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May 15, 2012 Comments Off on Lady Loving Ladies at SIFF 2012 Travel The World Views: 1228 Arts & Entertainment, Film, Seattle International Film Festival

Lady Loving Ladies at SIFF 2012 Travel The World

Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker are lovers on the run in "Cloudburst" playing at SIFF 2012.

In our ongoing look at the LGBTQ films playing the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival, which opens this Thursday, May 17, 2012 with Lynn Shelton’s locally made, “Your Sister’s Sister”, we’ve taken a peek at a couple different genres. Today let’s check out some films with appeal to the “L” in LGBTQ…yes, it’s time to see what the cinematic Lady Loving Ladies of SIFF 2012 have to offer!

One of the most eagerly awaited films, (and not just for queer audiences) is the Canadian film, “Cloudburst” directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Thom Fitgerald, (“The Hanging Garden”; “Beefcake”; “3 Needles”). It stars Oscar-winning actresses Brenda Fricker and Olympia Dukakis as a committed lesbian couple who must go on the lam to make sure they can stay together:

 Dukakis portrays Stella, a salty curmudgeon who lives in a bucolic seaside home with her longtime lover, the near-blind and slightly dotty Dot (Fricker). When Dot’s neurotic granddaughter, Molly, shows up and announces that she’s putting Dot in a retirement home, Stella angrily throws her out. Undeterred, Molly returns with a police escort and takes Dot away, leaving Stella bereft, but not beaten. Stella soon breaks her out of the home, and the couple head for Canada to get married, picking up an impressionable young hitchhiker along the way. Alternately poignant and riotous, Cloudburst gains its traction via a touching examination of the true nature of love and commitment.

“Cloudburst” screens Tuesday, May 22nd at 6:30pm at The Egyptian, and Thursday, May 24th at 4pm at The Uptown.

If you enjoy “Coming of Age” films starring attractive young Latin actresses, then “Mosquita y Mari” directed by Aurora Guerrero might be right up your cul de sac…

Yolanda’s parents want her to be the first one in the family to go to college, but she’d rather focus on her new neighbor Mari, an undocumented immigrant who is as unenthusiastic about school as Yolanda is about boys. Mari has her own troubles—like paying the rent. As their friendship threatens Yolanda’s grades and Mari’s after-school jobs, they both have to choose between their budding desires and their families. First-time writer and director Aurora Guerrero builds a delicate story of conflict and longing out of her own experiences with complicated, sexually charged friendships and the Latina community. The spare script forces the actresses to rely on subtle gestures and body language to convey complex character motivations, and both young performers rise admirably to the task. Many of the best scenes are wordless, dreamy moments held in the LA sunshine, languishing in the space where the two girls overlap.

Sounds like there’ll be lots of tender yearning and crushed dreams in this one…”Mosquita y Mari” screens at Harvard Exit on Sunday, May 20 at 6pm and the next day, May 21 at 4pm.

There are some similar themes in “Lipstikka” but the characters are Palestinian. (And, despite the title, this has NOTHING to due with Lipsynka, the drag performance artist….)

Palestinian teenagers Lara and Inam are best friends and maybe more. Boy crazy Inam is pretty and daring while the watchful Lara longs to be the focus of her friend’s attention. The night of Lara’s birthday, they break curfew to go to the movies; on the way home, they have a life-altering encounter with Israeli solders. Flash forward several years: the two have left Ramallah for a new life in London. Lara is married and living with her husband and young son in the suburbs. Her life is comfortable enough despite a loveless marriage and a long-term dependence on alcohol to get by. One day Inam shows up on her doorstep. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn more about their relationship over the years, their different perspectives, and how their recollections of the fateful encounter have shaped the course of their lives.Lipstikka is a subtle but powerful drama about love, memory, and coming of age.

The yearning and the churning and the frustrated desire of “Lipstikka” can be checked out June 8th at 9:30pm at The Uptown, and June 10th at 4pm at Pacific Place.

Step sisters are doin' it for themselves, in the Swedish film, "Kiss Me" playing at SIFF 2012.

There’s more yearning on hand but the actors are speaking Swedish in “Kiss Me” and the two leading ladies have the added complication that technically, they are step-sisters!

Romance can unfold at the most inopportune moments, and that’s precisely what happens to hetero-inclined Mia (Ruth Vega Fernandez) and self-aware lesbian Frida (Liv Mjönes), two 30-something career women who meet at a party celebrating the engagement of Frida’s mother and Mia’s father. While the two women’s status as future stepsisters is a formidable obstacle—not to mention Mia’s own engagement to a man—the two begin a passionate emotional and erotic dialogue that leads to significant conflict between their loved ones and families. Their parents, in particular, must wrestle with the collision of the personal and political that their daughters’ evolving relationship creates. From the beginning, director Alexandra-Therese Keining fashions an organic, nuanced viewpoint of Mia and Frida’s unfolding romance. Thanks to the intricacies that drive the plot, the resulting story arc wisely sidesteps clichéd melodrama and gains significant momentum via Fernandez and Mjönes’ obvious chemistry and genuinely empathetic performances.

Kinky, but the Swedes are kind of good at that, aren’t they?

“Kiss Me” can be viewed at The Uptown on May 26th at 5:30pm and again on May 31st at 3pm.

We’ll be back in a couple days to talk about more Queer film at SIFF 2012…what will it be next time? Star studded vehicles? Coming of age stories with men? Documentaries? Algerian docudramas about lesbian truck drivers and their love of lentils and labia?

It remains to be seen…


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