Melbourne Queer Film Festival

Melbourne Queer Film Festival

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http://www.mqff.com.au/

Melbourne Queer Film Festival opened last week for its 23rd year, making it one of the world’s oldest queer film festivals. Much of the publicity this year has been over the Classification Board’s refusal to grant an exemption of classification for the film I Want Your Love. It is important to open discussions in relation to classification and that whole debate, however it has over-shadowed the fact that there are many, many more excellent films from across the globe screening as part of MQFF.

Melbourne Queer Film Festival is running from March 14-24 at ACMI and Hoyts Melbourne Central.

Gayby

US, 89 min

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Jenn is a single woman, living in New York and working in a yoga studio, who decides that she wants to have a baby. Her best friend, Matt, is heartbroken from a recent breakup with his boyfriend, Tom, and has always wanted children.

This is a totally delightful film. Funny, cute and sweet. The characters and relationships are strong and believable, so much so that I was instantly drawn into this world, and found myself (yet again) wishing I were a cool hipster living in New York. Okay, so that last sentence will put some people off, and if you are a cynical, hipster-hating person, then this film may well not be for you. It’s worth getting past this to enjoy the tight relationships and delightful humour. Especially when Jenn is taking herbal supplements to assist the conception and takes the most amusing Yoga class ever.

Gayby opened MQFF on Thursday March 14 at 7:30pm

Beyond the Walls (Hors Les Murs)

Belgium/France/Canada 96 mins

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Paulo is kicked out by his girlfriend after cheating on her once too often with men. He appears at the door of Ilir, a bartender who he had a fling with, and they quickly fall in love. Then, Ilir goes away for a weekend and doesn’t return. Paulo traces him to prison, and the film follows their attempts to keep their love alive through this trauma.

It’s a good drama. The relationship between the two develops quickly yet naturally despite the forced beginning. The emotion that each feels appears deep and real. I felt that there were several scenes that were not needed, and brought little to the film; at the same time I felt that there was a very sudden change in how Paulo was living his life that was not explored; suddenly, he had made decisions and was living his life differently, but this was not seen.

Beyond the Walls screens in ACMI Cinema 2 on Thursday March 21 at 6:30pm

Struck by Lightning

USA 90 mins

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Carson Phillips is a high school student who has ambitions far beyond those of his contemporaries. He is an outcast from his all of his fellow students apart from Malerie Biggs, a fellow outsider (played by our own Rebel Wilson with a darn fine American accent). His teachers tolerate him, and his pill-popping, alcoholic mother (the always magnificent Allison Janney)rips him down at every opportunity. Then he is killed by lightning and realised that he had only lived his life by half as he was always living for the future.

The film starts with his death and is essentially one long flashback of his life. Often, this structure works really well. Think Sunset Boulevard or American Beauty. For this film, I didn’t think it was necessary. In fact, I don’t think the death was even needed. In fact, I don’t think the main character even had to be killed. There was so much happening in the body of the story that carried the film, and what’s more, I don’t feel that the lesson even quite worked. Yes, he had lived for the future, but Carson had done more with his present that many high school students.

The film was well written and, apart from the death, well structured. Clearly, there is more to writer and actor Chris Colfer that just the singing and dancing that brought him fame in Glee. Here’s a young man who, I hope, has a lot more to say.

Struck by Lightning screens in ACMI Cinema 2 on Sunday March 24 at 6:00pm

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