[SIFF Despatches: Issue Seven]


A montage film telling the 20th century history of queer people and gay rights in Britain through film and newsreel footage in the BFI, Queerama surprised me by not being as white and male as I had expected. Though obviously the film deals with heavy themes, it also felt like a celebration, this thanks to the use of music, primarily by John Grant, and to the smart curation of clips that illustrated joy and desire.

If you’re in Seattle, it plays again at NWFF, June 13-17.

A Rough Draft

A mediocre white dude is Chosen, for vague reasons, to be the eternal customs official at a portal to parallel universes. Not how I would hire for a government position, but you do you. Some fun effects, particularly when he strays too far away from his portal and turns translucent, but I expect some aspects of the thin story have more depth if your Russian history is better. Bonus star for the matryoshka attack drones.

The Empty Hands

When Mari’s father dies, he leaves part of his dojo to her, but the controlling interest to a former student. He’ll sign it over, but first she must prove herself as a fighter. There’s an interesting story here about expectations and the pressure we put on ourselves, but the film told the wrong part, including ages on her love life, plus a completely extraneous pedophile ring subplot that served only to develop a male character.

My Big Gay Italian Wedding

I didn’t believe most of this movie about a gay couple returning home to announce both their queerness and their engagement, but also it didn’t really matter. It would be the perfect fluff recommendation except that there is a trans woman character who is treated as a joke for most of the film. She has some lovely moments towards the end, but when audience laughter is just because a trans person exists, that’s a problem.