The Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
The 12th Annual Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival runs Friday September 19 through Saturday, September 27. All films screen at Cinema 21. Not all films were screened for critics. For more info, see Let's Go on Gaycation and plgff.org.
The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela
An Icelandic drama about a transsexual internet porn star.
Between Love & Goodbye
A gay couple struggles with challenges, including a "scheming ex-prostitute sister." Who can't relate?
A "raucous farce" in which a Madrid real estate agent kills old ladies and rents their apartments to upwardly mobile gays.
Breakfast with Scot
Chris & Don: A Love Story
Is there anything gayer than the musical Cabaret? Well yes, as it turns out, there is, and that something (or someone) is British author Christopher Isherwood—whose semi-autobiographical book The Berlin Stories served as the inspiration for the play I Am a Camera, which was subsequently made into Cabaret, the gayest musical ever. Despite its saccharine title, Chris & Don: A Love Story is a fascinating documentary chronicling Isherwood's relationship with a man almost 30 years younger than himself. KIALA KAZEBEE
When Jeff's best friend, Mark, dies unexpectedly in a car crash, Jeff looks through his friend's email—and comes across Mark's correspondence with Andrea, a hunky Italian who had planned to come out to Dallas for a visit. Jeff asks Andrea to come anyway. Ciao's budget is obviously small, but director Yen Tan makes the best of it. Unfortunately, the acting is stilted (think of the dialogue parts of soft-core pornos), and the writing comes off as unnecessarily awkward. SAHAR BAHARLOO
I Dreamt Under the Water
A depressing-sounding French drama about a young man who falls in love with a heroin addict, engages in degrading anonymous sex, becomes a prostitute, and then falls in love with another heroin addict. Hey France: Cheer the fuck up.
A Jihad for Love
The Argentine film La León in a nutshell: beautiful black-and-white shot of nature, slow pan of Argentine people fishing, gorgeous photography of murky canals, rape scene (in which the gay protagonist, Alvaro, admits to liking the experience), decadent shot of the wind blowing through the reeds, and more achingly pretty cinematography. La León is probably the slowest, quietest 79 minutes I've spent in recent memory. Not much happens in La León, much like in the sleepy village it takes place in, so there's not much to do but sit back and watch the scenery. COURTNEY FERGUSON
The New World
"A delightfully modern lesbian comedy" about what happens when a French lesbian tells her partner she wants a baby.
Nothing Else Matters
A German drama about a girl who runs away from home and ends up working on a construction site with another girl. Three guesses as to where this is headed!
A single mother tries to figure out what's up with her young son, who's a bit too interested in "dresses, dolls, and girls' cheerleading."
Sissyboy & Whatever Happened to Fannie Mae?
A doc about local drag troupe Sissyboy, screening with Whatever Happened to Fannie Mae?, a 49-minute-long film that's directed by Sissyboy's Devan McGrath and is, it should be noted, decidedly not about economic meltdowns and government bailouts.
The Bicycle Thief
SPOILER ALERT: Life sucks and then your dad gets caught stealing a bike. Jace Gace.
A screening of former Willamette Week screen editor David Walker's 2005 film Damaged Goods, a "twisted (un)romantic comedy." Clinton Street Theater.
See review. Various Theaters.
Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts
A documentary about minimalist composer Philip Glass. Living Room Theaters.
See review. Clinton Street Theater.
An animated kids' flick in which John Cusack voices the hunchbacked lab assistant. Mary Shelley, we're sure, would be delighted. Various Theaters.
Shot over five years, this doc follows 21-year-olds Cecy and Camilio as they move from rural Mexico to work in factories on the U.S. border, leaving their baby behind for a year to save money for a new home. There are moments of unbearable poverty: "Every Saturday after I finish cleaning the house and cooking, I look for a second job," says Cecy, who is making bras all day for Victoria's Secret for 18 cents apiece. The couple's love for each other ultimately helps them to overcome their tougher-than-fiction economic hardship, but it's a slow process. Talk about a sense of perspective: Even with Camilio's overtime at the fire hydrant factory, they manage to save just $15 a month. Directors in attendance. MATT DAVIS Hollywood Theatre.
See review. Various Theaters.
Moulin Rouge Sing-Along
Helpful tip! Slashing your wrists lengthwise, along the course of the vein, is far more effective than making cuts at a right angle to the vein. Bagdad Theater.
My Best Friend's Girl
The latest not-screened-for-critics film starring Dane Cook. (Confidential to "D.C.": Stop making movies, you smug asshole.) Various Theaters.
No Greater Love
Masaki Kobayashi's 1958 drama is the first part in his nine-hour-long "The Human Condition" trilogy, "about one man's struggle to remain true to his ideals during the horrors of war." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Boston's Devil Music Ensemble provides live accompaniment to this 1929 film, "the only surviving episode of the Chinese 13-part serial." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
"Everyone has AIDS! AIDS AIDS AIDS!" Various Theaters.
Probably one of the most badass movies ever made, 1980’s Shogun Assassin tells the heartwarming story of a samurai, his adorable toddler son, a lethally tricked-out baby carriage of doom, and the duo’s quest for bloody, bloody vengeance. Screening tonight in 35mm courtesy of the folks at the Grindhouse Film Festival, Shogun Assassin is a classic piece of grindhouse that you shouldn’t miss. Hollywood Theatre.
Portland documentarian Mike Shiley's latest film is a "docu-comedy" about illegal immigration, using "satire, animation, comedy, and common sense." See our review in next week's Mercury. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Stealing America: Vote by Vote
A look at 2004's election, including interviews with "voters who experienced hardships." Narrated by Steven Seagal. Fox Tower 10.
After her ex-husband tries to kill her, Yella (Nina Hoss) crosses the border to West Germany to start a new life and career. She soon finds herself working for Philipp (Devid Striesow) providing illegal loans to floundering businesses, and she quickly gets bogged down in the dull minutiae of accounting, profit margins, and balance sheets. Throw in some obtuse allegory about the encroachment of Western capitalism and a maddening "was it all a dream?" ending, and you've got a surefire recipe for who gives a shit. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.