Review: Iris Prize Festival 2013 – Day Three
Another day at the Iris Prize. I think the early signs of fatigue have kicked in with so much seen over the last few days. The things I do for my reviewsâ€¦
Anywho, the third and fourth sets of short films were my starting point to the day. The first was by Fatima Mawas from Australia and was entitled Fighting For Air. I’m pleased to say that since Wednesday’s opening night, I have been sort of film buddies with Fatima and she is really pleased that I broke the ice and approached her outside Chapter.
We have talked and laughed about so much and added each other as friends on Facebook. So pleased to have met here. Will be sad to see her go on Monday back to Melbourne.
Her film is a brief one about sisters, the youngest of which has bruises on her face. This causes concerns for her teacher who tries to seek out the source of her problems. Fatima had told me on several occasions that she felt that her film was nothing compared to the calibre of work that has been in the programme this year.
The Muslim backdrop feels very important and doesn’t speak of any token choice from the panel. If the teacher was also lesbian like the child, the mutual understanding was apparent. But something a bit disturbing could have lurked in this, had we perhaps seen more.
A Brazilian movie followed, Marcelo Pereira’s The Inevitable Story Of Leticia Deniz. A boys struggle in childhood as being transgender would see her in adulthood as a prostitute. This depressing story in no way made Brazil look good. Some comic relief from Canada with Stop Calling Me Honey Bunny by Gabrielle Zilkha.
This saw two women in giant rabbit costumes come to the realisation that their sex life has disappeared and they attempt anything to try and reclaim it (the guise was that they were rabbits and not human). Writing the review now, I have only just realised how famous rabbits are for their mating. This was good humoured and a wee bit cheeky and saucy.
Coming up next was the longest of all the shorts, at forty minutes, the documentary Grace by Michal Aronzon. This saw a Filipino lesbian deal with living in Israel after a divorce with her husband, and her loving another female. Very honest and open about things, Grace was divided between Israel and whether she would return to the Philippines. Great viewing. Another German entry with Anna Linke and her Junggesellin.
A lesbian is celebrating her friend’s hen party, with none of them knowing of her true sexuality. Meeting a barmaid at a club they attempt to get together with her friends then seeing and realising. This had charm and clout. We have been in great need of more lesbian films, since so much is dominated by the gay male scene on screen.
What followed in the next set of films was certainly of an adult billing. Christian K. Korvalls’ Shower was a shocker if ever there was one. A man is showering in a public changing room. He hears a noise he can’t identify and must find out.
He encounters another man who is pleasuring himself. This film ends with tragic consequences. It’s quite typical now to see in Queer cinema, a character who is discovered with another man, only then for him to attack his partner as if this would reconfirm his heterosexuality (which of course does not). I had my jaw out at the end and never saw it going like that. With the other guy pummelled and bloodied, with the amount of punches the curious guy gave him, he was no doubt dead.
A Swedish entry under Ett Sista Farval (A Last Farewell) was at first cold, then reaffirming like when a person has an epiphany. A daughter is visiting her father, who is a writer and recently lost his husband. His personality stinks and would make anyone uncomfortable. After she leaves on a bad note, the dead lover returns as a sort of ghost in the father’s head.
He must keep a good healthy relationship with his daughter and accept the fact that he has died. To write is what he must do now and so he does. A visit to his grave for the first time is planned for the next day. We could all compare this to our relationships with our fathers. Good cinema will take us back into our own lives for consideration.
Now, the next film I had been warned about. Its graphic content had me intrigued. Antonio da Silva has taken us into the lives of Gingers. Those with red hair discuss how they feel and how other gays feel about them. These men are nude so we get to appreciate close up of their all over hair, skin, eyes and genitals. The film then goes intoâ€¦I don’t know how to put this, footage of each guy basically masturbating. This is a bit hard to me to express in a young persons publication, so I hope you all understand I’m being very respectful of these films. After all, gingers do have souls.
Even after that, Crabs In The Sand directed by Tom Garber could be the most disturbing, yet innocent film seen so far. Noam, an Israeli boy of 13 at the beach abuses an older man with special needs. This film seemed to have come out of no nowhere and left quite a bad taste in the mouth. Lastly, Leon Le and his Dawn concluded the shorts for today. Looking at the racial difficulties that lay between Blacks and Asians, there is still a vein of hope that they can love each other.
A young gay professional is robbed by two black guys in the middle of the night. With a slither of paper in his wallet, what could it possibly be? I can’t give the story away, it's such a corker.
My last item on the menu for the night was G.B.F. (standing for Gay Best Friend). This film was everything I expected it to be. It was Mean Girls gone gay. I was tired and not really in the best of humour for this. It was funny, but not as good as Cupcakes. A lot of the humour came from snipey remarks, homoerotic jokes and a few good critiques on Mormonism. Accidentally coming out as the first person to be gay in his school, Tanner (played by Michael J. Willett) is bombarded with girls after him as their objectifying gay best friend.
Will he become prom king? Will he destroy old friendships? More importantly, will he go out with the British lad? Willett wasn’t a great lead (his mother was laugh out loud though), who whimpered and cooed for most of film (cute though). I never take to all these gay stereotypes. Most gay guys are just averagely dressed and not camp kind of people. This film exacerbated these things but put them right at the end in traditional ‘Ya know, I learned something today’ *cue guitar music* fashion that America does so well. I’ll watch it again but with friends.
Sadly, I choose not to see Vampires: Lucas Rising, since it would have ended over midnight. Perhaps another potential chance to see it on Sunday with the repeats.
These old bones haven’t seen so many films in such a short space of time beforeâ€¦
Shorts Programme 3 Rating: 7/10.
Shorts Programme 3 Favourite: Junggesellin.
Shorts Programme 4 Rating: 8/10.
Shorts Programme 4 Favourite: Shower.
G.B.F. Rating: 6/10.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Photo Credit: Iris Prize