QFest Films for Guys

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

With over 120 feature films, short films, parties, panels, programs and other miscellaneous events to choose from over the next two weeks, planning your Philadelphia QFest itinerary can sometimes be a daunting task.

In an effort to help your ticket-buying decisions, I have listed five particularly exciting screenings below, featuring some of the year’s most acclaimed gay-themed films. These five are NOT TO BE MISSED!

Visit QFest.com or call 267-765-9800, x4 to order your tickets today. They’re moving fast!

Eyes Wide Open: An official selection of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Eyes Wide Open has been impressing audiences around the globe for the past year. Israeli director Haim Tabakman, making his feature film debut, crafts this gorgeous, heart-wrenching, romantic drama set within a frighteningly strict Orthodox community in Jerusalem. The story concerns 38-year-old Aaron, a married butcher with four children, who falls for Ezri, his 19-year-old protégé. As if May-December romances aren’t problematic enough, the radical “Modesty Guards” of their community are soon imposing threats to keep the pair apart and ensure a tragic ending. It might make you cry, it might make you angry, but it’s certainly a film worth seeing. It’s already well on it’s way to becoming a gay cinema classic. Also, preceding the feature, you’ll also have a chance to see the visually stunning, similarly-themed Israeli short Does Not Depend Upon from directors Avital Barak and Sie Gal.
Howl: James Franco was already on his way to alternative gay icon status – Howl simply seals the deal. Leading an all-star cast (which also includes Mary-Louise Parker, David Strathairn, Mad Men’s John Hamm and many more), Franco plays legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg during the two year period between the writing of his seminal poem Howl and the controversy that surrounded its publication. Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman use archival footage, court transcripts, wildly inventive animation and gorgeous cinematography to accurately depict an important period in the life of a gay artist who rallied against the heteronormative status quo.
Is it Just Me?: If “light and fluffy” is more your speed, writer/producer/director J.C. Calciano has just the movie for you. Updating Cyrano de Bergerac for modern gay boys, Is it Just Me? follows Blaine, an insecure newspaper columnist who strikes up a chat room flirtation with a shy, adorable southerner named Xander. A case of mistaken identity ensues when Blaine accidentally sends Xander a picture of his muscular roommate – as opposed to a picture of himself. The film is worth seeing for veteran character actor Bruce Gray alone – who steals every scene he’s in as Ernie, a frisky, older gay gentleman who imparts misguided wisdom on the younger characters. This movie leaves audiences laughing and swooning in equal measure.
La Mission: Playing an ex-convict and recovering alcoholic, Benjamin Bratt delivers his most gripping performance since 2001’s Piñero in La Mission. He stars as Che, a single father from the streets of San Francisco’s Mission district who reacts violently after discovering that Jes, his only son, is gay. Writer/director Peter Bratt (Ben’s brother) crafts this touching and intelligent story about machismo tendencies and patriarchal pride within the Latin American community and how it’s effects can be alienating. The film received a standing ovation following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Tales from the Closet: Though this short film program is not for the squeamish, there is much cinematic mastery to be found from the up-and-coming filmmakers who are featured. Presenting four movies which relate to the theme of sexual repression – and the trouble that ensues – Tales from the Closet is a stark reminder that not everyone is out and proud. The Armoire, from acclaimed writer/director Jamie Travis (who’s previous works will be released this summer on the DVD compilation The Patterns Trilogy), is sure to become one of the most talked-about gay shorts of the year. Travis incorporates the best elements of Todd Haynes, Wes Anderson, Todd Solondz, Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock to follow a secretive little boy who’s best buddy goes mysteriously missing during a sinister game of hide and seek. If you’re a fan of brazen cinema that proudly pushes the envelope, you don’t want to miss this program. It is likely to haunt you.

Read Related Posts...