March 23, 2007
Beyond ten percent
There are more queer films after the festival
Cleveland--When the Cleveland International Film Festival and its Ten Percent Cinema collection of LGBT film end this weekend, it is far from the end of queer cinema on the North Coast.
The Cleveland Institute of Art’s Cinematheque will have three such movies between March 30 and April 21, starting with Three Needles and Color Me Kubrick on March 30 and 31.
Three Needles presents a trio of snapshots of the AIDS pandemic across the globe, in China, South Africa and Canada. Each country faced a different dynamic in the disease’s spread, and each country’s response differed greatly at governmental, social service and personal levels.
Chloe Sevigny plays a young nun in South Africa who is faced with a choice: Follow Mother Superior Olympia Dukakis’ instructions and convert the heathen masses before they die of AIDS. Or, risk her own soul to save a group of orphans, imperiled by folklore that says AIDS can be cured by sex with a virgin.
Lucy Liu plays a woman who runs a mobile blood donation center in a small Chinese village. Tong Sam, played by Tanabadee Chokpikultong, is a farmer who is banned from selling his blood because he has the flu. Unfortunately, months after sending his daughter in his stead, both she and his wife are dead. He goes in search of answers from the government, returning empty-handed to find his village ravaged by AIDS.
In Canada, Shawn Ashmore is Denny, a porn actor who uses other people’s blood to pass his mandatory HIV tests. The situation pushes his mother, Stockard Channing, to the brink of despair, and she does the unthinkable to provide for her family.
Three Needles will play at the Cinematheque on March 30 and 31 at 7:15 pm and 9:15 pm respectively. Those who miss its Cleveland theatrical debut need only wait a week or two, however, since it will be released on DVD by Wolfe Video in early April.
On the same days, at 9:40 pm and 7:25 pm, the theater will show Color Me Kubrick, the quixotic tale of a con man who impersonated famed director Stanley Kubrick in the late 1990s, when Kubrick was shooting his final film, Eyes Wide Shut.
John Malkovich sinks his teeth into a role that makes use of his natural effeminacy, playing the very gay, extremely eccentric trickster Alan Conway.
He goes from person to person, claiming to be Kubrick and getting what he can from them--money, sex, fountain pens, stays in luxury hotels.
The police are finally tipped off to his escapades by a writer who was promised work on a new film, but none of the other victims want to appear in court to testify against him. It would make them look foolish or reveal secrets they would rather not let out, like their own sexual orientation.
The film, quirky and darkly funny, presented Malkovich with a challenge. Kubrick was a notorious recluse and Conway represented him differently to each person he met--sometimes as an effete fop, other times a neurotic New Yorker, once even sounding like a Texas oilman. So, Malkovich literally played at least ten different characters in the role of Alan Conway impersonating Stanley Kubrick.
The Cinematheque’s last queerish film on the March-April schedule is the Thai film Tears of the Black Tiger, directed by out filmmaker Wisit Sasanetieng, making its Cleveland debut.
Sasanetieng’s film was the first Thai movie to be an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, leading one to wonder what the organizers were smoking that year.
The bastard offspring of a Douglas Sirk melodrama and a Sam Peckinpah western, Sasanetieng marries an outlandish story to vividly-colored, at times surreal landscapes to create an ultraviolent, completely frivolous love story.
Chartchai Ngamsan is Dum, also known as the Black Tiger, a former farm boy who becomes a bandit to get revenge on the men who killed his father.
However, he is still in love with his childhood sweetheart, Rumpoey (Stella Malucchi), the daughter of the governor and fiancée of the police captain who is hunting down bandit king Fai and the rest of his gang, including the Black Tiger.
When Fai decides to launch a revenge attack on the police captain on the night of his wedding, Dum protests, not wanting Rumpoey to be hurt in the battle. Fai views this as betrayal, and sets a trap for the Black Tiger.
He escapes the trap, showing up in time for the final climactic battle, which results in even more bloodshed and tears. That would probably explain the title, although he’s not usually the one doing the crying.
Tears of the Black Tiger will be shown on Thursday and Saturday, April 19 and 21, at 9 pm and 9:30 pm respectively.
The Cleveland Institute of Art’s Cinematheque is located at 11141 East Blvd in the University Circle neighborhood. Shows are $8, $5 for Cinematheque members, CIA students and staff. For more information, call 216-4217450 or go to www.cia.edu/cinematheque.