Out In Africa 2011 | Weekend, We Were Here, Kill The Habitby Bianca Fernandes / 17.08.2011
Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival part 2 of 3 2011 is upon us and once again I received a brand new pack of queer screeners that have proven that each OIA is different to the last. The thing with OIA is that there is always a few surprised in the mix. Even though they all surround the same focus-point, it’s unbelievable just how many themes can spring from one genre. After Encounters and DIFF, I was looking forward to reviewing some of the gay-focused films that this month’s OIA has to offer. It’s time to journey into the unknown – again. Straight, gay, confused, whatever, it’s time for some same-sex intercourse.
We Were Here Dir: Bill Weber, David Weissman, USA | 2010 | 90 min
We Were Here has haunted my mind with images of gay men on their death beds from Aids, much like the first time I saw images of the concentration camps. This film, about the rise of the Aids epidemic specifically in the gay suburb of The Castro in San Fransisco in the early 80s, offers more than just depressing images of dying men. It shows a rare personal insight into history that can only be passed on by people that lived through it. The film starts with a look at The Castro, a sexual paradise for the gay men and woman of San Fransisco in the 70s, allowing a freedom for gay people to do what they want, with whom they want, as much as they want. And they did. It’s seemed like the perfect place to be in the post hippy era. Hell, I would’ve moved there. The story takes a nasty turn when the community starts to fall apart and basically die out from the mysterious disease that we know today as Aids. The five narrators each give us an emotional view into the part they played and how it feels when everyone around you is dying. The most moving part of We Were Here is the way not only the gay community but people come together to care for each other regardless of their situations or prejudices.
CT: Sat 20th – 7pm
Jozi: Wed 17th – 7pm, Sat 20th – 6.15pm
Weekend – Dir: Andrew Haigh, (UK 2011)
Definitely my favourite out of the weekend picks. It’s one of those films that makes you question everything, especially when you find yourself relating to the characters a little more than what you’re comfortable with. Russell is a gay man in a group of straight friends that doesn’t feel completely comfortable with who he is. When he meets Glen, the seemingly complete opposite of him, they spend the weekend trying to figure each other out and as they do, the film explores themes that resonate in your own life. They share their views, memories, milestone moments and discover that they each have their own way of recording their one night stands which defines a lot more about them than the people they spent the night romping around the bedroom with. Weekend is one of the most truthful films that I’ve seen at OIA and the fly-on-the-wall style brings beauty and a feeling of an insider’s perspective to accompany the realness that comes across.
The themes are universal, just played out in a characters life who happens to be a homosexual. At OIA, the films that can translate into any culture or sexuality are always the best, and this is definitely one of them.
CT: Sun 21st – 8pm
Jozi: Tue 16th – 9pm, Sun 21st – 8pm
Kill The Habit Dir: Laura Neri, USA | 2010 | 80 min
Druggie films are always at the top of my list. I just can’t seem to get enough of gritty celluloid about junkies and drug deals, this, however, is not one of those films. Far from it. Kill The Habit is a light American film about a drug deal gone wrong, a murder and a dash of lesbianism. When I heard that this film was about the misadventures of three woman, I immediately thought lesbian threesome but it turns out that the only lesbian scenes in this movie are at the end and last for about two minutes. I’m still not sure how this qualifies as lesbian cinema because I can think of about 100 “staright” mainstream films that involve a lot more gayness than this. But besides that, the dialogue is completely clichéd, the twists are lame and the “hot Latino” may just be the most hackneyed thing I’ve seen in a film, ever. Apparently Latino characters cannot overuse the word “puta”. I did find myself laughing but mainly it was at the film and not with it. If you’re into ham acting, predictability and lightweight lesbianism this one’s for you.
CT:Fri 19th – 7pm
Jozi:Fri 12th – 7pm, Fri 19th – 7pm
More info at the Out in Africa Film Festival site.