Turin International Film Festival on Homosexual Themes
[Click on to see the beautiful Festival trailer]
In 1981 Ottavio Mai and Giovanni Minerba decided to stage their own rebellion against mainstream movies where homosexual “characters” were always relegated to marginal roles and/or to offensive stereotypes. Their opposition took the form of their first film, shot in video, “Dalla vita di Piero”, well received at ‘Festival Cinema Giovani di Torino’ (Turin’s festival for young film-makers), and then presented at several international festivals. So the seed of the “Torino International Film Festival on Homosexual Themes” (GLBT Film Festival), entitled “Da Sodoma a Hollywood” (From Sodom to Hollywood), was planted and now arrived at its 27th edition. This year the festival was held April 10 to 25, and in this edition, among other events, different “focus themes” and ‘in-depth-examinations’ as “The Last Taboo” the hot topic of relationship between homosexuality and sports, and the topic “Forever Young“, which includes a series of films by young directors who are investigating the issue of sexual identity through the adolescents world and their hard coming out, as “Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho”, “Uniformadas” by irene Zoe Alameda or the well-known “Tomboy” directed by Céline Sciamma, that through a light and charming touch, talks about the drama of sex childhood confusion.
Despite the exiguous budget and the refusal of the local region (right-side politic orientation) to subsidize the initiative, this year have been screened 140 films during the festival.
The section “Gay in pantofole” (gay in slippers), has been opened by a documentary that throbs of humanity. A Danish film by Nola Grace Gaardmand shot in the Philippines and entitled “Home for The Golden Gays”, a refuge for elderly homosexuals alone and abandoned. A blend of moving stories and lives on the edge.
The festival also adhered to the day against
bullying (GLSEN, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network) with two events. “Man in the Mirror” by Joel Schumacher, a short-film shot in schools, where the director of ‘Batman Forever’ deals with the issue of bullying of gays or anyone thought to be homosexual. How far will someone go to prove that he is not different? And with “Private Romeo” by Alan Brown, a sort of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ all male story among academy military’s cadets. Reading “Romeo and Juliet” soon becomes an obsession for eight cadets of the Military Academy, and as in Shakespeare’s tragedy, the consequences will be dramatic. Deep and original, suspenseful and tense, the film is strengthened by brilliant acting from the cast.
In continuity with the previous edition, several movies against the problem of homophobia which ranged from the homophobia lived in repressive countries like Iran to the most insidious one of Western societies. The documentaries, in fact, have been the eye of denunciation of the festival, projecting films like: “I am a woman now“, focused on the first changes of sex in the early 60′; “Call Me Kuchu“, a charge to the homophobe and violent Ugandan’s reality. The mentioned “Man In the Mirror” by Joel Schumacher, then “We Were Here” by David Weissman, that takes a deep and reflective look back at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco on early 80’s, exploring how the City’s inhabitants were affected by, and how they responded to, that calamitous epidemic. Another valuable documentary is “Becoming Chaz” directed by Fenton Bailey e Randy Barbato, which chronicles Chassity Bono (Sonny & Cher’s daughter) female-to-male transition.
In the section Called “Midnight Madness” we can fid the film “All About Evil“, directed by Joshua Grannell, a tribute to the American B-movies.
To be mentioned, among others: “Hua Wei Mei” (Bad Romance), by François Chang, the story of 7 young men and women and their three stories involved with heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual affairs happening in Beijing. Despite the appearance of homosexual freedom advanced in the film, it has been declared illegal in China because the presence of gay love. The movie “Romeos” directed by German filmmaker Sabine Bernardi, that forgoes stereotypes and conventions to offer an honest and humorous examination of the most basic of human conditions by a transgendered person. Besides, “Depois Do Almoco” by Rodrigo Diaz Diaz and “Lesbian Romance (Open Eyes)” by Shamin Sarif.
There was also a section about the best GLBT film, awarded at international festivals such as “Sundance” and “Berlin”. Among the most famous, the revelation of the movie “Weekend” by Andrew Haigh, “Keep the lights on” by Ira Sachs (who won the Teddy Award 2012), and “Skoonheid” by Olivier Hermanus, that won the Queer Palm at Cannes Festival.
“A novela das 8” by Odilon Rocha, film set in Brazil in the 80s, where a group of people live under the fierce repression of the military dictatorship. Rocha’s first film as director won the prize for the best screenplay at the Rio International Film Festival in 2011. “Trans” by Chris Arnold (U.S. 2012), as best documentary; best short Prize for “The Lesson” by Paul Metz (Japan 2011). Special Mention for “Down Here” by Diogo Costa Amarante (Portugal 2011), that won the Festival Internacional de Cinema Gay e Lésbico de Barcelona. Prizes awarded by the Audience to: “Parada” (The Parade) by Sđrjan Dragojević, (Serbia/Slovenia/Croatia 2011); “ Call Me Kuchu“ (U.S. 2012). And as best Short Film: “Tsuyako” by Mitsuyo Miyazaki (Japan 2011).