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Movies (and TV): Gay Auteur Update and 'Neil Patrick Harris Week'

Xavierdolantadros 

Guestblogger NATHANIEL ROGERS

Nathaniel Rogers would live inside a movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience.

Take One: Cannes Aftermath

One of the under reported stories from last weekend's Cannes wrap up was the success of the gay auteurs. Two lesser-known gay filmmakers walked away with major honors. The Philippines most prominent auteur Brillante Mendoza was the lucky recipient of the jury's most controversial decision: he was named Best Director for the shockingly violent dismally reviewed Kinatay. Roger Ebert actually thought it 'the worst film in the history of the Cannes film festival.' The second winner was Actor Xavier Dolan-Tadros (head shots above) who wrote, directed and starred in J'ai Tué Ma Mère (I Killed My Mother) when he was only nineteen. Cut to: One year later. His semi-autobiographical movie about a gay teenager's difficult relationship with his mother netted an incredible three prizes at the world's most prestigious film festival. You can see an interview with Xavier here.  And in case you missed it over the holiday weekend: all the Cannes winners.

Take Two:  A Random Sampling of Gay Auteurs

What are some of our out movie directors up to these days? And which one of them has a thing for French porn star François Sagat?

Sagat_labruce

The answer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Picture 12 road  Bruce LaBruce (Hustler White, The Raspberry Reich) of course. Apparently his last picture, the zombie  flick Otto: Or Up With Dead People only whetted his (gory) appetite for boy-crazy zombies. His next picture will be a hardcore zombie porn. NSFW pictures from LaBruce's mixed media installation piece "Motel Hell" here. This piece seems to be a living commercial for the upcoming movie. LaBruce has been enthusiastically tweeting about it and posting pics of himself in bed with Sagat.

 road John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig, Shortbus) begins filming Rabbit Hole in New York next week. It's an  adaptation of the Broadway hit about a grieving family. Nicole Kidman takes over the role that won Cynthia Nixon a TONY on Broadway.

 road François Ozon (8 Women, Swimming Pool) will have a new film on US screens next year. His films usually have queer elements but in his latest it's only (possibly) in the metaphorical sense. Ricky is a fantasy film in which a family struggles to deal with their very unusual child. He's got wings, you see.  Here's the trailer.

 road Gus Van Sant might take a while to deliver a follow up to Milk (Sean Penn, on the other hand, is busier than ever). Van Sant has two pictures in development including an adaptation of the 60s psychedelic drug novel The Electric Kool-Aid Test with a screenplay by his Oscar-winning Milk partner Dustin Lance Black. In the meantime he's made a new short which will be screened at the Worldwide Short Film Festival next month.

John Waters

 road John Waters has no new films on the radar (Fruitcake was having financing problems) but he's been touring with his one-man show "This Filthy World" and he's always in demand for public appearances. Earlier this month at the Maryland Film Festival (pictured right) he introduced a screening of the sexually adventurous french musical Love Songs quipping that it was "a great gay recruiting film" Have you seen that film yet? I wasn't won over at first but it sure is sticky.

 road Christine Vachon is not an auteur. But I'm pretending she is for a turn around / wrap up to this post. As a producer she shepherded so many gay films to the screens over the years (Boys Don't Cry, Hedwig, Go Fish, Velvet Goldmine, I Shot Andy Warhol, Stonewall) that she became a true titan of GLBT cinema. But what is "Queer Cinema" in 2009? She rejected the labels in an interview this week

Christine: Well, what is “New Queer Cinema”? There is no New Queer Cinema, there’s only old queer cinema.
Interviewer: You wouldn’t say that Todd Haynes and Gus Van Sant are at the cutting edge of New Queer Cinema?
Christine: God no! What makes them at the cutting edge of queer cinema? ...honestly, I think that the whole notion of queer cinema was back in the day, when the means of distribution was so much more limited and the only way that gay people could see themselves on screen was to take action themselves.

What is queer cinema to you? Do we need it anymore or are the plentiful supporting gay characters (and very occasional leads) in mainstream film and television more than enough?

Take Three: Epilogue

Nph_kiss

 road Just a reminder that Joss Whedon's web phenom Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog arrives on DVD (again) next Tuesday. I've seen the new DVD and its extras (including the very meta "Commentary! The Musical") and I highly recommend. The ridiculously charming and talented Neil Patrick Harris plays the title character, a lovelorn singing supervillain. Watch him practice his evil laugh on Tuesday and then watch him host the TONY Awards on Sunday. It's a double dose of Neil Patrick Harris. The first week of June is Neil Patrick Harris week. Pass it on!


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Comments

  1. Not only have I seen "Love Songs," I own the DVD and the soundtrack, and can almost sing a few of the songs from memory (in French, which I don't actually know very well). I really do love that movie. I admit I found lots of it very odd at first viewing - the script takes a pretty sharp left turn fairly early on that leaves tons of things unanswered - and then leaves a lot of new issues open at the end.. but I found I was so curious about so many things in it that I started watching over and over. I read up about it (how the three "parts" echo "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," how most of it was filmed on the same streets Godard used in his 60s films, etc.) I've been searching out the rest of writer/director Chrisophe Honore's films since then - "Dans Paris" is also quite nice. And all his homages to the French New Wave has me watching some of those now too, and for the first time I'm "getting" them, where I used to find them rather cold.

    Maybe it's just my age but I'm so increasingly bored with violent Hollywood "blockbuster action" movies... It's so nice to have something like "Love Songs" that has some real heart and charm, wit and depth. And it doesn't hurt that Louis Garrel is smolderingly sexy, and Gregoire Leprince-Rinquet is adorable. And they sing!

    Posted by: DNash | May 29, 2009 4:49:41 PM


  2. Dr Horrible has been available at the iTunes Store for some time. Not free, but I bought it. It's great!

    Posted by: Peter | May 29, 2009 5:16:17 PM


  3. Peter -- i'd seen it too but the DVD has extras ;) so if you're a collector type.

    DNash -- i had the same gradual turnaround with it. I think about it so much and I love Leprince-Rinquet's voice. But most of all i'm a complete nut for Ludivine Sagnier so...

    Posted by: Nathaniel R | May 29, 2009 5:22:46 PM


  4. Dr. Horrible has been on DVD with all of the bonus stuff since last December. I can't seem to figure out what this new re-release in June has that the previous release doesn't.

    Posted by: MrRoboto | May 29, 2009 5:36:22 PM


  5. The DVD for Dr Horrible came out last December. I bought it the first day and made all my friends watch it. It took about a month to hit everyone, but they all loved it as much as I did. The extras are awesome.

    Posted by: James J | May 29, 2009 5:36:39 PM


  6. curious. the press releases say june 2nd. Is "Commentary! the Musical" on yours?

    Posted by: Nathaniel R | May 29, 2009 5:42:04 PM


  7. "Love Songs" is indeed a gay recruiting film. The basic message is "if your girlfried suddenlt drops dead, don't worry -- you'llget yourself a boyfriend."

    The gorgeous Louis Garrel loses the lovely Ludivine Saignier. But then the unspeakably babe-a-licious Gregoire LePrince-Ringuet begins STALKING him. At first he brushes him off, but eventually he gives in

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgFYfq0XizA&feature=related

    leading to what has become one of my all-time favorite movie lines: "Love me less, but love me for a long time."

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 29, 2009 6:22:34 PM


  8. Dr. Horrible is also available for free on Hulu.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | May 29, 2009 7:23:04 PM


  9. Love Songs is awesome.

    Posted by: Randy | May 29, 2009 8:00:36 PM


  10. Hulu is great, but not from Canada!

    I'll have to check out the DVD & see what the extra's are. Is it worth it? Oh d'uh... never mind! I've always been in lust for NPH! :)

    Posted by: Peter | May 29, 2009 8:41:31 PM


  11. Nathaniel R - not sure if they are translated into English, but Honoré's many children books are really good. Also very good are the albums by the film song composer Alex Beaupain , though they can be hard to track down.

    Posted by: richard | May 29, 2009 9:26:12 PM


  12. Calling Brillante (nee Dante) Mendoza a 'gay' auteur is not exactly correct. He has never worn the mantle, so to speak.
    His films merely reflect reality in the Philippines today, what the decons and destrucs might call 'mise-en-abyme', a mirror image. But I will grant that choosing Brillante as his directorial tag is auteur hauteur at its best!

    Posted by: bading | May 29, 2009 9:57:16 PM


  13. erratum: post-strucs not destrucs.

    Posted by: bading | May 29, 2009 10:30:07 PM


  14. Richard: iTunes Music Store carries both of Alex Beaupain's albums, also the soundtrack to "Dans Paris" which he wrote and played on with a jazz group. (I think I've seen them on Amazon.com too both as CDs and downloads.)

    It's nice to hear other people liking "Love Songs." I haven't been able to get any of my friends to watch it yet. (I guess they hear "French" "no explosions" "no aliens" "no spaceships" and lose interest. Sigh.)

    Posted by: DNash | May 29, 2009 11:04:14 PM


  15. Tell them it's full of smokin' hot French boys doin' it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 29, 2009 11:32:05 PM


  16. Honore is, needless to say, gayer than Anerson Cooper's sock drawer. He's not only extremely prolific but works at a furious pace in severla different media.

    I strongly reccomend his film adaptation of Georges Bataille's impossible-toadapt "Ma mere" starrign Isabelle Huppert and Louis (there's a place for you on my face) Garrel.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 29, 2009 11:34:25 PM


  17. Thank you Nathaniel R and John Waters for suggesting "Love Songs"!!!!
    Just watched it and "Ma Memoire Sale" is splendid.

    Posted by: taco flavored kiss | May 30, 2009 1:47:51 AM


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    Posted by: cookie | May 30, 2009 11:26:52 PM


  19. Thanks, Nathaniel, for doing a short piece on new Québec director Xavier Dolan. He was the youngest director at the Cannes Film Festival this year (he just turned 20). I was really impressed at how little Québec accent he has in English in clip you posted; he almost sounds American! That aside, having his first feature at Directors' Fortnight is really amazing. I'm so happy for him. I can't wait to see his film when it bows here on June 5th. He sold rights in over 11 countries, so it should eventually screen in the U.S.

    Posted by: Ian | May 31, 2009 9:52:30 AM


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