Award-winning LGBTQ films at this year’s festivals
Stranger by the Lake
Folks who were lucky enough to attend this year’s Sundance Film Festival, or the Cannes International Film Festival, got a varied taste of how the future of queer cinema looks...and feels. While not many of this year’s features are available on Netflix, Videoport carries at least three of them—and the folks there are so damn helpful, they can probably recommend some similarly excellent titles. The GLBT category at Sundance is worth checking out because it the very diversity of its films—two of them are documentaries, and there’s a range of subject matter sure to resonate with the many voices within LGBTQ communities here and abroad.
Vancouver-based singer Rae Spoon’s vocals weave throughout a montage of handheld shots of the Canadian landscape, and of the diners and late-night venues which Spoon frequents. This is the trailer for Chelsea McMullen’s musical documentary My Prairie Home, and its homey aesthetics one might associate with those of Portlandia, Twin Peaks, or maybe a Lana Del Rey music video. But the trailer suggests that neither McMullen nor Spoon take the notion of home for granted—in Spoon’s words, “people always ask me, like, why I come back to the prairies so much. It can be really awkward for me, but there is a shared history that’s just as much mine as anyone else.” Based on Spoon’s 2012 novel First Spring Grass Fire, My Prairie Home also screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2013.
Kai, one of the main characters in Lilting, doesn’t have a lot of screentime, and yet this British film follows how his mother and his lover each mourn for him in the wake of his early death. Their mutual sadness is the only way the two can communicate, because Junn doesn’t speak English, and Richard doesn’t speak Cambodian. The trailer mostly focuses on dining room table exchanges (not quite conversations) between Richard and Junn, and it captures concise, fragile performances leveraged by Ben Whishaw (who has made a name for himself in American films I’m Not There, Skyfall, etc.) and Chinese actress Pei-Pei Cheng. It won the World Cinematic Drama Award for Best Cinematography.
“If one day defines your week...when do you take control?” 52 Tuesdays documents the relationship between 16-year-old Billie and her mother, who become limited to spending one day a week together as Billie’s mother transitions from female to male. Jane begins to be called James, and he and Billie negotiate one another’s identity politics as they configure new names for each other, and Billie’s grandfather, Tom, tells the family that James is only a parent to Billie on Tuesdays. Australian director Sophie Hyde spent one day per week shooting the feature, and won Best Director in the World Cinematic Drama category at Sundance.