BEFORE you make it to the 2015 Melbourne Queer Film Festival, we take a look at some of the films showing at the festival! Hieu Chau weighs in on Blackbird, Lyle and Jamie Marks is Dead.
This year marks the silver anniversary of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival; that’s 25 years of quality queer cinema on Melbourne cinema screens!
From March 19, audiences can celebrate 25 years of queer cinema in Melbourne by attending the festival and seeing some of the films that have been programmed for this year’s installment.
To mark the occasion, festival programmers have included 45 feature films, 12 documentaries and 17 shorts packages as part of the festival’s lineup which is certainly quite big for a film festival in any year!
Amongst the strong line up of films include popular festival titles like Lilting (UK), Appropriate Behaviour (USA) and Anita’s Last Cha-Cha (Philippines) as well as niche titles including Gaming in Colour (USA) and Drunktown’s Finest (USA).
Below we take a look at a small handful of the selections for this year’s edition of MQFF.
In this modern update of the classic horror story, Rosemary’s Baby, Lyle transports its plot from ’60s New York City to the New York City of today.
A lesbian couple and their infant son, Lyle, move into a new apartment but after their son falls to his death under mysterious circumstances, Leah (Gaby Hoffman) begins to question the apartment’s dark history and becomes increasingly paranoid of her neighbours.
The hook alone of a ‘lesbian horror movie’ was enticing enough for me to want to give it a go but its short run time (the film clocks in at roughly an hour in length) hinders it from adequately building enough dread or creating a fearful atmosphere.
That said, Gaby Hoffman (who some may recognize from her roles in shows like Girls or films like Obvious Child) puts in a very solid performance as the paranoid and hysterical mother and delivers an applaud-worthy show.
Blackbird certainly had potential when I was screened the film but unfortunately falls dramatically short of any promise I thought it might possess.
A coming of age story about a young black teenager from Mississippi who learns to accept his homosexuality, Blackbird is quite amateur in its execution and unfolds like an unintentional parody of itself.
It’s a film that simply goes through the motions and doesn’t do much else to deliver outside of its unintentionally camp made-for-TV presentation.
While it’s nice to know that a film like this could exist (a predominately black cast touching on homosexuality basically kills two birds with one stone), Blackbird leaves the impression that there’s probably a better film in here somewhere.
Jamie Marks is Dead (USA)
Originally premiering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Jamie Marks is Dead brings to mind other independent cold mysteries like Winter’s Bone or even Brick but features an element of the supernatural and fantastical.
When Jamie Marks, an ignored and bullied teenager, is found dead, his spirit soon begins to haunt Adam (Shameless’ Cameron Monaghan), an athlete at his former high school.
Jamie Marks is Dead is a very confidently made film with some impressive visuals – its cinematography is on point and lays bare the cold and barren landscape of the film, all in an attempt to drum up a lonely and wintry atmosphere.
Echoing Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin, this slow-burn drama is always intriguing but perhaps not always satisfying especially when it comes to the second act which stalls at an uncomfortable pace.
Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2015 will run from March 19 – March 30. To see what else is screening, find out session times, book tickets and learn more information, head over to MQFF 2015’s official website for more details.