Today marks the opening kick-off at two premier film festivals - The Los Angeles Film Festival and Frameline - The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. Both have their Opening Night Galas this evening and - shocker alert - both gave the top festival programming spot to a LESBIAN FILM!
The LAFF kicks off with The Kids Are Alright - Lisa Cholodenko's (High Art) new flick starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, and Frameline has The Secret Diary of Miss Anne Lister from the BBC.
This is a little on the monumental side, since there is always a dearth of quality lesbian flicks out there to begin with, and now there's TWO and they are so good, they are nabbing that prime festival opening night slot.
These are two queer films you CAN'T miss, especially if you are a film lover, because they are both fantastic films.
The Kids Are Alright premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in January and provoked a bidding war that made it the biggest sale of the fest. The studio is banking on it sneaking in this summer between all the big blockbusters and appealing to the art house crowd.
The film is absolutely fantastic - completely polished in every way. Bening and Moore play a lesbian couple with two teenage children - both from the same sperm donor, both moms carrying one of them. When the daughter turns 18, she reluctantly is pressured by her younger brother into contacting their sperm donor - enter devil may care Mark Rufallo and as the saying goes, comedy ensues.
(pictured, director Cholodenko at premier with Moore)
With two stellar performances from the leads, lesbians will no doubt debate who steals the show in this film, but my fav was Julianne Moore. Her character is fumbling to find her own self in the shadow of her rich, doctor wife. Bening is the control freak and provider, who is shaken and stirred with the arrival of the charming donor who seems to sweep in and threaten her perfect family structure - as much as it was in needing of a little shaking up.
The directions is spot on - the film is funny and charming, and nails the lesbian family scene without falling into cliche, and still beaming with familiar sappho tendencies we'll all recognize. (and a perfect explanation/deconstruction of why lesbians like gay male porn!)
When we enter Rufallo's world, it's like porn for foodies. He owns a restaurant in Silverlake, and spends his time in the organic market or picking wine, when he's not taking his new kids out for a ride on his motorcycle!
I wanted to hate the BBC production, The Secret Diary of Miss Anne Lister - with all it's Jane Austen airs and bustles and and pick-up lines like, "So do you like Byron?", but midway in it sucked me in. One of the most anticipated queer films of the season, Lister follows the exploits of the title character as she makes her way through a man's world, while refusing to conform.
There's plenty of sex, and plenty of drama in this high gloss production, that spans decades in the author's life. She starts out in a situation that seems all too familiar to lesbians - in love with a woman who decides she must keep face by marrying a man. So it's sex, tears and lesbian drama for the first act. Then, Lister has to decide whether to continue waiting for her soul mate, or to move on with perhaps one of her many love interests, all the while battling with male land barons who try to descend on her estate.