Wednesday, 6 April 2011

LLGFF Part 4: A festive finish

The British Film Institute's blink-and-you-miss-it 25th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival wraps up on Wednesday night. It seems like it only just started (it did). But at least the programmers packed as much into six days as they could. Yesterday's screening of the new doc We Were Here ended with a live Skype Q&A with director David Weissman at his home in sunny San Francisco. It was a long, lively interview with lots of audience interaction, and it clearly marks a step forward for cash-strapped festivals to continue to allow filmmakers and viewers to talk together.

Here are some of today's highlights. I still have one screening to attend - plus the closing party, of course. The review of that film (Rent Boys) will be on the website in a couple of days...

The Four-Faced Liar (closing film)
dir Jacob Chase; with Todd Kubrak, Marja-Lewis Ryan 10/US ***
Light and undemanding, this New York romantic-comedy is engaging enough to hold our interest, even though we know from the start that it's probably not going to say anything very important. But it touches on some big issues... FULL REVIEW >

Going South
dir Sebastien Lifshitz; with Yannick Renier, Lea Seydoux 10/Fr ****
With his usual light touch, Lifshitz again concentrates on feelings rather than plot for this involving road movie. This may annoy viewers looking for something tight and tidy, but it captures the moods of its central character in a remarkably honest way... FULL REVIEW >

We Were Here
dir David Weissman; with Paul Boneberg, Guy Clark 11/US ****
Almost overwhelming in its emotional kick, this documentary about the San Francisco Aids epidemic is so intensely personal that it's sometimes difficult to watch. Which is why it's so important... FULL REVIEW >

Festival shorts
Normally I try to see as many shorts as possible at any festival I attend, but this year's LLGFF had a much smaller selection than usual, and no press screening facilities. So in the end I managed to see only five short films - but they were all very good. Four came from UK filmmakers: Hong Khaou continues his sensitive, understated seasonal explorations of sexuality with Spring; Miikka Leskinen's Small-time Revolutionary is an intriguing period piece combining personal and political issues in Thatcherite Britain; Jason Bradbury makes a mark with his introspective, haunting look at two young men dealing with some big issues in We Once Were Tide; and Andrew Steggall takes on the thorny issue of immigrant refugees in the artful, thoughtful To the Marriage of True Minds. From America, Pierre Stefanos offers a remarkably effective fairy tale about lust, attraction and expectations in Bedfellows. I've been able to hang out with three of these filmmakers (and many others) at parties during this festival, and I suspect more fun is to come at tonight's closing bash ... REVIEWS >

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