Miami Film Fest’s LGBT Films Sure to Impress

"In The Grayscale"

Miami Dade College's Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) takes over area screens from March 6-15, and showcases hundreds of features, shorts, and documentaries. The festival opens with the darkly hilarious comedy, “Wild Tales.” The pre-credit episode of this Argentine anthology may just be the funniest film sequence all year. The remaining five entries in “Wild Tales” are also fiendishly clever, from a woman who exacts a vicious revenge on a restaurant customer to a nasty game of one-upmanship between two drivers with road rage. The last tale, an over-the-top wedding reception featuring unspeakably bad behavior is a corker.

The festival closes with “Sidetracked,” a Spanish comedy-drama about a couple and their siblings facing difficulties in their personal and professional lives.

In between these films are a handful of LGBT titles that are worth a look.

MIFF offers audiences the first chance to screen “Saint Laurent,” Bertrand Bonello’s highly anticipated biopic of Yves St. Laurent (Gaspard Ulliel). Reports from Cannes declared this film a stylish portrait of the man and his clothes, though less focus is given to his turbulent relationship Pierre Berger (Jeremie Renier) and his affair with Jacques de Bauscher (Louis Garrel).

Also from France is “In the Name of My Daughter,” the latest film from out filmmaker André Téchiné. This drama, based on a real-life case, concerns a young casino heiress (Adèle Haenel) in 1976 Nice, who has an affair with an older man (Guillaume Canet) and goes missing. Her mother (Catherine Deneuve) believes her daughter was murdered.

“Butterfly,” the latest film from the exceptional Argentine filmmaker Marco Berger. In this drama, Romina (Ailín Salas) and Germán (Javier De Pietro) play siblings in one part of the film, and friends in another. The film alternates in presenting the possibilities of the characters’ sexual desires and realities.

Another queer film from Latin America is the World Premiere of Chilean director Claudio Marcone’s “In the Grayscale.” One of the highlights of the fest, this perceptive drama has Bruno (Francisco Celhay) coming out to himself and his family after he meets Fer (Emilio Edwards) on a work project. The film, artfully shot and emotionally resonant, features a pair of strong performances from the attractive (and often naked) leads.

In “Venecia,” three women who work together in a Havana hair salon, spend a night out on the town together. One of the women, Violeta (Claudia Muñiz) comes in contact with Ada-Adalberto (Jazz Vilá), a transgender character.

The festival’s lesbian-themed film, is “Sand Dollars,” a romantic drama set in Dominican Republic. Anne (Geraldine Chaplin) is an older American woman who falls in love with Noeli (Yanet Mojica), a Dominican who makes money through sex tourism. Chaplin’s performance in this film co-directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas has been earning raves.

Also from Cuba, is the poignant documentary short, “High Heel Blues,” by director Jessica Rodriguez. The film’s subject, Marcel, alias “Mariposa,” describes putting on his cousin’s dress as a child and being caught by his grandmother. He got a beating for his cross-dressing behavior, and it was the start of his difficult life. Marcel was unhappy doing “boy” things as he always felt like a girl. It was only after he “accepted his personality” that he was able to come in to his own, finding fulfillment when he sees himself in a mirror, dressed as a woman. But as Marcel eloquently recounts, he had trouble with the law, spent two years in jail, and was subjected to homophobic attacks upon release. Rodriguez makes Marcel’s story touching throughout especially when he describes efforts to play baseball while unzipping a purse with princesses on it.

Other LGBT films include the Canadian comedy “Guidance,” in which David Gold (writer/director Pat Mills), a washed-up actor, takes a high school guidance counselor job. He behaves inappropriately, drinking and smoking with his students and encouraging some reckless behavior. He also catches the interest of a gay gym teacher (David Tompa).

Lastly, the crime film, “Cut Snake,” from Australia, has an ex-con (Sullivan Stapleton) seeking out his old cell mate (Alex Russell), who is currently living with Paula (Jessica De Gouw). The trio’s outing at a gay bar leads to some teasing by a drag queen, and crime, and other revelations.          

For more information, visit MiamiFilmFestival.com

Sand Dollars                      

Saturday, March 7          
9:45 p.m.          
Mdc’s Tower Theater Presented By Viendomovies (Theater 1)

Cut Snake

Sunday, March 8
8:30 p.m.          
Mdc’s Tower Theater Presented By Viendomovies (Theater 1)

Sunday, March 15          
7 p.m.          
O Cinema Miami Beach

In The Grayscale                       

Lexus Ibero-American Opera Prima          
Monday, March 9,
7 p.m.          
Coral Gables Art Cinema

Saint Laurent           

Wednesday, March 11
6:30 P.M.          
O Cinema Miami Beach

Sunday, March 15          
3 p.m.          
Regal 17

Guidance                                   

Thursday, March 12
9:30 p.m.          
Coral Gables Art Cinema

Butterfly                       

Thursday, March 12
9 p.m.          
Regal 17

Sunday, March 15
4 p.m.          
Regal 18

In The Name Of My Daughter                       

Friday, March 13          
9:45 p.m.          
Regal 17

Saturday, March 14          
1 p.m.          
Cinepolis


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