Just like any film festival, QFest will only survive if we as an audience demand it with our support for queer indie films and filmmakers. The majority of the films presented this year are created on a shoe string budget with limited openings on the coasts. These are not block buster films and they don’t have the Brokeback Mountain-hype that produces Vanity Fair reviews and mainstream marketing.
QFest is also even more remarkable because it is a QUEER film festival for the Midwest! To have this festival here in St. Louis is an achievement and a privledge that still isn’t afforded to a lot of the country especially here in “Real-America.” Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that you could be fined or jailed for receiving queer literature and magazines in your own mail box.
We hope you’ll join us in helping build this festival into a major screening event for future queer filmmakers and artists and we invite you to come out this weekend and enjoy a truly amazing collection of queer films.
Artists will continue to create their work no matter where they are or what kind of political climate exists but only YOU can demand that they continue to bring their work here to our city and to our community.
Italian superstars rehash the bisexual love triangle in Different From Whom? and some dysfunctional family drama in Loose Cannons.
The last two Vital VOICE reviews highlight the only foreign films included in this year’s festival. First up, Italian director Umberto Carteni’s bisexual love triangle Different From Whom?
The bisexual triangle plot line isn’t new (Object of My Affection, Next Best Thing, Chasing Amy) but Carteni’s production gives it a fresh, Italian perspective with gay protaganist Piero played by Italian heart throb Luca Argentero. Piero is an idealistic and openly gay politician in his conservative Italian city. The old guard within his leftist party push him into the mayoral race with running mate Adele, the party’s more conservative, family-focused member. The two immediately butt heads at every turn but an underlying sexual tension pushes the two into a sexual relationship despite Piero’s relationship with partner Remo.
The film plays up the love triangle for comedic relief and in the end these characters find their happiness in a new kind of family structure. It’s interesting to think if this same movie could be made here by a major studio with major American stars. I say, yes only because the movie still relies heavily on the traditional straight male-female romantic comedy formula and it tries to appease everyone with its “happy-ending”.
Watch this film because even though the characters are archetypes you will still enjoy them and because it will make you wish more American studios would lease out our “straight” stars for more queer story lines.
Our second Italian film is dysfunctional family drama Loose Cannons. The film comes from Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek who brings to life the wildly dysfunctional Cantones family, a successful family of pasta makers from the southern Italian town of Lecce. Youngest son Tommaso has returned home after finishing school in Rome with plans to come out to his family in hopes that they’ll disown him and free him from the family business. But when his older brother beats him to the punch, Tommaso finds himself stuck picking up the pieces for his outrageous and shameless relatives.
If you’re a fan of Italian film you’ll appreciate the comedy and family drama of Loose Cannons. The Cantones embody an Italian family caught between tradition and progress. Tommaso’s sexuality is the start of this conflict but along they way we’re also given a glimpse into the changing roles and expectations of Italian women as well as a look into chauvinist mindset of Tommaso’s father who expects his family to adhere to traditional values while he himself shamelessly enjoys his mistress in front of his wife.
The film is genuinely funny and even heart-warming as we see the Cantones reflecting on their lives and the choices they’ve made. In the end, they discover that happiness can be fleeting but that’s no excuse to not revel in every moment of it.
BY: JOSHUA BARTON – STAFF WRITER