Lesbian Films at Cinema Paradiso This Holiday Season

“Janis: Little Girl Blue”

A series of LBT women’s films are scheduled to screen at the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Cinema Paradiso theaters for the holiday season. The programming kicks off with “Sand Dollars,” opening at the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Cinema Paradisos on Thanksgiving Weekend on Nov. 27 and running until Dec. 3. “Janis: Little Girl Blue,” will then open on Dec. 4 until Dec. 9 at the Fort Lauderdale Cinema Paradiso. A third film, “The Summer of Sangaile,” is scheduled to screen at Cinema Paradiso in January 2016.

Robert Rosenberg, Program & Marketing Consultant for the Cinema Paradisos, and Founding Director of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival commented, “We are so excited at the Cinema Paradiso to have much more than a month's worth of international, quality, lesbian-themed and LGBT appealing movies starting this Thanksgiving weekend. We've always been a welcoming and diverse destination, but this marks a very special set of films.”

The Risque And Paradoxal Themes Of

Sand Dollars”

Based on the novelLes Dollars des Sables,” written by the French author, Jean-Noël Pancrazi, San Dollars” is a daring and provocative film that takes on the theme of paradox. The paradox is portrayed in a world full of dissimilarities that explore the contrasts between celebrations, love, pleasure, betrayal, morality and loneliness.

Directed by Israel Cárdenas & Laura Amelia Guzmán, the film centers around a French ex-patriot looking for relaxation who falls in love with a younger local woman from the countryside of Dominican Republic, despite the profound differences of age, background, and economic status.

The film serves as an expose of vulnerability on the part of both main characters as one searches for regeneration while the other searches for security. As the plot unfolds the intensity is riveting as the tranquil island landscape changes to an emotional tropical storm with themes such as sex, love, desire, need, dreams, materialism deceit, disillusionment, and downfall. In addition to the raw and honest performances, audiences will find themselves visually stimulated with arresting cinematography from the geographical panorama and will hear the sounds of region’s mesmeric Bachata music.

Sand Dollars” screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Miami International Film Festivals. The film was selected for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

A Fascinating Exploration Of The Need For Human Connection

“Janis: Little Girl Blue” Documentary

In the opening scene of “Janis: Little Girl Blue,” hypnotizing footage of Janis Joplin singing “Tell Mama” sets the momentum for energizing performances to captivate viewers for the next hour and forty six minutes. In addition to brilliant audio and video footage, merged into the film are interviews with Joplin’s family, TV host Dick Cavett and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. Also included are earnest voiceovers of Janis Joplin’s words, read by indie rock star/actor Cat Power, that are taken from never before revealed letters written to her parents, The recited letters portray Joplin’s inner most thoughts and her driving force. The transparency of Joplin’s soul and what she longed for is presented within the first five minutes of the film when she states, “I’ve been looking around and I noticed something. After you reach a certain level of talent, and quite a few people have that talent, the deciding factor is ambition. Or as I see it, how much you need- need to be loved. Need to be proud of yourself. And I guess that’s what ambition is. It’s not all a depraved quest for position or money. Maybe it’s for love. Lots of love!”

The film examines the human connection that Joplin longed for and how music became the catalyst for filling her void. Accounts of Joplin’s upbringing in Port Arthur, Texas is intimately presently, which leaves the viewer with the inclination to empathize with Joplin’s deep seated feelings of loneliness and isolation that haunted her throughout her life. Joplin was openly bisexual and although the film does not necessarily explore her sexuality, one gets the sense that this factor was also one of the sources of the lack of acceptance that she felt. For those who have faced feelings of alienation because of their gender, sexual orientation, appearance, or any factor that sets them apart from the general masses, Joplin’s struggle is relatable because the need to feel a sense of belonging is relatable.

On Joplin’s pain, Director Amy J. Berg says, “Janis is still a vessel for our collective pain- the raw, eloquent voice through which our suffering gets duly acknowledged and nakedly expressed. She lifts us up while caressing and accepting the pain that lives in each and every one of us. This explains why her live performances were so electric. When Janis got on stage and let it all go, the joy and the pain she released was absolutely intoxicating. When she belts out "Ball and Chain" at Woodstock, Janis uses her open and battered heart to channel the blues of people like Odetta, Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton. When she sings, "I know You're Unhappy...Baby, I Know Just How You Feel" on the Rodgers and Hart classic, "Little Girl Blue," Janis is wailing for all the misfits and outcasts she's collected and connected with over the years.”

What is impressive is that the film shifts from the in depth personal exploration of who Janis Joplin was and how she related to the world on a human level to intense and exhilarating transitions of audio and video footage of her concerts that capture how Joplin made others feel through her music. It’s as though the viewer gets to witness the cause and effect in this film. We literally see what circumstances led to the making of Janis Joplin and then what she made from those circumstances. The end result is nothing less than magnificent as the impact of her music continues to inspire and excite people to this day.

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