Special Report: The Cream of Frameline32

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
There are three films that stand out from the crowd at the Frameline32 LGBT Film Festival, which ran June 19th through 29th in San Francisco. One opens this week at the Lumiere. Chris & Don, a documentary on the long term relationship between the distinguished author Christopher Isherwood whose book "The Berlin Stories" was the inspiration to the musical "Cabaret" and Don Barcardy, a Los Angeles portrait artist. Isherwood met the 30 year younger Bacardy in Hollywood in the 50s. They lived as an openly gay couple at a time when it was difficult to do so. The story is told through Bacardy and complemented by footage from that period which has never been seen before. Bacardy and his older brother were autograph seekers in Hollywood and as the stars signed, one of them snapped the picture. Isherwood was one of the few artists that enjoyed writing screenplays and how the format streamlined his writing. In order to please Bacardy he brought him along to meet famous people. The documentary includes interviews with Lisa Minnelli, Gloria Stuart and Leslie Caron,

A Horse is not a Metaphor, a short creative use of documentary film by veteran director Barbara Hammer was another pearl of the festival. This film is about Hammer's bout with cancer, which she successfully battled and is in over 18 month's remission. But it is also about reclaiming power, and the images of horses, shiny and sleek, with life running through their magnificent bodies evoke this.The film uses old rodeo footage, with young cowgirls wrestling with the cattle, as Hammer so clearly seems to do when presented with her diagnosis of uterine cancer. There is also footage of Barbara on a horse, and one horse in particular with cancer, which after a sturdy diet begins to recover. It takes courage and conviction to bring a film so personal and intimate to the screen. Powerful Barbara Hammer who is not afraid to have us look, empathize and learn.

Derek is an outstanding collage of the work of the later filmmaker Derek Jarman, his films, music videos, and a lengthy interview with Colin McCabe in 1990 at his home Prospect Cottage in Dungeness which serves as voice over to his images. Tilda Swinton wrote and produced the film directed by Isaac Julien. Derek Jarman and his films directed by Guido Santo and Tina Mascara reminds us of a time in British filmmaking that no longer exists, a combination of the political, the artistic, with a focus on gay sexuality in several complex films such as Sebastiane (1976) and Caravaggio (1986). According to Swinton, she would never have worked in industry cinema had it not been for Jarman.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan
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The Cream of Frameline32