QFest 2010 Megapost (Part 1)

>> Sunday, July 18, 2010

Once a year, Philadelphia has an extraordinary gay and lesbian film festival that make me proud to be gay in this town. The Philadelphia QFest run concurrently with the LA Outfest. While it's true that most gay film producers and stars live in LA, the Philadelphia QFest is not inferior in scope. Just this year, we have about 50 international full-length and short film compilations to choose from, which makes me a very happy camper. I treasure the moments spent on reading and circling the films that I might want to see. In addition to gay films, this year small Danger After Dark movie festival tagged alongside, adding more selection for the boyfriend to enjoy.

To cut down on budget, the boyfriend and I chose 5 films to go see together and the first one of the bunch is a French comedy called Rose et Noir or Fashion Victim. The film is set in 1577 Paris, where a famous fashion designer was hired to go to Spain to produce a wedding gown for noble's daughter to wed King Henri VIII's nephew. It was a ploy to stabilize the relationship between both countries. Though the famous couturier is but a phony, his designs and tailoring comes from a young staff of an arab, a jew and a gay guy. The crew along with the fussy designer's brother and the adolescent soon-to-wed prince begins their journey into chaotic Spain in the midst of the inquisition.

The movie takes a lot of liberty in historic accuracy but of course, it's not meant to be serious. Instead of being about fashion, the film is more about the oppression that religion causes. Jews, gays, Arabs and protestants alike are all prosecuted by the Spanish Inquisition. Things like fashion and music are deemed to be sinful pursuits, the joys of life are sucked dry by Catholicism. The title of the film itself represented the ways of living by the two opposing groups. Freedom necessary for joy and creativity and the movie told it in the most flamboyant and funny way possible.

The actors are likable, the costumes are great, the fashion show in the beginning is unlike anything I've ever seen. At the end, there's a poignant point at the end of the movie that popped out out of nowhere that reminded me of some Bollywood movie where the ending doesn't have anything to do with the entire movie and the ending where everyone walked up and down the runway made me think of the ending dance of those films. Albeit some plot points that I can spot from a mile away, I did enjoy this movie and found it quite funny. B--


Every year, I try to go see a short film compilation with the believe that with less time, they'd have to do more to draw their viewers in much like commercials and without the constriction of a 90 minutes period they won't have to fill up the time with nonsense. This year we got to see 6 of these shorts in a compilation called "Short, Sexy and Sweet":

After is about 3 young men seating at the front porch onlooking to a park where a couple of guys were playing football. They all fantasize about one of the player wearing a red shirt in their own different ways and while there are some flirting coming back, the young men reacted in their own way when the fantasies met a tragic end. It's very much like a low budget art school freshman film, that's weird and dorky. In the beginning, it stated that the film was inspired by a Dennis Cooper poem called "After School, Street Football, Eighth Grade". I'd like to read that poem, if it's true, it's bound to be one twisted poem. C-

On The Way To The Videostore is a black and white film about a phone call between a cub and his hag retelling the story where he saw his favorite porn star on the street and his plan to cruise him. This is a sophomore art school film with more bells and whistles that didn't seem necessary. It reminds me of the Cabearet video that fellow blogger Erik posted, because it will be more successful as an act than an actual movie. With its length, it can even be on YouTube. Cheesy dialogue, clumsy plots, not too attractive actors, it doesn't have too much going for it. But it's fun. D

Thirteen Minutes Or So detailed the aftermath between two straight men who went to a bar and later on... had sex. After everything was done, one of them started to freak out about what their sex acts represents while the other took the nonchalant approach. The dialogue between them two contemplating with their own homophobia and acceptance was touch. Though something tells me that one of them has to know that he's gay and randomly preys on straight guys at the bar all the time. C

Last Call shows Gavin recounting his treasured moments with the love of his life Mark at a mysterious bar. Mark is a much younger musician but their love was torn apart because of Gavin's drinking problem. After rehab and a year and a half of sobriety, Gavin seeks out Mark for reconciliation but found out that things cannot be anymore. This short film is quite well produced and the editing is obviously superb to all others. The concept and the look come quite fresh, Mark can improve a little in the acting part and the moments can be more significant but it's still good. C+

You Can't Curry Love has a title that I deem a bit too much but the cast is gorgeous. An East Indian from London was sent by his gay-baiting boss to Indian to check on the progress of that branch and meet a handsome hotel clerk. They slowly fell in love while traveling India, the film touch on different social issues and gay life in India. When it's time for the Londoner to return home he's face with a choice, does he return to his roots or follow his boss whom he has a huge crush on? In all honesty, this film feels more like a gay travels guide to Indian on Logo mashed with the presex gay porn scenes but the cast was incredibly charming even the fag hag in it, the hotel clerk in particular was gorgeous. The film is incredibly sweet, and of course, they ended with a dance. B

The last one is called Bedfellows. It's a quirky film done in the form of a fairytale where a guy finds a one night stand and when the sex is over he dreams of a life with this stranger, from marriage, adoptions until his last breath. In his fantasy, he experienced the full range of emotions from various life events but he eventually have to wake up. It's a new kind of story told in a fresh way. It was very hard for me to see it as a fairytale at first, especially when the narrator's voice is a bit awkward. I reckoned that not everyone can be Morgan Freeman and I got over that soon. The primary set is well done, throughout the film the two main characters were subtly aging which is brilliant. It's a story that can only be told by a short film. There can always be a few improvements but it's pretty well done. B-

Of these six shorts films, three of them involved a scene where a character got into a car accident. If I were to compile a slew of shorts, I will not put those three together unless I based the theme in accidents and tragedy. Not all of them fits into all three of the Short, Sexy & Sweet category.

To Be Continued...

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