Getting Sapphic

In the words of female impersonator Charles Pierce, “I’d rather be black than gay, because when you’re black, you don’t have to tell your mother.” But if you’re Angela — the protagonist in the Italian indie film Purple Sea — it’s your father you have to worry about. When she reveals her Sapphic love for her childhood friend in this 16th-century Sicilian tale based on true events, her papa immediately locks her up in the cellar and exclaims, “It would have been better to know she was a whore than a half-man.” Her empathetic mother cooks up a scheme, however, blackmailing the Catholic Church into recognizing Angela as a man despite her killer cheekbones and serious lack of an Adam’s apple. As Angelo, she takes on the role of son, successfully managing her father’s rock quarry and openly pursuing her forbidden love. Winner of Best Film at the Nice Film Festival, as well as an official selection of OUTFest in Los Angeles, Purple Sea is visually stunning both for its pastoral Mediterranean landscapes and for its bountiful lesbian bodice-ripping. Launching Aqua Foundation for Women’s SHE Film Series, it screens at the newly opened O Cinema at 8 p.m. this Tuesday with a wine reception an hour before showtime.
Tue., March 15, 8 p.m., 2011
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Amanda McCorquodale

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