The 25th Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, one of the world’s largest LGBT film festivals, celebrates 25 years of showcasing the most ground-breaking, powerful and entertaining work in LGBT cinema from Canada and around the world. Taking over Toronto from May 21 to May 31, this year’s festival will showcase close to 150 films from 35 countries.
As it is my custom, I have taken a peek at the festival listings. I have chosen my top picks from the various programs at the festival in the hope that you will join me and others in celebrating Inside Out‘s 25th monumental anniversary. In no particular order, my top pics are:
LIZ IN SEPTEMBER (Liz en Septiembre)
Fina Torres (Venezuela)
May 30, 9:15pm
Strong and fiercely independent, Liz has always been a love ‘em and leave ‘em type of woman who doesn’t need anyone. So when she gets sick she refuses to tell her friends, fearing they will pity her. Instead, she pretends things are business as usual at the idyllic beachfront hostel where she and her friends stay. When a beautiful married woman, Eva, arrives on the scene, Liz sees her as a challenge and bets with a friend that she can seduce her.
SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY
Mary Dore (USA)
May 28, 5:15pm
This documentary that takes the audience inside the American Women’s Movement from 1966 to 1971. The film is an excellent primer on the groups formed and on the political actions taken by feminists, but at the same time doesn’t shy away from showing how some women, especially women of colour and lesbians, had to fight to be included.
In Focus Program
DARKNESS BY DAY
Martín Desalvo (Argentina)
May 22, 9:45pm
Virginia lives a solitary life by the seaside with her father, the village doctor. Her father leaves to care for a sick relative and returns with his niece, Anabel, who is unconscious. As Anabel recovers, the two women circle each other, unsure of the other’s intentions. As Anabel’s behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre, Virginia grows more and more drawn to her.
International Showcase Program
HIDDEN AWAY (A Escondidas)
Mikel Rueda (Spain)
May 23, 4:45pm
Native Spaniard Rafa is frustrated with the puffed-up machismo and racism of the other boys he hangs with but doesn’t quite have the courage to turn his back on them. Moroccan refugee Ibra is a loner who doesn’t fit in with the other young men at the immigration centre, which is his temporary home. After a chance encounter, Rafa and Ibra become increasingly attached to one another and a tender, secret friendship blossoms between them.
WHILE YOU WEREN’T LOOKING
Catherine Stewart (South Africa)
May 24, 7pm
Dez and Terri, a mixed-race lesbian couple who have been married for twenty years, are trailblazers who seem to have it all. But when a wedding anniversary gift goes very wrong, cracks begin to show. This feature, produced by Out In Africa, takes a look at South Africa through the lives and experiences of one queer Cape Town family.
Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas (Dominican Republic/Argentina/Mexico)
May 25, 7:15pm
Legendary actress Geraldine Chaplin gives a riveting performance as a lonely and vulnerable French tourist desperately clinging to her love-for-money relationship with a young Dominican woman, in this nuanced portrait of power dynamics and dependence.
Dee Rees (USA)
May 29, 9:30pm
Queen Latifah gives the performance of her career and is destined to garner acclaim and awards with her portrayal of legendary singer Bessie Smith in the HBO biopic of the Jazz Age legend. Latifah, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Big Mama Morton in Chicago , is joined by a stellar supporting cast that includes Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Oscar winner Mo’Nique as Smith’s mentor and rumoured love interest, the legendary Ma Rainey.
Mixed Shorts: Teenage Dream
May 22, 1pm
This collection of shorts captures those youthful trials and tribulations that may feel like the end of the world but are instrumental in shaping who we become. Titles include A Place in the Middle, Reel, An Afernoon, and others.
Spotlight on Canada Program
Alon Kol (Canada)
May 24, 2pm
The film centres on the unconventional romance between Martine and John, who both live with Asperger’s Syndrome. Their goal is to marry, but many challenges lie ahead, the most serious of which is Martine’s struggle to “get a vagina.” Martine, a local Trans activist, won the City of Toronto’s 2012 Pride Award.
25th Anniversary Retro Series
MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
Gus Van Sant (USA)
May 23, 12pm
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry IV, My Own Private Idaho is Gus Van Sant’s dreamlike tale of two wayward hustlers who drift through the coffee houses and wide open spaces of the Pacific North- west, the Italian countryside and then back again on a journey of personal discovery. Slyly funny, deeply empathetic and blessed with breakout performances from the impossibly youthful River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves.
WHEN NIGHT IS FALLING
Patricia Rozema (Canada)
May 29, 5pm
A successful teacher at a conservative religious college, Camille is on a very specific path. A chance encounter with a fiery circus performer named Petra seems to be just the thing Camille needs, and their budding relationship changes the teacher’s predictable life into an erotic, but confusing, adventure. Awakened by Petra’s impulsive sexuality and free spirit, Camille is drawn into a world whose existence she had never before imagined.
Both films I chose from the Retro Series are outstanding in their casting, storyline, and direction. I highly recommend them. As well, tickets for each Retro Series screening are just $5.50, the cost of admission at the very first Inside Out in 1991!
Inside Out celebrates a quarter century of showcasing the best in Canadian and international cinema this year. Be sure to check out the full festival listings for panels, other film screenings, and of course, parties! All film screenings take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Tickets already on sale. For full details, please visit insideout.ca.