Join us for 15 films in June. No charge
Fri – Jun 1
8PM: Out in the Silence, 60 min
The announcement of filmmaker Joe Wilson’s wedding to another man ignites a firestorm of controversy in his small hometown and a plea for help from the mother of a gay teen being tormented at school. 2009
Sat – Jun 2
6PM: A Marine Story, 98 min
Alex Everett has only ever known military life. Having risen through the ranks to become a Major in the elite Marine Corps, soldiering is all she knows how to do, all she wants to do. However when the Army’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy claimed her as its latest victim, she was forced back to civilian life and the conservative home town she thought she’d left behind. While finding it hard to adjust, Alex does gain a renewed sense of purpose in training local rebellious teen Saffron, getting her ready for military boot camp. As her life finally starts to make sense again with a new relationship on the horizon and a close familial bond forming with the orphaned Saffron, Alex’s world is once more placed under threat. Can her strength and courage save her and the ones she loves? BFI, 2010
8PM: Romeos, German – 94 min
20-years-old Lukas is right in the midst of male puberty – medically triggered. He was in fact born a girl. Full of the zest for life, he enters big-city life but even upon arrival encounters a major screw up: recruited for his community service he is the only male quartered in the female nurses’ residential hall. What would be a dream for any other boy is acute, everyday stress for Lukas: being transgender means always finding yourself trapped in the wrong social compartment.
Fortunately his best friend Ine sticks by him and sweeps him into the scene of homosexuals in Cologne, where she is very well integrated. Here Lukas experiences his first real flirt – with the cheeky, daredevil and outwardly attractive Fabio. Fabio embodies all that Lukas lacks: disproportionately positive self-confidence and highly erotic masculinity. The initial attraction between the two boys gradually develops – until Fabio accesses the secret of Lukas’s identity when suddenly all are compelled to risk something for their feelings.
Romeos dares to give a most unusual insight into the subject of transgender and humorously and cheekily sets out to do away with conventional thought on such roles. It is a film about love, friendship and a quite remarkable sexual awakening. 2011
Fri – Jun 8
8PM: Pariah, 86 min
At the club, the music thumps, go-go dancers twirl, shorties gyrate on the dance floor while studs play it cool, and adorably naive 17-year-old Alike takes in the scene with her jaw dropped in amazement. Meanwhile, her buddy Laura, in between macking the ladies and flexing her butch bravado, is trying to help Alike get her cherry popped. This is Alike’s first world. Her second world is calling on her cell to remind her of her curfew. On the bus ride home to Brooklyn, Alike sheds her baseball cap and polo shirt, puts her earrings back in, and tries to look like the feminine, obedient girl her conservative family expects.
With a spectacular sense of atmosphere and authenticity, Pariah takes us deep and strong into the world of an intelligent butch teenager trying to find her way into her own. Debut director Dee Rees leads a splendid cast and crafts a pitch-perfect portrait that stands unparalleled in American cinema. Sundance Film Festival, 2011
Sat – Jun 9
6PM: My Beautiful Laundrette, UK – 97 min
Much of the Pakistani Hussein family has settled in London, striving for the riches promised by Thatcherism. Nasser and his right hand man, Salim, have a number of small businesses and they do whatever they need to make money, even if the activities are illegal. As such, Nasser and his immediate family live more than a comfortable lifestyle, and he flaunts his riches whenever he can. Meanwhile, his brother, alcoholic Ali, once a famous journalist in Pakistan, lives in a seedy flat with his son, Omar. Ali’s life in London is not as lucrative in part because of his left leaning politics, which does not mesh with the ideals of Thatcherism. To help his brother, Nasser gives Omar a job doing menial labor. But Omar, with bigger plans, talks Nasser into letting him manage Nasser’s run down laundrette. Omar seizes what he sees as an opportunity to make the laundrette a success, and employs an old friend. IMDb,1985
8: Last Call at Maud’s, 77 min
Last Call at Maud’s is a fascinating look at the life and times of the world’s longest running lesbian bar, San Francisco’s Maud’s. Opened in 1966, Maud’s was a thriving and popular meeting place for a “secret sorority” unitl it closed it’s doors in 1989.
This one-of-a-kind film interweaves extrememly rare archives of the hot gay bar scene of the 1940’s, the frightening vice raids of the 1950’s, and the colorful gay counter culture of the 1960’s together with provacative personal stories of coming out, sexual politics and humorous adventures. Director Paris Poirier’s Last Call at Maud’s at once bids a fond farewell to a cherished landmark and documents an important social revolution. A witty and informative look at cultural evolution in the making. 1993
Fri – Jun 15
8: Albert Nobbs, Ireland – 114 min
Glenn Close co-wrote and stars in this adaptation of the play about a nineteenth-century Irishwoman who disguises herself as a man and works as a butler for twenty years. Mia Wasikowska, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Aaron Johnson co-star in this intelligent and often surprising period drama.
True independence is something hard won at the best of times, but for the protagonist of director Rodrigo Garcia’s captivating period piece, the measures taken to achieve it are extraordinary by any standard.
Albert Nobbs unfolds within the opulent rooms of Dublin’s most luxurious hotel, a place designed for the enjoyment of the privileged class. For those who live and work there, however, private dramas are unfolding, and much is not as it seems. Take Albert, the shy butler. He keeps to himself for a very good reason. Albert has been hiding a secret for a very long time. Albert is actually a woman.
Nineteenth-century Ireland was not an easy place for a single woman of no means. To keep herself from destitution’s door, Albert (Glenn Close, who played the role in an off-Broadway adaptation and is one of the film’s writers and producers) has spent over twenty years pretending to be a man. By now it would seem that nothing could spoil her immaculate ruse, but when a handsome painter arrives at the hotel, Albert is tempted to let the mask she’s worn for so long slip away. As she investigates the possibility of getting close to the artist, Albert attempts to secure the assistance of Helen (Mia Wasikowska), one of the hotel’s young maids, but Helen too is distracted — by a handsome young handyman (Aaron Johnson).
Based on the short story The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs by George Moore, the film benefits immeasurably from its adaptation, the fruit of a collaboration between Close and Booker Prize–winning author John Banville. Their witty exchanges are handled with utter finesse by the cast, which features not only Close, Wasikowska and Johnson, but also Irish actors Brendan Gleeson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Together they will transport you into the past — to meet a woman ahead of her time. TIFF, 2011
Sat – Jun 16
6: Beginners, 104 min
English, FrenchFive years after Thumbsucker, director Mike Mills returns to the Festival with another winning indie dramedy that balances humour, sorrow and romance with aplomb. Beginners deftly juggles two chronologies to tell the heartwarming story of two major points in the life of Oliver (Ewan McGregor), a talented illustrator.
One timeline follows the slow-burning deterioration of Oliver’s father (Christopher Plummer), who is dying of cancer. But his impending death is not the only news that has caught Oliver off guard; his divorced father, at the age of seventy-five, has also come out of the closet. Just like that, he gets a new wardrobe, a new boyfriend and an entirely new outlook on life.
Following his father’s death, a bereaved Oliver becomes somewhat of a shut-in. As Beginners takes us through his personal journey, the film flashes forward, intercutting a budding relationship between Oliver and a young French actress (Inglourious Basterd’s Mélanie Laurent) whom he meets at a costume party that he attends under duress. The twin narratives gradually reveal subtle associations about how Oliver reacts to both these unpredictable relationships, and how his father and girlfriend motivate him to surpass his self-prescribed limitations.
McGregor and Laurent have natural onscreen chemistry, and Plummer is outstanding in his rich portrayal of a dying man who is finally able to live honestly, breaking out of his shell so near the end of his life. The ensemble cast lends the film a warm, understated aura that never feels the least bit contrived.
Mills is at the top of his game in crafting dynamic mood pieces that steer clear of the usual trappings found in American independent cinema. The outcome is a thoroughly enjoyable character study about people opening up and discovering themselves despite age, preconceptions and illness. 2010
8: The World Unseen, South Africa, 94 min
In the pressure cooker of apartheid era South Africa, free-spirited Amina’s (Sheetal Sheth) life takes a dramatic turn when she falls for Miriam (Lisa Ray), a traditional wife and mother. Their unexpected attraction pushes Miriam to question the rules that bind her, and forces both women to face outrage and violent disapproval. 2007
Fri – June 22
8: Circumstance, Iran (Farsi) – 105 min
Teenagers Atafeh, and her best friend, Shireen, are experimenting with their burgeoning sexuality amidst the subculture of Tehran’s underground art scene when Atafeh’s brother, Mehran, returns home from drug rehab as the prodigal son. Battling his demons, Mehran vehemently renounces his former life as a classical musician and joins the morality police. He disapproves of his sister’s developing intimate relationship with Shireen and becomes obsessed with saving Shireen from Atafeh’s influence. Suddenly, the two siblings, who were close confidants, are entangled in a triangle of suspense, surveillance, and betrayal as the once-liberal haven of the family home becomes a place of danger for the beautiful Atafeh.
Splendidly constructed and saturated with a sumptuous sense of style and sensuality, Circumstance marks the arrival of an exciting, original talent. First-time feature writer/director Maryam Keshavarz registers a rare glimpse of forbidden love in today’s Iranian youth culture. Sundance Film Festival, 2011
Sat – Jun 23
6: I Love You Phillip Morris, Canada – 102 min
The story begins with Russell, played by Jim Carrey, on his deathbed recalling the events of his life that led him there. He begins with his life in Texas as a happily married police officer who plays the organ at church, prays every night with his wife (Leslie Mann) and spends his off hours searching for the biological mother who gave him up as a child. That, and he’s gay. But after finding and being handily rejected by the mother who gave him up as a baby, Steven leaves his life and family behind to go out into the world and be his true, flamboyantly gay self.
He moves to Miami, finds a boyfriend (Rodrigo Santoro) and begins living the high life. He realizes quickly though, that a life of luxury is expensive, leading this resourceful former cop to turn to a life as a conman. But when his con work finally catches up with him, Steven is sent to prison where he meets, and almost instantly falls in love with Phillip Morris, played by Ewan McGregor. From there the story becomes a Don Quixote-esque story of a forlorn lover who cannot bear to be separated from his soul-mate. He will go to any lengths to be with Phillip, including but not limited to breaking out of jail on multiple occasions, impersonating Phillips lawyer and fraudulently becoming the CFO of a major corporation. IMDb, 2009
8: Dirty Girl, 99 min
A raucous, feel-good road-trip film with a clever, postmodern edge, Dirty Girl follows the travails of teenaged Danielle (Juno Temple) on a cross-America adventure in search of love, family and identity.
Danielle, who’s garnered every naughty moniker imaginable for herself, is loved and hated in equal parts in her conventional small-town for her totally blasé morality. Whether knocking boots with her latest conquest in the high school parking lot or parading through the hallways in killer hot pants, she injects fresh irreverence into the bad girl theme. But after raising her hand in class and offending her teachers and peers one time too many, Danielle is forced into the remedial education program. To her great dismay, she’s paired with overweight outcast Clarke (Jeremy Dozier) for a parenting project, and plummets almost instantly on the social ladder.
Clarke is grappling with his own roster of issues, not least of which is his not-so-latent homosexuality, which his father will never accept. All too familiar with her own feelings of sexual ostracism, Danielle and Clarke strike up an unlikely friendship. When Danielle finds a clue as to the identity of her real father, the two hit the road in search of one dad while attempting to escape another, all the while learning more about who they are and the ultimate value of friendship.
Hilarious performances by Milla Jovovich as a loving but incompetent single mom, and William H. Macy as Danielle’s born-again Christian stepdad, further heighten the film’s winning comedic elements. Danielle’s irreverent appropriation of a promiscuous stereotype has an emboldening feminist resonance and Clarke’s desperate strive for love and self-acceptance carries an emotional and modern punch. TIFF, 2010
Fri – Jun 29
8: A Single Man, 99 min
Set in Los Angeles in 1962, A Single Man is the story of George Falconer, a British college professor (Colin Firth) who is struggling to find meaning in his life after the death of his long-time partner, Jim (Matthew Goode). We follow George through a single day, where a series of encounters, ultimately leads him to decide if there is a meaning to life after Jim. George is consoled by his closest friend, Charley (Julianne Moore), a 48-year-old beauty, and is stalked by one of his students, Kenny (Nicholas Hoult). The story is an adaptation based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood and is directed by Tom Ford. TIFF, 2009
Sat – Jun 30
6: Edie & Thea, 106 min
In the closeted 1960s, two young women met and fell in love – and so began the extraordinary tale of Edie and Thea, whose engagement to each other would span more than forty years Directors Susan Muska and Greta Olafsd¢ttir of The Brandon Teena Story present a lovingly crafted documentary in which Edie and Thea recount how their improbable romance ignited a lifelong journey around the world and through history.
Though touched by events like the civil rights movement and the Stonewall riots, Edie and Thea’s relationship transcends politics and is a shining example of love’s ability to endure. Ultimately, in their 70s, with Thea’s health in rapid decline, the two seize the opportunity to fulfill their dream of getting married. The film captures their inspiring journey to Toronto – and Thea’s last trip on a plane – where the lovers are finally able to make their vows. Told with candor, wit, and great affection, Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement is an American love story for the ages. 2010
8: Kawa, 76 min
Kawariki must become the leader of the family after his father retires in this intimate drama. A husband and father, he realizes that in order to lead with integrity, he must come out and be honest about his own life, even though it will test the boundaries of acceptance and unconditional love. Offering valuable insights into Maori traditions, family ideals and cultural values, this feature debut is rich and textured with emotional layers and stunning New Zealand landscapes. Outfest, 2010