Officially, this is Day Two of the 18th annual Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, but it’s the first fully programmed day, with 8 different screenings happening. And things are starting off with a bang! There are so many cool screenings going on today, you’re actually spoiled for choice.
The big ticket is undoubtedly Shelter (pictured), which has already generated a significant amount of buzz on the prissy, reactionary gay blogs. And deservedly so! Beyond the inherent sexiness that any movie about gay surfers is bound to have, Shelter also boasts strong performances, gorgeous cinematography (surfing has never been this beautiful!) and a heartfelt, compelling love story. The plot, following a sexually confused young man who falls in love with his best friend’s hunky older brother, is pretty conventional, and you know exactly how things are going to wind up, but each moment is handled so well that its predictability is never a nuisance. And if you aren’t aching with anticipation during the First Kiss scene, then you probably have no soul.
Love Songs is a French film starring Ludivine Sagnier that was inspired by Jacques Demy’s dreamy melancholy romantic musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It ditches Umbrellas‘ cupcake-pretty aesthetic for a more gritty, modern look that certainly suits its rather more complicated love story. When Ismaël and Julie’s relationship starts feeling stale, they bring Alice into the picture to spice things up. But when Julie suddenly and unexpectedly dies, Ismaël winds up seeking comfort in the arms of Alice’s new boyfriend’s brother, Erwann. If French boys running around Paris singing to each other about love in their American Apparel briefs sounds like a good time to you (and how could it not?), then you will definitely enjoy this film.
General Idea: AIDS, Art and the fin de siècle got a decent bit of press when it was screened at the recent Hot Docs festival. But, as many reviews pointed out, while the seminal Canadian queer arts collective definitely make for interesting subject matter, the documentary itself doesn’t quite do them justice. More successful (and surprisingly so!) is super low-budget Japan Japan, an Israeli movie getting a late showing at Cinecycle. It tells the story of Imri, a young gay Israeli guy who dreams of moving to Japan but spends more time looking at internet porn than actually making preparations. While the film may very well have been assembled entirely on someone’s iBook, the result is a funny, sexy, and thoroughly engaging non-linear film with style to spare.
Let’s Get Physical, 5:00 p.m. at the Isabel Bader
General Idea: AIDS, Art and the fin de siècle, 5:15 p.m. at the ROM
Out at the Wedding, 7:30 p.m. at the Isabel Bader
Love Songs, 7:30 p.m. at the ROM
Shelter, 10:00 p.m. at the Isabel Bader
Just the Two of Us, 10:00 p.m. at the Isabel Bader
Futureland, 8:00 p.m. at Cinecycle
Japan Japan, 10:00 p.m. at Cinecycle