[sexy slots]Frameline 45 presenters select LGBTQ films for every taste from 2021 festival lineup ｜ Datebook
Cloris Leachman and Thomas Duplessie in “Jump, Darling.” Photo: Frameline
Frameline, San Francisco’s iconic LGBTQ film festival, will have its longest run in history, from Thursday, June 10, through June 27. The package includes drive-in showings, streaming across the country, indoor screenings and even outdoor movie nights at Oracle Park.
Before the program was put together, organizers worried that the pandemic would make it difficult to come up with a strong lineup. But the opposite happened: There weren’t enough slots for all the excellent work, including big productions, romances and period dramas.
“The hard part was we didn’t have enough slots for all the work and all the creative energy that people were able to muster while being locked down,” said Allegra Madsen, Frameline’s director of programming.
With that in mind, Madsen and the film festival’s senior programmer, Peter Stein, shared highlights with The Chronicle about Frameline’s schedule to help folks navigate this year’s offerings.
“Every film in this program is here for a reason, because there is something beautiful or exceptional or relevant to this moment,” Madsen said. “Take a leap of faith and trust that you’re going to experience something about you.”
Germaine De Leon and Gold Azeron in “Metamorphosis.” Photo: Frameline
Q: Did you see any overarching themes from the films for Frameline 45?
Madsen: One thing I saw in all the films were the weird and beautiful machinations that people go through to connect with one another and to escape being lonely.
Stein: The themes are more intricate and complex. The films address issues like allyship, or race, or xenophobia where the queerness, per se, is only one of the elements of life.
Q: Name a hidden gem in the lineup.
Stein: “Nico.” It centers on a young Persian-German woman in Berlin who becomes a victim of a xenophobic attack. It’s an exploration of what it takes to become resilient against hate — and is uplifting.
Sara Fazilat acts in a movie about a Persian-German woman who is a victim of a xenophobic attack in “Nico.” Photo: Frameline
Madsen: “Metamorphosis.” It’s a narrative from the Philippines about an intersex youth who, until a pivotal moment, has identified as male. It is a beautiful, unusual take on the coming-of-age story.
Q: Which films stood out for their acting?
Madsen: I put my money behind “Language Lessons.” Literally, the entire film is the two characters (played by Natalie Morales and Mark Duplass) on (Zoom) screens. Acting to a camera, and not a person, is a real feat.
Stein: In the documentary “Truman and Tennessee,” the voice-over character performances are fantastic. They (Jim Parsons as Truman Capote, and Zachary Quinto as Tennessee Williams) capture something about the characters of these two gay literary lions.
Q: What’s a worthwhile romantic film in the lineup?
Stein: “Boy Meets Boy.” It’s a breezy summer romance in the style of “Weekend” and “Before Sunrise.”
Madsen: I’m going to go with “Noor & Layla,” a lesbian short in the Realness & Revelations program. It’s a beautiful marriage of a love story with culture and prayer.
Q: Name a funny film.
Madsen: “Sweetheart.” It’s a summer romance that follows a teenager who is in that angsty, self-absorbed and also incredibly charming moment in life. It has those “Oh, I remember that” moments. I’m mortified, but I completely understand where she is. It just makes you laugh.
Stein: The “Fun in Shorts” program — all (the films) made me laugh out loud. The closing one is “Sunday Dinner,” about a very raucous Italian family dinner. I’m so excited that people can see these shorts at the Castro Theatre, and laugh together as a community again.
Q: How about a sexy film?
Madsen: Francois Ozon’s “Summer of 85.” It has tight acid wash jeans, feathered hair, a beach in France, and then it turns dark, which may say something about me. (laughs)
Stein: I’ll pick the same film. Super, super sexy. That’s a drive-in showing only – tinted windows are a must!
Q: What film stands out as a crowd-pleaser?
Madsen: “Fanny: The Right to Rock.” It follows this all-female rock band in the ’60s and ’70s, and then their comeback. You will leave this film feeling pumped.
Stein: “No Straight Lines,” the closing night film. It is the story of queer comics. It’s fun, upbeat — a discovery film.
Q: My Aunt Mabel is in town from Kansas. What film should I watch with her?
Madsen: I’m just going to go ahead and say it: “Raw! Uncut! Video!” It’s time Aunt Mabel knows who we are. (laughs)
Seriously, I would recommend “Jump, Darling,” about a grandmother (Cloris Leachman in her final film role) transitioning into life stages, and her grandson, a wayward queer artist.
Stein: “A Sexplanation,” about those cringey conversations that you’ve never really had with your older relatives. It’ll probably open up a very interesting conversation with Aunt Mabel.
Udo Kier and Jennifer Coolidge in “Swan Song.” Photo: Frameline
Todd Stephens (director of “Edge of Seventeen” and “Another Gay Movie,” both LGBTQ classics) helms this bittersweet dramedy about a hairdresser and makeup artist in Sandusky, Ohio, who ventures out of his nursing home for one last hurrah. As the hairdresser, Udo Kier is outstanding, and his memorable interactions with the townsfolk make his journey quirky, funny and moving. Plenty of excellent cameos here.
Streaming June 17-27. $10.
In this very French, sexy film, two teenage boys in a coastal town embark on a romance before bursts of angst take things in tragic directions. This has the fingerprints of director Francois Ozon (“Swimming Pool”) all over it, so buckle up for some freewheeling expressions of human behavior.
9 p.m. June 16. $49 per vehicle. Fort Mason Flix Drive-In, 2 Marina Blvd., S.F.
The late Cloris Leachman delivers a luminous performance in this engaging film about the life changes facing a grandmother and her artistic but directionless gay grandson. This movie combines serious themes of aging and loss with mesmerizing drag numbers — and it all comes together. It’s a fitting final role for Leachman.
Streaming from June 17-27. $10; in-person screening 6 p.m. June 26. $16. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F. Limited indoor seating and COVID protocols enforced, including masks required indoors.
This unforgettable documentary follows Bay Area documentary legend and Academy Award winner Debra Chasnoff after she is diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. For someone whose career depended on others revealing their stories, Chasnoff never wavers in opening up about her private struggles. It’s a courageous film.
Streaming at 4 p.m. June 19; and 4 p.m. June 26. Free.
This charming movie from the U.K. concerns an awkward teenage girl who falls for a female lifeguard while she is on a summer vacation. It’s not only a tale of the joy and clumsiness of first love, but also an effective family drama with heart.
Streaming June 17-27. $10.
What: 45th San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival
When: June 10-27.
Where: West Wind Solano Drive-in, 1611 Solano Way, Concord; in San Francisco at Oracle Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, S.F.; Fort Mason Flix drive-in, 2 Marina Blvd., S.F.; Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St.; Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F. Also streaming at frameline.org.
Opening night film: “Fanny: The Right to Rock,” at West Wind Solano Drive-In, June 10.
Oracle Park nights: “In the Heights,” June 11; “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” June 12. Tickets $24.99 (lower box) to $44.99 (club level); On-Field Experience package (tickets, food and drinks for up to 12 guests) is $2,499.96.
Fort Mason Flix films: “Potato Dreams of America,” June 15; “Summer of 85,” June 16; “Ailey,” June 19. $49 per carload.
Roxie Theater films: “Genderation,” “Baloney,” June 20. Prices vary.
Castro Theatre films: “Fun in Shorts” (shorts program), “Invisible,” “Jump, Darling,” June 26; “Homegrown” (shorts program), “Firebird,” “No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics,” June 27. Prices vary.
Virtual screenings: More than 50 programs featuring more than 100 films, available anywhere in the United States. $8-$12 per screening, with passes starting at $95.
Special programs: Focus on Taiwan, three feature films and four shorts; Frameline Talks, four discussions, free to stream nationwide through Frameline’s Facebook and YouTube channels, and at Frameline.org.
For more information: Frameline.org
David Lewis is a Bay Area freelance writer
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