After Brokeback, Still Queer

Film fest puts gay life onscreen

20 Centímetros (20 Centimeters): Directed by Ramón Salazar (Spain, 2005; Florida premiere): It's not so easy to make an Almodóvar comedy, especially without Almodóvar. Salazar tries, and the result is an outrageous tale of a stacked but also well-hung pre-op tranny's saga on her way to shedding all of those centimeters in a sex-change operation. Complications ensue when she finds an otherwise ideal boyfriend who happens to like her generous endowment. What is a girl with a big dick to do? There's also a dwarf roommate. The familiar lowlife-in-Spain stuff has been much better. That said, the several musical dream sequences provide a cute, ironic glimpse into the Great Euro-pop Songbook.

George Michael: A Different Story: Directed by Southan Morris (United Kingdom, 2005; Florida premiere): At the height of his post-Wham! glory, George Michael found himself thinking, Oh my God, I'm a massive star, and I think I may be a poof. This is not going to end well. Actually it did. Or at least it's still going not bad. Michael is perhaps not everyone's idea of a great pop star or a poster boy for the gay movement, but this honest, entertaining documentary is a big surprise. It is also revealing: In the midst of the singer's well-publicized feud with Sony, fans did not know that his Brazilian lover Anselmo had died of AIDS and that Michael was denied the dignity and support straight married people count on when facing such a loss. Interviews with Elton John, Sting, Martin Kemp, and others enrich this film, but the candid talks with Michael himself make this a different story. And a good one.

Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema: Directed by Lisa Ades and Lesli Klainberg (United States, 2005; South Florida premiere): This is not a sequel to the legendary Celluloid Closet. In fact it's pretty parochial — not exactly fabulous. Archival footage of pioneers like Kenneth Anger is always good, interviews with John Waters are definitely a hoot, and the idea that the low cost of video may yet revolutionize gay filmmaking is worth considering.

Small Town Gay Bar
Small Town Gay Bar
Sevigne
Sevigne
Zero Degrees of Separation
Zero Degrees of Separation

Details

Presented April 21 through 30, with screenings at the following venues: Regal Cinemas South Beach, 1100 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, 174 E Flagler St, Miami; Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; Gateway Cinemas, 1820 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale. Ticket prices vary. Visit www.mglff.com or call 1-866-468-7619 for more information.

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Zero Degrees of Separation: Directed by Elle Flanders (Canada, 2005; Florida premiere): Aiming for the heart and the brain, Elle Flanders scores a hit with this challenging documentary (made on a shoestring) about mixed gay and lesbian couples, in this case Israeli and Palestinian. Any film that gets an Israeli soldier to say on camera he is only following orders is bound to be unsettling. Zero Degrees of Separation is that and more: a sad, disturbing motion picture.

Say Uncle: Directed by Peter Paige (United States, 2005; Florida premiere): And this year's festival turkey award goes to Peter Paige's silly, self-indulgent little comedy. Dull, small movies are not just for straight directors anymore.

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