Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Gay Seniors Hub
A film about being gay and growing old is getting attention in the Phillippines where it was made, and has been submitted as the country's Academy Awards entry for Best Foreign Film, the WSJ reports:
The movie stars Eddie Garcia, a popular Filipino actor, as Rene, a curmudgeon with a sensitive side who didn’t come out of the closet until he was 60 and now faces old age alone. Rene occupies his time talking to his dog, Bwakaw (which rhymes with “Macau” and translates to “voracious” or “greedy”), hanging out with a gay couple who run a hair salon and visiting an elderly nursing-home resident (Armida Siguion-Reyna) who is eventually revealed to be a former sweetheart...
...[Director Jun Robles Lana] wanted to capture the sadness and silence of aging, “but at same time I didn’t want the film to be bleak. I used humor to break the silences,” he said.
To attract moviegoers in the Philippines, “Bwakaw” is being marketed as a comedy, with ads and trailers highlighting its lighter moments, including an upbeat poster that shows Bwakaw perched on Rene’s shoulder. Producers thought it would be an “easier sell,” Mr. Robles Lana said, noting that locally made comedies and horror movies dominate the country’s box office.
Watch the trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...
YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION
Though some media pundits scoffed last weekend when THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL opened for business the same weekend as The Avengers (previously reviewed) it turned out to be a savvy move. Where else were the spandex averse or Downton Abbey addicts to go? (Rather perversely, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel denies Abbey addicts additional showdowns between Lady Crawley and the Dowager Countess; Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith's stories don't intertwine much) In fact, this British retirees in India dramedy should have opened even wider since they had the nation's second best per screen average and could have cracked the top ten with far fewer theaters than the other movies.
But enough about money. Hotel manager Sonny (Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel) is a dreamer, not a businessman. His family is losing patience with his dream and time is running out for the hotel. It's running out for the guests, too, as they near the end of their lives. The name of Sonny's establishment is actually “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for Elderly and Beautiful People”. The movie's title lops off those last five words which only proves Sonny's business model's point: he believes that countries don't care about their elderly so he'll outsource old age. Come to India and live out your autumn years!
Would you rent a room from Dev Patel? MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
Couples in their golden years who have been together for a long time often can't survive the death of their spouse, and often dies within days, weeks, or months of each other. What's unusual about this case is that the couple was gay, both were noted and acclaimed entertainers, and they were also married.
Shaun O'Brien (right), a dancer of four decades with the New York City Ballet, died at the age of 86 on February 23. His husband (left) Cris Alexander, a Broadway actor and photographer, died on March 7, just two weeks later.
When same-sex marriage became legal in New York last year, he married Shaun O’Brien, the celebrated character dancer with the New York City Ballet. They had been together for more than 60 years and died less than two weeks apart — Mr. Alexander on March 7 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at age 92; Mr. O’Brien on Feb. 23 at 86. They shared a Victorian house in Saratoga Springs.
“If there is a cause of death, it’s a broken heart,” his friend Jane Klain said in confirming Mr. Alexander’s death. “It’s as simple as that.”
Hopefully we'll all get to lead such fulfilled and long lives. And those long-term couples around the country will have the chance to dignify their relationship in law like O'Brien and Alexander did.
TIS THE SEASON... OF LIST-MAKING
Meryl Streep, recently profiled on 60 Minutes, was asked about playing characters who seem so incredibly different than she herself is, like her upcoming role in The Iron Lady which opens in a week's time. Her answer intrigued:
It always really bothers me when people imagine that characters who don't look like you or don't have the same accent as you are far from you. A great actress Sybil Thorndike said 'I think we all have the germ of every other person inside of us.' And I believe we do."
This is true enough. A well written character of any type can feel human and relatable to anyone with a working imagination. This is especially true for minority moviegoers who learn instinctively to recognize themselves in people who look and seem nothing like them at first glance. Sometimes we have to go long stretches without seeing mirror-like reflections in mainstream pop culture. We may have a germ of every other person inside of us, but it's still thrilling to see something closer to yourself on the screen.
So herewith a list of the best LGBT movie characters of this past year in film. Tis the season of...list making.
Three notes before we begin: I missed the Iranian lesbian drama Circumstance which I've heard is quite good; I'm not touching Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In so as to avoid spoilers; The highest profile film skipped on this list is J. Edgar because you're better off doing just that.
TOP TEN LGBT CHARACTERS OF 2011 AFTER THE JUMP...
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) announced today that Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults, has been awarded an Innovative Senior Center (ISC) contract to open the nation's first full-time center for LGBT seniors:
The SAGE Center, slated to open in January 2012, will include program sites in all five New York City boroughs—bringing a comprehensive array of services and support to LGBT elders throughout the city.
In addition to the robust array of programs SAGE currently provides at the LGBT Community Center and SAGE Harlem, the new Center will offer hot meals, programs covering issues from health and wellness to workplace skills, comprehensive social services, a wide range of social activities, and much more.
Said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE: "SAGE is honored to have this opportunity to strengthen the programs and services we offer to address the unique needs of LGBT older people in New York City. Opening The SAGE Center has been our dream for many years. We are thrilled to be part of a bold initiative that emphasizes innovation in aging services; SAGE is committed to building program models that can be replicated in New York City and nationwide."