Translations opens tonight. Here are my completely biased recommendations. You’ll also find the full schedule here.
Becoming Chaz, directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, who both also directed The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000). This documentary was originally created for the Oprah Network, where it premiered on Tuesday, and Three Dollar Bill Cinema was fortunate to be given permission to open Translations with it. The documentary records the journey of Chaz (formerly Chastity) Bono’s female to male transition. Interviews with famous mom Cher are definitely a film highlight, but her uncomfortability with her son’s decision will probably alienate many young transsexuals and gender queers. C’mon Cher, why can’t you get hip with it?! In contrast, Chaz’s step-mom Mary Bono Mack (a freaking Republican Congresswoman!!) has an easier time accepting Chaz for who he is. It goes to show that you can never tell where you’ll find allies in the battle for acceptance. Three Dollar Bill Cinema is very excited to present this fascinating film. (Friday, Pacific Place, 600 Pine Street, 7 PM, $10)
Afterwards party down at the Sixth Avenue Bar and Grill (2000 6th Ave) for the official opening night reception. Ticket holders will get drink specials and appetizers, and you’ll be rubbing elbows with the movers and shakers of the Seattle Trans Film Community.
Gender Bender Singalong, various artists. Get your groove on and your vocal chords wailing during this curated compilation of your favorite cross-dressing and gender non-conforming performers from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and today! I can’t reveal what videos are going to be shown, but I will say you might think it’s a miracle, and it might make you feel mighty real, but whatever happens you’ll be having sweet dreams, and it will leave you constant craving for more. (Saturday, Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 9 PM, $8, $6 Three Dollar Bill Cinema members)
He Is My Girl, directed by Jean-Jacques Zilbermann, starring Antoine de Caunes, Mehdi Dehbi, and Elsa Zylberstein. In this quirky comedy, a professional Klezmer clarinetist can’t complete his latest album when his estranged wife and son reappear in his life. Meanwhile he’s actively pursuing a relationship with a young man and having an affair with a transgender Arab woman. Hijinks ensue! (Sunday, Northwest Film Forum, 7:30 PM, $8, $6 Three Dollar Bill Cinema members)
The official closing night reception will be hosted by the fabulous folks at Pony (1221 E Madison St).
Bridesmaids, directed by Paul Feig, starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Rose Byrne. This comedy got tons of buzz when it was first announced, because producer Judd Apatow was finally going to make an ensemble comedy with an all-female cast, where women actually were allowed to be funny. Why is this such a controversy in mainstream Hollywood? The ONLY people I find funny are women—Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Saunders, Margaret Cho, Joan Rivers, Madeleine Kahn, Jennifer Connelly, Jane Lynch, Lilly Tomlin, Bette Midler the list goes on and on. (The only other people I find funny are Drag Performers!) Here’s hoping that Kristen Wiig can transition her extraordinary SNL talents to the big screen. We need this to be a success, and maybe Hollywood will take notice.
Hesher, directed by Spencer Susser, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, and Rainn Wilson. This film looks crazy unconventional—a wacked out weirdo (Gordon-Levitt) squats in a suburban family’s home, and acts as mentor to their adolescent son. First, I have to remark that Natalie Portman has starred in a new film every week this year. She is the hardest working woman in Hollywood, and as I’ve said before–in this economy more power to her. I just hope she takes some time off once the baby is born. Second, I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and he looks insane in this movie. He definitely has my curiosity peaked.
Other Seattle Screenings:
The Legend of Billie Jean, directed by Matthew Robins, starring Helen Slater, Christian Slater (no relation yet play brother and sister in this film), Keith Gordon, Peter Coyote and Yeardley Smith. Bad Movie Art’s May offering is one of the greatest teenage films ever made. Whenever kids prevail against the powerful and the corrupt, you know it’s a great film. Whenever you put Yeardley Smith in a movie, you know it’s an even better film. Whenever a story’s heroine defiantly cuts off her long hair to signify “you better take me seriously, because now I’m Joan of Arc and I’m not kidding around,” you know it’s a freaking amazing movie. (Monday, Central Cinema, 7 PM)
Ryan is Development Manager for Three Dollar Bill Cinema, presenters of Translations: the Seattle Transgender Film Festival (May 12-15). He’s also a film fan and contributor to Seattle Gay Scene.