Home' LOTL : April 2007 Contents 26
By Belinda Hazelton
Directed by Ryan Fleck
Dan (Ryan Gosling) is a young history teacher in
a run-down Brooklyn high school. In his attempts
to inspire his students, he adopts an unorthodox
approach in the classroom, putting him at odds
with the school administration. Outside class his
own life is running out of control, thanks to drug
usage and a loss of faith in his ideals. He hits
a crisis point after being caught by one of his
students, Drey (Shareeka Epps), getting high on
crack in the school toilet block.
This film was initially slightly irritating, thanks to
some annoying camera work and its seemingly
unoriginal plot. However, as the story developed,
in its understated way, it became captivating, and
stayed with me for weeks after viewing.
The performances of the two leads are strong
and convincing, with Gosling deservedly receiving
an Oscar nomination for his role. Fleck and his
partner, writer/editor/producer Anna Boden are
clearly talented young filmmakers whose careers
should be worth following in the years ahead.
Directed by Pierre Salvadori
The French Riviera provides rich pickings for
manipulative, beautiful young Irene (Audrey Tatou)
who is seeking a wealthy older man to support
her and fund her shopping sprees. Mistaking
hotel employee Jean (Gad Elmaleh) for an eligible
target, she is horrified when she learns his true
status. She immediately dumps him, but Jean
has fallen in love and will do whatever it takes to
win her over.
This is a classic French romantic comedy,
although it has some dark moments and Irene’s
character is unusually tough and relentless.
Amusing and completely improbable, Priceless
is also entertaining viewing when you’re after
something non-demanding. Audrey Tatou does
a much better job here, working in her native
tongue, than in some of her recent films and is
very easy to look at, especially in some of the
gorgeous designer frocks she gets to wear!
NOW ON DVD
Directed by Lisa Ades and Lesli
This well-crafted American
documentary covers 60 years of
queer cinema and television. It
consists of a series of interviews
with filmmakers, actors and writers,
combined with clips from many
well-known films such as Desert
Hearts, Paris is Burning, Go Fish,
Watermelon Woman, The Incredibly
True Story of 2 Girls in Love, Saving
Face and Brokeback Mountain.
Charting the early days of gay film,
when much was suggested but little
was openly stated, it moves to the
present, where a film like Brokeback
Mountain gained worldwide acclaim.
Through the 70s and 80s, TV
was filled with queer imagery, with
Bewitched, Superman and even
The Brady Bunch having gay
followings. The arrival of video stores
brought a major shift, as films and
documentaries became readily
available. HIV/AIDS further changed
gay cinema, as filmmakers told
stories about the devastating impact
of this disease. As significant festivals
like Sundance began to recognise
gay films, actors such as Ian
McKellen and Ellen DeGeneres came
out, and by the millennium we had
moved to a time when straight actors
were desperate to play gay roles!
Whilst there are many segments in
Fabulous involving “talking heads”,
such as lesbian producer Christine
Vachon, they do not become tedious
and the film moves at a good pace.
There have been other documentaries
tracing the history of queer cinema,
but this one is very current and at 82
minutes, just the right length.
Directed by Donald Cammell
This bizarre film featuring several intimate love scenes between Anne Heche and Joan Chen has quite a history. It
was made before Anne Heche came to prominence as Ellen DeGeneres’ girlfriend, and here, she plays a banker,
Johanna, who moonlights as a call girl. In her after-hours work she meets a criminal financier played by Christopher
Walken, and he attempts to persuade her to join him in his next illegal venture. Before this occurs, Johanna falls
for Bruno’s wife (Chen) and desires only to escape with her to Mexico!
Upon completion of Cammell’s film, his control was taken away and the film was re-cut by the production house.
The experimental material was removed and, along with other changes, the sex scenes were given added
emphasis. Reportedly, Cammell was so distressed he plunged into severe depression and shot himself several
months after Wild Side was released.
Wildside screens at the Dendy Newtown on April 18. Bookings queerscreen.com.au
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