VIFF 2012 queer films: Xavier Dolan, Alan Cumming, and more

The Vancouver Queer Film Festival may be all wrapped up, but there's actually another unofficial queer film fest coming up. That behemoth otherwise known as the Vancouver International Film Festival offers enough queer and queer-interest titles to be a festival unto itself.

Among the selections are Hollywood's Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt starring as gay couple facing adoption challenges in Any Day Now.

Precocious Quebec director Xavier Dolan, of J'ai tué ma mère fame, is back to impress VIFF audiences with his third feature film, Laurence Anyways, which centres on a trans character.

Other trans films include Ann Hui's "My Way".

Whistler Film Festival audiences may remember Athina Rachel Tsangari for winning the inaugural New Voices Best International Feature award in 2010. Her new film turns her lens on haute couture.

Sneak preview guides are currently out in print at various Vancouver venues or from the VIFF website. The full catalogue will be available on September 15. A list of locations where you can purchase them will be available here.

The range of films span the globe, from countries as diverse as France, Uganda, South Korea, and Indonesia. There's also a wide variety of interests, ranging from celebrated figures in the worlds of music and dance to political activism.

Here's the list of queer and queer-interest films that'll be showing at this year's VIFF, which runs from September 27 to October 12.

ANY DAY NOW

Travis Fine (USA, 97 min)

Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt turn in stellar performances in this 70s-set account of a gay couple's struggles to overcome prejudice and adopt a developmentally disabled teenager. Travis Fine's stirring drama "packages heartfelt sentiment in foul wry observations by Cumming that would make John Waters proud."--Screen. Winner, Audience Award: Narrative, Tribeca 2012; Audience Award for Best Film, Seattle 2012.

BEAUTIFUL 2012

Kim Tae-yong, Tsai Ming-liang, Gu Changwei, Ann Hui (Hong Kong/China, 90 min)

Four medium-length films by four masters: Ann Hui’s powerful transsexual tale My Way; Kim Tae-yong’s intense drama You Are More Than Beautiful; Gu Changwei’s experimental urban puzzler Long Tou; and Tsai Ming-liang’s mini-masterpiece The Walker, which features the slowest red-garbed walking monk in cinema.

CALL ME KUCHU

Malika Zouhali-Worrall & Katherine Fairfax Wright (USA/Uganda, 87 min)

With Uganda's parliament considering an appalling Anti-Homosexuality Bill, David Kato—the country's first openly gay man—and his fellow activists soldier on against seemingly insurmountable persecution. Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright have helmed "a must-see... Heart-wrenching and inspiring..."--LA Weekly. Winner, Best International Feature, Hot Docs 2012.

THE CAPSULE

Athina Tsangari (Greece, 35 min)

Athina Rachel Tsangari has created both a film and a projection installation for the DesteFashion- Collection 2012, commissioned by art collector Dakis Joannou. It is a “Greek Gothic” mystery inspired by the work of the young Polish artist Aleksandra Waliszewska. Tsangari curated an haute couture “capsule” for the DesteFashionCollection 2012, selecting works by young, avant-garde designers who boldly challenge the boundaries of fashion as wearable sculpture.

THE CHARM OF OTHERS

Ryutaro Ninomiya (Japan, 89 min)

Ninomiya Ryutaro’s galvanizing debut explores the relationships and romantic rivalries between the guys in a repair workshop. Great performances and flawless control of mood and emotion, plus explosions of rage and corporal punishment. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee.

INVISIBLE ONES

Sebastien Lifshitz (France, 115 min)

"Taking a bit of a detour from the sexy gay arthouse dramas he's known for, Sebastien Lifshitz ("Come Undone") records the little-heard, agreeably candid voices of France's elderly lesbians and gay men in "The Invisible Ones." A Cannes berth and Lifshitz's name should help build the profile of this modestly rewarding piece, which will achieve its highest visibility at international queer fests but may be little seen beyond that rarefied sphere. Gaul distrib Ad Vitam could root out modest niche auds on home turf.

Avowedly inspired by mainstream French society's negligible interest in its gay minority, and the latter's preoccupation with youth and beauty, Lifshitz set out to explore the generation that grew up before the time of sexual liberation. Not that "The Invisible Ones" presents anything so crude as a manifesto, since there is no narration or captioning, and the director's voice is never heard. Instead, 11 subjects from a wide range of backgrounds present their testimony to a still camera, intercut with mood-setting shots of drifting clouds and rustling corn."

JOFFREY: MAVERICKS OF AMERICAN DANCE

Bob Hercules (USA, 82 min)

The Joffrey Ballet revolutionized American ballet by daringly combining modern dance with traditional ballet technique, combining art with social statement and setting ballets to pop and rock music scores. Bob Hercules' doc combines archival footage, behind-the-scenes imagery and interviews to thrilling effect. "An exhilarating piece of dance history. "--Seattle Times

KEEP THE LIGHTS ON

Ira Sachs (USA, 101 min)

Breaking new ground in contemporary American gay cinema, Ira Sachs’ deeply personal drama... examines a volatile 10-year relationship between two divergently addictive personalities, observed in a style that is loose and impressionistic... A distinctively textured reflection on modern gay experience.--Hollywood Reporter. Winner: Teddy Award, Berlin 2012; Grand Jury Prizes (Screenwriting and Best Film), Outfest 2012.

THE LAST TIME I SAW MACAO

João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata (Portugal, 85 min)

While searching for a friend who's gotten herself mixed up in dirty dealings, filmmakers João Pedro Rodrigues (To Die Like a Man) and João Rui Guerra da Mata lose themselves in Macau's architectural jungle, as well as its history and mysteries. "A provocative cinematic poem in the tradition of the late Chris Marker..."—Indiewire

LAURENCE ANYWAYS

Xavier Dolan (Quebec, 159 min)

Director Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother, VIFF 09) delivers a stunning love story set in 90's Montreal. Over a decade, transsexual Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) and his girlfriend Fred (Suzanne Clément) struggle to hold on to each other. Rendered with Dolan's irresistible panache, this is an epic tale about love and identity.

LIAR

Adam Garnet Jones (Canada, 8 min)

When 14 year-old Tara's boyfriend comes out to her and ends their relationship, Tara's older sister and her friend become convinced that Brian was lying about being gay. Before she knows it, Tara is drawn into a revenge mission that she's not sure she believes in. When the girls catch up with Brian and their plan takes an unexpectedly violent turn, Tara is forced to choose between standing helplessly on the sidelines or stepping in to defend the boyfriend that hurt her.”

LOU HARRISON: A WORLD OF MUSIC

Eva Soltes (USA, Japan, India, 92 min)

Lou Harrison is considered one of the great composers of the 20th century for "...creating America’s first important body of ’multi-cultural’ music." --New Yorker. Student of Schoenberg, friend of Cage, Harrison’s micro-tonal music astonishes for being so open and so beautiful. Eva Soltes crafts a loving and lively tribute to this iconoclast in which "the delight he imparted as composer and person is amply felt."—Variety

PARTS OF THE HEART

Paul Augusta (Indonesia, 90 min)

In eight episodes, Paul Agusta traces the life story of Peter, a gay man in Jakarta, from his first pre-pubescent crush to his middle-aged itches, via the stresses and strains of maintaining long-term relationships. Peter is played by eight different actors (by the great Joko Anwar in one episode) and his story is typical—but fabulous.

THE UNLIKELY GIRL

Wei Ling Chang (USA/France, 96 min)

The arrival of a corn-fed All-American exchange student not only ends Cécile's reign of leisure at her family's French summerhouse but also presents an unwelcome rival for the neighbourhood boy toy's affections. What initially seems a straightforward romantic triangle evolves into something far more sinister and complex in Wei Ling Chang's sensual and sophisticated thriller.

WHITE NIGHT

Lee Song Hee-il (South Korea, 70 min)

Korea’s pioneering gay filmmaker Lee-Song Heeil follows up No Regrets with a tight, noir-ish story about a fateful, maybe life-changing sexual encounter. One winter night in Seoul, a motorcycle courier meets a moody, taciturn guy who has a lot on his mind... such as revenge for a gay-bashing two years ago.

You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig. You can also follow the Georgia Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/StraightLGBT.

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