Reeling: The 25th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival continues through Sunday, November 12, at Chicago Filmmakers, Columbia College Ludington Bldg., and Landmark’s Century Centre. Tickets are $7-$10, $5-$8 for members of Chicago Filmmakers; for more information call 773-293-1447. Following are screenings through Thursday, November 9; for a full schedule visit


R C.R.A.Z.Y. Jean-Marc Vallee’s exceptional 2005 Canadian drama traces the spiritual and psychosexual odyssey of a boy born on Christmas Day 1960 to a devout Catholic mother and a dad obsessed with Patsy Cline. After the child is caught dressing up in his mother’s clothes he grows up under a cloud of disapproval, and as he approaches manhood he trades the church for pot and David Bowie. Marc-Andre Grondin is electric as the androgynous young hero, who vents his rage and confusion without losing his sense; the tricky role of the father requires veteran actor Michel Cote to balance tenderness and coldness, obduracy and decency. In French with subtitles. 127 min. (AG) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 7 PM

RPuccini for Beginners Maria Maggenti follows her debut feature, The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, with this smart romantic comedy about an opera-loving, commitment-phobic lesbian novelist (Elizabeth Reasor). Dumped by her lover (Julianne Nicholson), she gets involved with a philosophy scholar (Justin Kirk) and, unwittingly, his fragile girlfriend (Gretchen Mol), but as the writer points out, “Going from salad to steak and back again isn’t as easy as it seems.” Fresh Manhattan locations prove as photogenic as the leads, and the supporting actors–especially Tina Benko as a glacial, impeccably dressed amazon–don’t miss a beat of Maggenti’s snappy dialogue. 82 min. (AG) a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 7 PM

Filthy Gorgeous: The Trannyshack Story Sean Mullen’s 2005 documentary charts ten years of thrash, glam, and drag at Trannyshack, a weekly San Francisco club night that has hosted gay icons from David Bowie to Kiki & Herb star Justin Bond. 87 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 8 PM

R Looking for Cheyenne Valerie Minetto’s intelligent first feature deals with a lesbian couple, but the same-sex angle is refreshingly incidental to the story line. Mila Dekker plays the title character, an unemployed journalist who decides to leave Paris for a small town. Her girlfriend (Aurelia Petit), a high school teacher highly regarded by her students, has no intention of joining her, but the couple are miserable being separated. Though Minetto addresses a number of social and political issues, including the difficulty of maintaining one’s integrity in a bureaucracy, her story is ultimately about negotiating a relationship and the inevitability of working at cross-purposes. In French with subtitles. 86 min. (JK) a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 9 PM

R Colma: The Musical This hip little coming-of-age comedy marks the feature debuts of gifted director Richard Wong and actor-screenwriter-songwriter H.P. Mendoza. Set in dreary Colma, California (“home of cemeteries and car dealerships”), it follows three teenagers fresh out of high school–gay Rodel (Mendoza), straight Billy (Jake Moreno), and Maribel (L.A. Renigen), the gal pal both boys take for granted–as they slouch toward adulthood and face the dissolution of their tight unit. Packed with catchy pop melodies, humorously deadpan lyrics, and imaginative musical staging, the movie combines quirky irony with insights into adolescent angst. 119 min. (Albert Williams) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 9:30 PM

Creatures From the Pink Lagoon Seattle writer-director Chris Diani really gets movies: his low-budget, high-concept digital parody crosses The Boys in the Band with 60s-era black-and-white monster films to spawn a rollicking gay zombie flick. Five friends gather at a remote waterfront home for the birthday of their pal, whose boyfriend has left him to cruise a nearby rest stop frequented by toxic mosquitoes. Horror spoofs are served with a twist (one stud stops fending off the undead just long enough to remove his shirt), and Philip D. Clarke stands out as an acid-tongued queen who remarks of

one attacker, “Aren’t you ten pounds of ugly in a five-pound sack!” 71 min. (AG) a Chicago Filmmakers, 10 PM


Bob + Jack’s 52-Year Adventure Stu Maddox directed this video documentary about two former U.S. soldiers who fell in love in 1952, avoided court-martial, and moved to LA to be Hollywood extras. Also on the program: Jane Cantillon’s video The Other Side: A Queer History. 91 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, noon

Eleven Men Out The star player of Iceland’s pro soccer team gets benched after he comes out to a journalist, so he decamps to an all-gay amateur team while struggling to fix his relationship with his teenage son. Robert I. Douglas directed this 2005 feature. In Icelandic with subtitles. 85 min. a Landmark’s Century Centre, noon

FtF: Female to Female Kami Chisholm and Elizabeth Stark interview lesbians who say they’re marginalized because they like high heels, push-up bras, and lipstick; among the interviewees are poet Meliza Banales, rocker Bitch, and actress Guinevere Turner. Four shorts bring the program running time to 92 minutes. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., noon

The Book of Daniel Two unaired episodes from the NBC family drama that fell victim to a Christian letter-writing campaign, bad reviews, and dismal ratings and was canceled after only three weeks. If you’re going to write a show about a drug-addicted Episcopalian priest (Aidan Quinn) and his messed-up family, you have to do better than this. The treatment of social issues–gay bashing, Alzheimer’s disease–is drearily PC, and the sincere Christian philosophizing that was supposed to provide some cover from the religious right is clumsily handled (Quinn periodically raps with a Jesus who looks like Terry Gilliam in a Monty Python sketch). Adam Bernstein and Michael Fields each directed an episode; with Susanna Thompson, Dylan Baker, Ellen Burstyn, and James Rebhorn. 90 min. (JJ) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 2 PM

Boy I Am Three young New Yorkers embark on female-to-male transition in this documentary by Sam Feder and Julie Hollar. 72 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 2 PM

Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema Produced for IFC, this documentary by Lisa Ades and Lesli Klainberg makes a fine sequel to The Celluloid Closet (1995), focusing on the explosion of gay and lesbian voices in the indie cinema of the 90s. A quick survey of pioneering art films (Fireworks, Flaming Creatures, Blow Job) and studio features (Making Love, Personal Best, Desert Hearts) gives way to a lively talking-heads dialogue about the “new queer cinema,” which embraces more complex and problematic portraits of queer identity. The video falls prey to boosterism–even Angela Robinson’s god-awful D.E.B.S. is presented as some sort of political victory–but there’s a wealth of passionate and incisive commentary from John Cameron Mitchell, Rose Troche, Jennie Livingston, Gus Van Sant, John Waters, B. Ruby Rich, and others. 82 min. (JJ) a Chicago Filmmakers, 2 PM

Electroshock In this film, based on a true story in Spain in the 70s, Pilar has just found love with Elvira when someone turns them in, and men in white coats drag Pilar off to an asylum, where she receives electric shocks while being shown erotic pictures of women. Years later she finds her way back to Elvira, seriously damaged physically and mentally. Told in a series of flashbacks after a failed suicide attempt, Juan Carlos Claver’s film is both a socially conscious drama and a tearjerker–and the tear-jerking is pretty effective. In Spanish with subtitles. 97 min. (FC) a Chicago Filmmakers, 4 PM

Go West A Muslim cellist and his Serbian boyfriend plan to flee war-torn Sarajevo in this 2005 Bosnian feature by Ahmed Imamovic. In Serbo-Croatian with subtitles. a Landmark’s Century Centre, 4 PM

Lulu Gets a Facelift This video documentary by Marc Huestis looks at aging in the gay community, as a San Francisco drag icon gets a $15,000 face-lift. 60 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 4:30 PM

R Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma Slow moving but compelling, this 2005 Canadian mystery concerns a handsome young man who awakens naked in a Montreal parking lot with his memory erased, knowing only that he’s gay. As he strives to reclaim his past, support comes from staffers at a gay help line, who draw media attention to his case with surprising and troubling results. Dusan Dukic is excellent as the enigmatic hero, and writer-director Denis Langlois uses the fact-based story to consider how identity is shaped by social relationships and expectations. In English and subtitled French. 90 min. (Albert Williams) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 6 PM

Be Real: Stories From Queer America Chicagoan Tara “Red” Tremmel is one of six people profiled in this video documentary by Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf. 80 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 6 PM

Camp Out Kirk Marcolina and Larry Grimaldi’s video documentary follows ten midwestern teens at the first-ever overnight Bible camp for gay youth. 77 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 6:30 PM

Gender Play Shorts that question gender identity. 79 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 8 PM

R Loving Annabelle The subject of a lesbian student-teacher affair in a Catholic boarding school isn’t new: here the relationship is between a young poetry teacher who’s conflicted and repressed and a student who seems self-assured, open, and self-aware. But Katherine Brooks’s quiet, beautifully nuanced film is a rarity, because the dialogue and performances capture the subtleties of human relationships. Even the teacher’s scenes with her boyfriend ring true, and the erotic scenes build on the gentlest touches to make desire palpable. 77 min. (FC) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 8 PM

If You Think My Shorts Are Funny, Wait Until You See What’s Inside! Nine comic short videos. 87 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 8:30 PM

RBoy Culture Actor Derek Magyar (Star Trek: Enterprise) makes an impressive feature debut in this somber video drama about a financially savvy but emotionally distant male escort. A creature of habit, he’s always restricted his client list to a select few, but when one of his regulars dies, he allows a mysterious elderly recluse (Patrick Bauchau) to fill the vacancy. The hustler is suspicious that the older man wants only to talk, but gradually he begins to open up, which both improves and complicates his situation with his two hot roommates (Darryl Stephens and Jonathon Trent). Director Q. Allan Brocka (Eating Out) keeps the tone downbeat for too long, but one can’t fault his ambition in tackling the elusive connections between love, sex, and money. 88 min. (AG) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 9:45 PM

ÁEl Presidente! Dreadful video kitsch about a lucha libre wrestler–“El Homo Loco”–running for president of Cabo San Luchas, an island populated primarily by his colleagues. To win he must defeat a blubbery opponent, Oi Boy, and overcome the sinister plotting of several obnoxious ne’er-do-wells. Writer-director Jeremy Solterbeck aims for John Waters territory but delivers the sort of painfully unfunny camp that seems to exist solely as filler for gay-lesbian festivals. 55 min. (Reece Pendleton) a Chicago Filmmakers, 10 PM


RThe Line of Beauty Set in Thatcher-era London, this fine BBC adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst’s novel follows the rise and fall of a wealthy, dysfunctional Tory family, as seen through the eyes of a young middle-class literary scholar (Dan Stevens). Invited to lodge in the family mansion, he finds himself compromising his homosexuality as he colludes with the family to preserve its facade of normalcy and protect the political career of its patriarch, a sycophantic MP played to perfection by Tim McInnerny. Veteran BBC literary adapter Andrew Davies (Bleak House, Tipping the Velvet) dispenses with most of the novel’s social and political satire, homing in on the personal drama, and though Hollinghurst’s arch humor and broader social canvas are sorely missed, what remains is still a bracing deconstruction of British class and politics, down to the icy denouement. Saul Dibb directed. 180 min. (Reece Pendleton) a Landmark’s Century Centre, noon

Lover Other: The Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore Barbara Hammer documents the partnership of Cahun and Moore, 1920s surrealist painters who resisted Nazism. 82 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, noon

Cruel and Unusual Documentarian Dan Hunt profiles five preoperative male-to-female transsexuals who are incarcerated in men’s correctional facilities, victims of a penal culture that ignores the medically recognized phenomenon of gender identity disorder. Unlike the subjects of other recent documentaries, none of these people can afford sex-reassignment surgery, and the video reveals how their incarceration is largely a result of their class. Most poignant is Linda, an Idaho inmate who was repeatedly denied hormone therapy and ultimately castrated himself, an act that prompted the state to legislate treatment for all transgender prisoners. Ji Hoon Park’s 2004 short Latina, Rome and Their Family brings the program running time to 95 minutes. (JK) a Chicago Filmmakers, 2 PM

Park As desperate for laughs as the characters are for love, this brittle ensemble comedy maroons its talented cast in a series of painfully artificial situations, all set in vehicles that are parked on a cliff overlooking Los Angeles. A wife (Ricki Lake) and her single gal pal (Cheri Oteri) plot revenge against her philandering husband (Billy Baldwin), a flaky redhead (Dagney Kerr) botches one suicide attempt after another, and four coworkers turn nudist on their lunch break. I kept hoping Triple A would arrive and haul this wreck away. First-timer Kurt Voelker wrote and directed. 86 min. (AG) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 3:30 PM

Oh! Canada Five short videos by Canadians. 83 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 4 PM

R 50 Ways of Saying Fabulous A wonderfully expressive performance by child actor Andrew Patterson propels this seriocomic study of growing up gay in rural New Zealand in the 70s. Patterson plays plump, girlish 12-year-old Billy, who doesn’t understand why his friends (including his tomboy cousin) call him a “poofter”–he doesn’t even know what a poofter is. His tentatively sexual relationship with a geeky but precocious new boy at school is threatened when he develops a crush on the teenage handyman for his family’s farm. Adapted by writer-director Stewart Maina from a novel by Graeme Aitken, this alternately hilarious and poignant 2005 feature is marred by melodramatic overplotting toward the end, but it sensitively conveys the paradoxical sweetness and cruelty of children’s relationships. 90 min. (Albert Williams) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 5:30 PM

Rock Bottom: Gay Men & Meth For two years director Jay Corcoran followed seven gay meth addicts–some HIV-positive–from clubs to doctor appointments to family gatherings, exploring why they use when they know the risks. 75 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 6 PM

3 Needles Directed by Thomas Fitzgerald (The Hanging Garden), this sprawling and ambitious three-part Canadian film (2005) traces the spread of AIDS on three continents, but it gets off to a confusing start: its South African story of infected teenage boys being treated by three nuns (Chloe Sevigny, Olympia Dukakis, Sandra Oh) is interrupted to recount how an entire Chinese village is stricken after farmers sell their blood to a naive government worker (Lucy Liu). Then a Canadian porn actor (Shawn Ashmore), eager to keep working, tries to hide his condition by stealing his father’s blood, while his mother (Stockard Channing) devises even more baroque ways of coping with the problem. By the time the movie returned to Africa, it had lost me despite its talented cast and its noble intentions. In English and various subtitled languages. 124 min. (JR) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 7:15 PM

Hard Drive Six comic video shorts about finding love online. 70 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 8 PM

About a Girl A rebellious young woman finds an outlet in boxing and her increasingly intimate relationship with a female friend. Katharina Deus directed this 2005 German video feature. In German with subtitles. 105 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 9:30 PM

Vacationland Part coming-out story, part small-town drama, Todd Verow’s apparently heartfelt tale is imperfectly told. Two generic, somewhat boring high school friends start to realize they’re gay. Andrew forges IDs to get them into the local gay bar; Joe recalls a childhood rape, leading to a trite revenge plot. There are also many undeveloped subplots–Joe’s mom likes to pass out on the couch, and his sister is scheming to leave for LA. The few authentic moments include a cheerleader’s attempts to preserve appearances by keeping Andrew as her boyfriend, and a gentle older man’s befriending of Joe. 104 min. (FC) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 9:45 PM


Into It Chicagoan Jeffrey Macubbin directed this 2005 video drama about a gay hustler’s relationship with a victim of Tourette’s syndrome. 93 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 6:30 PM

R The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros This gritty, lyrical 2005 drama from the Philippines features a memorable performance from newcomer Nathan Lopez as the title character, a sashaying 12-year-old queen with a heart of gold and a killer wardrobe. The boy cooks and keeps house for his two older brothers and widowed father (a commanding Soliman Cruz), who run an illegal numbers game. After a murder is committed a young policeman starts to investigate the older brothers and the boy becomes smitten with him, much to his family’s dismay. Shooting on digital video in the slums of Manila, Auraeus Solito references such barrio films as Pixote and Los Olvidados, though his depiction of poverty is less bleak. In Tagalog with subtitles. 100 min. (JK) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 7 PM

Family Matters David Noy’s 2004 Israeli video documentary follows a gay couple from their decision to coparent a child with a straight woman through the unexpected jealousies and tensions that arise. In Hebrew with subtitles. 76 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 8 PM

Combat Two young men travel to an isolated island to indulge their sadomasochistic relationship in this Belgian video feature by Patrick Carpentier. In French with subtitles. 82 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 8:30 PM

Stray Cats Cosmopolitan Manila is the exotic backdrop for this 2005 Filipino video about a straight career woman (Irma Adlawan) and her gay neighbor (Ricky Davao), each of them besotted with a feckless lover. Their melodrama is mirrored by a pulp novel the man is writing, in which the heroine’s suffering only intensifies her passion. Writer-director Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil never satisfactorily explains how two intelligent, competent people could make such poor romantic choices, and a seismic tonal shift in the last half hour casts us even further adrift. Of the two leads Davao is far more compelling, investing his character with compassion, humor, gentleness, and strength; Adlawan is such a tough cookie she seems to belong in a different movie. In English and subtitled Tagalog. 115 min. (AG) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 9:15 PM


Rag Tag Two 12-year-old friends in London–Rag, whose mother is from the West Indies, and Tag, whose family is Nigerian–are separated when a social worker sends Rag to live in Birmingham, supposedly because his mother can’t care for him. Rag returns as an adult, and after some initial awkwardness, some of it concerning Tag’s girlfriend, Rag learns that his friend has always loved him. Subplots involve a trip to Nigeria and some illegal doings, but eventually the two become lovers destined to live happily ever after. Director Adaora Nwandu’s episodic storytelling and use of fade-outs sometimes intensifies individual episodes, though not entirely successfully. 101 min. (FC) a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 6:30 PM

What’s Up, Scarlet? Almost every note in this insipid, poorly acted 2005 video comedy rings false. A chic, workaholic matchmaker (Susan Priver), successful at arranging relationships for everyone but herself, gets into a fender bender with a homeless actress (Musetta Vander), whom she then offers to put up for the night. They have nothing in common and no visible erotic chemistry, yet they eventually become lovers, to the consternation of the matchmaker’s narcissistic mom (Sally Kirkland) and no-account brother (Jere Burns). Priver, a veteran of the Los Angeles stage, has said that cowriting the screenplay with director Anthony Caldarella, her longtime partner, killed their romance. Somehow that’s not surprising. 84 min. (AG) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 7 PM

Straight Acting Video maker Spencer Windes, a former Mormon missionary, traveled to rodeos, hockey rinks, and rugby pitches to interview gay men who love sports. Jopel Maysonnet’s 2005 short Wine and Beer brings the program running time to 93 minutes. a Chicago Filmmakers, 8 PM

Pick Up the Mic Alex Hinton profiles more than a dozen gay hip-hop artists in this 2005 video documentary. 95 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 8:30 PM

Whispering Moon Like Antonioni’s Blowup and De Palma’s Blow Out, this Austrian video feature by Michael Satzinger uses the paranoid thriller form to ponder media manipulation of reality. Two young men–Patrick, the mute son of a TV journalist, and his boyfriend Jannis–set out to make a documentary about a string of political assassinations that apparently involve poisonous tree frogs; the story unfolds in flashback as Jannis is editing their footage in an effort to understand the events. As a study of how digitally altered images change our perception of truth, this 2005 release is thought provoking; as drama it’s tedious. In German with subtitles. 97 min. (Albert Williams) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 9 PM


Passionate Resistance Five video shorts about queer people of color. 99 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 6:30 PM

RWhole New Thing This wry, tender 2005 Canadian comedy puts a fresh spin on the theme of adolescent sexual awakening. Its protagonist, an intellectually precocious 13-year-old, develops a crush on his middle-aged gay English teacher, whose attempts to deflect the boy’s advances without wounding his blossoming spirit lead the man to confront his own emotional isolation. Shot by director Amnon Buchbinder in snowy rural Nova Scotia, the film features subtle, honest performances by Daniel MacIvor (who also cowrote the screenplay) as the perplexed prof and engaging newcomer Aaron Webber as the sensitive student. 92 min. (Albert Williams). a Landmark’s Century Centre, 7 PM

Derek Jarman: My Life as Art This 2004 video portrait of British filmmaker Derek Jarman uses lots of talking heads to describe everything from his elaborate childhood sand castles to his early Super-8 experimental work to theatrical features such as Caravaggio to his gay activism after being diagnosed with HIV. But the reminiscences are too personal and biographical and the clips too few to give much sense of his work’s significance–this is a rare case where a speech by a film professor or two might have improved things. Director Andy Kimpton-Nye’s attempts to mimic Jarman’s style are silly, if not offensive. 60 min. (FC) a Chicago Filmmakers, 8 PM

Toy With Me Comic video shorts about toys in gay culture. 80 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 8:30 PM

In the Blood Lou Peterson directed this “homo-horror” video feature in which a closeted jock has visions of a campus serial killer while masturbating. 82 min. a Landmark’s Century Centre, 9 PM


Universal Gaze Short videos. 102 min. a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 6:30 PM

Red Doors Georgia Lee makes her writing and directing debut with this predictable but sincere 2005 comedy about the trials of a suburban Chinese-American family. The mother and three daughters, preoccupied with their busy lives, fail to comprehend the deepening depression of the recently retired father (a deadpan Tzi Ma). Unwilling to seek professional help and consoled only by old videos of his daughters, he makes several feeble attempts at suicide and contemplates entering a Buddhist monastery. Lee suggests that Asians sacrifice family to assimilate into American culture, hardly an original notion but one conveyed here with humor and plangency. 90 min. (JK) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 7 PM

To Queer or Not to Queer Ten short videos about deciding to come out. 98 min. a Chicago Filmmakers, 8 PM

Coffee Date Expanded from an earlier short, Stewart Wade’s 2005 comedy about sexual confusion contains plenty of hilarious scenes deftly executed by an able cast, though the video runs out of gas by the final act. As the result of a practical joke, an amiable heterosexual guy (Jonathan Bray) finds himself on a blind date with a gay man (Wilson Cruz in a nice turn); he and his date decide to turn the tables on the joker by faking a one-night stand, but to the hero’s chagrin, word gets around and everyone he knows believes he’s gay. Wade lampoons our tendency to rigidly define sexual preference, but eventually the high jinks start to resemble an episode from the old TV series Love, American Style. Sally Kirkland costars as Bray’s overbearing mother. 93 min. (JK) a Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 8:30 PM

Broken Sky Writer-director Julian Hernandez traces the dissolution of a young gay couple’s torrid relationship at a Mexico City university, and his rigorously formalist approach turns this 140-minute Mexican feature into a mannered, pretentious snooze. With little dialogue, the film conveys mood and emotion through close-ups, choreographed movement, and numerous long takes, but its insularity soon becomes stifling. The plot hinges on a chance erotic encounter one partner has at a disco, which ludicrously dooms the lovers’ relationship as he sullenly pines for his phantom suitor. With Miguel Angel Hoppe, Fernando Arroyo, and Alejandro Rojo. In Spanish with subtitles. (JK) a Landmark’s Century Centre, 9 PM