise, as World War I breaks out. After two years on the frontline, Paul maims himself and deserts his post. But how can he hide when he is condemned to death in war-torn Paris? Louise dresses him up as a woman. He becomes Suzanne, drags his wife around the debauched Paris of the Golden Twenties and earns quite a reputation for himself. In 1925, once he is finally granted amnesty, Suzanne attempts to revert back to being Paul…

Cross-dressing interest?  Téchiné is one of my most admired living French directors and obviously all his films are must-be-seen for me.  Have seen almost ALL his movies and know many have some LGBT interest and his latest is no exception.  Film cast is outstanding as leads are played by great Céline Sallette and Pierre Deladonchamps.

Check the poster



Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
Marlina si pembunuh dalam empat babak (Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts), Surya Mouly, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and France
Synopsis: In the deserted hills of an Indonesian island, Marlina, a young widow, is attacked, raped and robbed for her cattle. To defend herself, she kills several men of the gang. Seeking justice, she goes on a journey for empowerment and redemption. But the road is long, especially when the ghost of her headless victim begins to haunt her.

No idea about the LGBT interest.  According to synopsis perhaps has some lesbian-interest but I'm not sure.



Nothingwood, Sonia Krolund, France and Germany (documentary)
Synopsis:  About a hundred kilometers away from Kabul, Salim Shaheen, the most popular and prolific actor-director-producer in Afghanistan, comes to show some of his 110 films and to shoot the 111th in the process.  He has brought with him his regular troupe of actors, each more eccentric and out of control than the next. That trip is an opportunity for us to get to know Shaheen, a real movie buff who has been making Z movies tirelessly for more than thirty years in a country at war.  Nothingwood is the story of a man who spends his life making his childhood dreams come true.

Documentary is also known as The Prince of Nothingwood and have no clear idea of the interest but probably will be gay-interest.



ACID
Coby, Christian Sonderegger, France
Synopsis:  Small town smack in the American Midwest. Suzanna age 23 changes gender and becomes a boy: Coby. Her transformation deeply disrupts the lives of all who love her. Ultimately, Coby's chrysalis becomes the one of a whole family compelled to modify their own perspective. Not only a physical metamorphosis is at stake here but also a spiritual one that eventually takes place under the director's luminous and unexpected eye.

Gender identity interest.



Short Films (6)

Cinéfondation
בן ממשיך Ben Mamshich (Heritage), Yuval Aharoni, Steve Tisch School of Film & Television, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 25'

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
Trešnje (Cherries), Dubravka Turić, Croatia, 30' (G)

Semaine de la Critique
Coelho Mau (Bad Bunny),  Carlos Conceição, Portugal and France, 33'
Les Îles (Islands), Yann Gonzalez, France, 23'
Möbius, Sam Kuhn, Canada and USA, 15'
Najpiękniejsze fajerwerki ever (The Best Fireworks Ever), Aleksandra Terpińska, Poland, 30'

The Jury
President: Travis Mathews, director, USA
Didier Roth-Bettoni, journalist, France
Lidia Leber Terki, director, France
Yair Hochner, director and festival director, Israel
Paz Lazaro, Berlinale Panorama programmer, Spain
Paul Marques Duarte, director, France

More interesting news is that Le Vertigo, the official Queer Palm Club, is back in Cannes from May 17 to 28 and yes, will be open from midnight to dawn! But the best of all LGBT news is that this Cannes edition has la crème de la crème of open gay world directors and more outstanding is the fact that three of them are competing for the 2017 Palme d'Or: Robin Campillo, Todd Haynes and François Ozon.  Great filmmakers and storytellers.

Among the films with some LGBT-interest not listed in their selection, there is one that stands out, the latest Roman Polanski film starring his wife and Eva Green which has some lesbian-interest as checked book film is based on plus see film still below.  The film is out of competition and is called: D'après une Histoire Vraie (Based on a True Story) and the most interesting fact about this movie is that the script is co written by Polanski and Olivier Assayas (great!) and is based on the novel of the same name by Delphine de Vigan.

The very short synopsis: Emmanuelle Seigner plays a writer who has an affair with an obsessive fan played by Eva Green.



The Poster

This year the Queer Palm poster pays tribute to the President of the festival Competition jury, Pedro Almodóvar and poster is a re-design by Maud Lammens of the original poster from his 1991 Tacones Lejanos (High Heels) designed by Juan Gatti.

In the re-interpretation design the high heels is kept, the Queer Palm logo is added as well as the phrase: " Gracias Pedro" (Thanks Pedro).  It's a clean design that got me a bit puzzled as initially couldn't figure what the phrase said (lol); it was until a friend saw the poster and rapidly told me what the phrase said that I could figure out (LOL)! Nevertheless, the 2017 Queer Palm poster has a nice composition, a lot nicer than those posters from previous editions.

Check the original poster



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