The Advocate's 27 Favorite Films of Outfest 2014
BY Daniel Reynolds and Jase Peeples
July 07 2014 7:00 AM ET
Wednesday, July 16, 7 p.m., DGA 1
Death has a strange way of bringing the living together, and such is the case in Lilting, a quiet yet powerful film about the relationship between a young British gay man (Ben Whishaw, Skyfall) and the Chinese-Cambodian mother (Cheng Pei-pei, Crouching Tiger) of his late partner. Directed by Hong Khaou, who himself was born in Cambodia but now lives in London, Lilting forces its two central characters to bridge cultural, generational, and even language barriers, as they communicate through an interpreter, to share their grief and love of the departed, who was unable to come out to his mother in life.
Saturday, July 12, 1:30 p.m. at DGA 1
Patrick Stewart delivers a superb performance as Julliard ballet instructor Tobias in director Stephen Belber’s Match. Tobias’s swinging sex life in the ’60s — when the young dancer had numerous male and female lovers — takes center stage when the Julliard instructor agrees to be interviewed by doctoral candidate Lisa (Carla Gugino) and her husband, Mike (Matthew Lillard). The encounter leaves each of them changed forever as it becomes apparent none of these three people are who they appear to be in this witty and poignant drama.
My Prairie Home
Sunday, July 13, 6 p.m., Redcat
A darling at Sundance, My Prairie Home is a musical documentary about Rae Spoon, a transgender singer who embarks on a tour in Canada via a Greyhound bus. Throughout the movie, striking landscapes, nightclub venues, and Spoons’s own songs help illustrate the artist’s journey of self-discovery, from a conservative religious upbringing to present-day musings on life and love. Directed by Chelsea McMullan, My Prairie Home is a valentine to the power of song and memory, and a must-see glimpse into the life of an artist.
Tuesday, July 15, 5 p.m. at DGA 2
This is not a documentary about the world-renowned supermodel. Rather, this film, titled Naomi Campbel, It’s Not Easy to Become a Different Person, is an intimate and often startling portrait of Yermen, a transgender woman living in Chile. Directed and written by Nivolas Videla and Camila Donoso, the project is an amalgam of documentary and fiction that follows Yermen, a poor tarot card reader, as she attempts to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Based on the real-life experience of its lead actress, Paula Dinamarca, the camera follows Yermen as she applies to be a cast member of a reality television show, which promises to pay her medical bills in exchange for an extreme invasion of her privacy throughout the procedure. As Yermen waits to learn if she’s been accepted on the show, the filmmakers paint a stark scene of Yermen’s life: the neighbors who call her a witch, the gangs of dogs and men that haunt the streets by night, and Naomi Campbel — another candidate for the surgery, who dreams of one day looking like the supermodel, and who disappears, inexplicably and frighteningly, by the film’s conclusion. Although the raw footage, minimal dialogue, and experimental nature of Naomi Campbel may put off some viewers, the film will cast a spell on many, who will value it for its haunting commentary on life as an outsider in South America.
Out in the Night
Friday, July 18, 5 p.m. at DGA 2
In 2006 a group of African-American lesbians were arrested after an encounter in downtown Manhattan with a straight man who made unwanted sexual advances resulted in the man’s hospitalization for a minor injury. The sensationalized media coverage of the incident painted the group as a vicious gang, and several of the women received prison sentences that were disproportionate to the nature of the incident. Directed by Blair Doroshwalther, Out in the Night is an important documentary that tells the story from the point of view of these women. Through interviews, Doroshwalther demonstrates how sexism, racism, and homophobia resulted in failures by both the government and media in serving justice.