Here are 3 queer films to check in the next few days at the Seattle International Film Festival…all three are international in content with a documentary about a reunion of Brazilian drag divas; a French Canadian family drama with an all-star French cast; and another documentary, this one grittier and topical, about the fight for marriage equality in Baja California.
First up: DIVINE DIVAS which opens this Wednesday, May 24th at the Uptown with an encore screening next Tuesday, May 30th at the Egyptian. The film is in Portuguese with English subtitles.
Brazil| 2016 | 110 minutes |Leandra Leal
Part personal history and part musical revue, director Leandra Leal takes us backstage at the 50th anniversary of a lively octet of Brazilian drag performers, exploring the lives and careers of these pioneers who boldly challenged the conservatism of the 1960s.
Long before making a name as an actress throughout Brazil, director Leandra Leal enjoyed the kind of early life most of us could only dream of. As the granddaughter of famed producer and theater owner Americo Leal, the future star made her childhood home backstage and in the dressing rooms of Rio de Janeiro’s Rival Theater, among the first theaters to welcome cross-dressing performers more than 50 years ago. Discovering later that her beloved theater was a cherished safe haven for drag performers in a repressive, intolerant society, Leal was moved to create this loving tribute to the divas who shaped her childhood as they prepare for one final performance. From demure and beguiling Camille K, whose appearances in public caused riots, and the glamorous Valeria, who learned her craft from the most infamous Parisian showgirls and whose show-stopping rendition of “My Way” will make you break out the handkerchief, to outspoken Eloina Dos Leopardos, fully committed to being a woman from an early age, and multitalented Marquesa, born into privilege and living life as a man but for the stage, the Rival’s legendary divas share life stories filled with humor and heartbreak, sadness and strength. Using rich archival clips mixed with backstage footage and rollicking interviews, Divine Divas, the Audience Award winner at both Rio 2016 and this year’s SXSW Film Festival, is a director’s poignant and unforgettable return to the arms of the divas who raised her.
Leandra Leal is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning Brazilian actress who has acted in more than 25 feature films, 12 soap operas and six theater plays. She started her acting career at the age of thirteen when she starred Walter Lima Jr.’s 1997 film The Oyster and the Wind, for which she won the Best Actress award at the Biarritz Festival in France. Since then she has won several awards. Divine Divas is her feature directorial debut.
- Director: Leandra Leal
- Principal Cast: Brigitte de Búzios Marquesa, Jane Di Castro, Camille K, Fujika de Halliday, Rogéria, Divina Valéria, Eloína dos Leopardos
- Website: Official Film Website
The narrative feature, IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD isn’t listed as an LGBTQ genre film by SIFF for reasons unknown…despite the fact the main character is a gay man returning home to his estranged family to announce he is dying of AIDS. And, the director, Xavier Dolan, the acclaimed auteur from Quebec, is an out gay artist who deals with queer themes in his films. This film has earned mixed reviews that range from raves to tepid responses despite the presence of its power house French cast that includes leading actor Gaspard Ulliel, who starred in Saint Laurent, one of the biopics about famed French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent as well as Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard and huge stars Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, and Léa Seydoux. The film has won numerous awards including three César Awards with wins for Ulliel as Best Actor and Best Director honors for Dolan.
Juste la fin du Monde/It’s Only the End of the World premieres Tuesday, May 23rd at Lincoln Square in Bellevue then reprises Thursday, May 23rd and Tuesday, May 30th at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle. In French with English subtitles.
Juste la fin du Monde/It’s Only the End of the World
Canada (Québec)| 2016 | 95 minutes |Xavier Dolan
Prodigious auteur Xavier Dolan (Mommy) enlists an all-star cast of top French actors―including Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, and Marion Cotillard―for a bold and stylistically daring melodrama about a writer who returns to his hometown after more than a decade to announce to his family that he is dying.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
The latest from French-Canadian “enfant terrible” Xavier Dolan is a dark family drama adapted from a 1990 play by Jean-Luc Lagarce. After a 12-year absence, Louis (Gaspard Ulliel, Saint Laurent) returns to his hometown to reunite with his estranged family and to break some important news—he’s suffering from AIDS. But when he arrives he can hardly get a word in. His mother (Nathalie Baye, Laurence Anyways) nervously chatters away and bickers with his younger sister (Lea Seydoux, Blue is the Warmest Color), who is almost a complete stranger to Louis now. His stone-faced older brother (Vincent Cassel, Jason Bourne) does little to mask his negative opinions about his long-lost sibling, while his timid wife (Marion Cotillard, Allied) sits quietly—as uncomfortable an observer as Louis is. As the evening wears on, tension and deep-rooted resentments come to a head, making for a series of explosive confrontations. It’s Only the End of the World creates an all-encompassing experience of domestic claustrophobia and high suspense, the intensity of the acting and invasive camerawork adding to the weight of this emotional family melodrama.
Xavier Dolan started his acting career at the age of four, appearing in hit TV series, commercials and movies. In 2009, he wrote, directed, produced and starred in his debut feature I Killed My Mother, selected at Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight, where it took home the Art Cinema Award, the Prix Regard Jeune and the SACD Prize. The movie was also Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards. His second feature film, Heartbeats, premiered in the Un Certain Regard sidebar in Cannes in 2010, and won the top award of the Sydney Film Festival. Laurence Anyways screened at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard as well, and won the Best Canadian Film Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, while Tom at the Farm premiered at the Venice Film Festival as part of the Official Competition, where it won the FIPRESCI Award. In 2014, Dolan’s fifth feature film Mommy, premiered in the Cannes Film Festival’s Official Competition, and won the Jury Prize. In 2015, Dolan was chosen to serve on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival official competition alongside, notably, the Coen brothers and Guillermo Del Toro. Later that year, he directed the music video for Adele’s hit single “Hello,” which won the Juno award for Video of the Year. In 2016, Dolan returned to Cannes with It’s Only the End of the World and won the Grand Prix.
- Director: Xavier Dolan
- Principal Cast: Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Gaspard Ulliel
- Website: Official Film Website
Etiqueta No Rigurosa/No Dress Code Required
Mexico| 2016 | 92 minutes |Cristina Herrera Borquez
A rallying cry for equality, this loving documentary follows Victor and Fernando, two respected stylists from the Baja California border town of Mexicali who became the center of a social firestorm from their simple desire to get married.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
An engrossing portrait of a fierce love unbroken by forces of bigotry and hate, director Cristina Herrera Borquez’s rousing debut feature follows Victor and Fernando, an unassuming Baja California couple who in 2013 unwittingly found themselves in the center of a social firestorm over their simple desire to be married. Weighing all their options—including having the ceremony in Mexico City, where same-sex marriage was made legal in 2010—the pair instead opt to stay in their hometown, Mexicali, where the issue remained unsettled, and fight for their most basic of rights, setting off a series of increasingly absurd roadblocks by the local government and galvanizing legions of both supporters and detractors alike. Aided by a pair of committed attorneys and strengthened by backgrounds shaped by struggle and poverty, Victor and Fernando withstand a seemingly never-ending series of bizarre hurdles and bureaucratic nitpicking with grace and dignity, culminating in one of the most unexpected and emotional wedding ceremonies ever captured on film. Proving again that love trumps hate, No Dress Code Required is a rallying cry for equality, a testament to the power of ordinary people to become agents of change, and above all an unforgettable love story that touches the heart and stirs the conscience.
This is the first feature length documentary from Cristina Herrera Boroquez. No Dress Code Required was selected for Mexico City TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund Filmmaker Workshops in 2013 and FICG in LA 2015.
- Director: Cristina Herrera Borquez
- Website: Official Film Website
Tags: AIDS in Film, Baja California, Brazilian Drag Queens, Brazilian Film, Canadian Film, Divine Divas, Gaspard Ulliel, It's Only The End Of The World (film), LGBTQ Documentary, LGBTQ SIFF, Mexican Marriage Equality, No Dress Code Required (film), Queer Documentary, Queer Film, SIFF 2017, Xavier Dolan