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Armistead Maupin’s hug ely successf ul series of novels,
Tales of the City were first immortalised in celluloid
in the 1990s. Maupin’s first novel in the Ta l e s series,
focused on the life and times of a naive young
secretar y Mar yAnn Singleton (Linne y) who moves
to San Francisco and discovers a whole new world.
The mini series is a time capsule of life in San
Fran’s heyday. The time is 1976, and the city is
awash with queer folk, living and loving ... Linney
as Mar yAnn - a Cleveland gal who finds a whole
lot more than she bargained for when she moves
into the city of freelove - is simply superb; as is Billy
Campbell and the unflappable Olympia Dukakis
as the series matriarch Anna Madrigal.
The series earned several Peabody Awards
and was praised for its unflappable look at sex,
drugs and homosexua lity. The dialog ue is whip
crackingly fast, the characters well drawn, the
acting divided bet ween the understated and over
the top (depending on the role). Whether you are
gay or straight, there is something that will appeal
in Maupin’s tales and certainly you will want to add
Tales of the City to your collection.
Quebe cois filmmaker, Xavier Dolan gets a
showing at the Australian Centre for Moving
Imag e this month when they present a double bill
of the young filmmaker ’s movies (Heartbeat and
I Killed My Mother) as part of their Long Play
season. Both films should be of interest to LGBT
folk for their Que er sensibilities.
Dolan writes, directs and stars in both films
and I Killed My Mother earned the 21 year old the
honour of a standing ovation when it screened at
Cannes Film Festival in 2009.
Heartbeats, D olan’s sophomore effort, is billed as
a tragicomedy. Set in a world of parties and casual
sex , the film follows the stor y of the inseparable
friends Francis (Xavier Dolan) and Marie (Monia
Chokri), who unfortunately both fall for the
new boy in town, Nicholas (Niels Schneider). As
Francis and Marie compete for Nicolas’ affections,
their infatuation becomes al l consuming and their
friendship begins to disintegrate.
Dolan penned the screenplay for I Killed My
Mother at the ag e of 17 nonetheless, the film resonates
with a maturity and intensity beyond his years. A
brutally honest account of familial life, I Killed My
Mother examines the relationship between sixteen
year old gay teen Hubert and his single mother
Chantale (Anne Dor va l). Huber t feels his life with
his mother is unbearable and the pair are constantly
feuding ; their fighting escalating to battlefield
proportions. Hubert hates his mother with such
intensity he even tells his teacher she is dead (Truffaut
The film has plenty of comical moments and
Dolan proves and accomplished actor – and there
is no doubt he brings a fero cious energ y to the film.
Still it is a little une ven and there are faults from
the first time director (some seemingly deliberate)
but you need only watch Heartbeats to see the
inprovements. This is a young artist to watch...
Fa n is a coming of age story about the appeal of
a feminist character in a TV drama to a young
lesbian and the excitement of meeting your idol.
Dutch filmmaker Nienke Eijsink is on a quest
to find her childhood idol and first love: Doctor
Chris R andall from The Flying Doctors. In the
early 90s, Nienke’s teenage life revolved around
the Australian TV series and her admiration
for Doctor Chris, played by actress Liz Burch,
who must prove herself as a female do ctor in the
male-dominated world of the Australian outback .
Indeed, it was through her fantasies about Doctor
Chris, that Nienke discovered her lesbian leaning s.
Now a budding filmmaker, she has found her
mission: to pluck Liz Burch from obscurity and
give her the starring role in her debut film! Nienke
flies to Australia and, after an exhaustive search,
arrives at Liz Burch’s door.
With animation, blue-screen, archive material
and clever editing between Flying Doctor episodes
and real life, the film pushes the boundaries of
rea lity and fiction, creating a fascinating self-
portrait full of self-deprecating humor.
Brisbane Queer Film Fest
Director: Nienke Eijsink
Staring: Nienke Eijsink
HeartBeats/I Killed My Mother
Director: Xavier Dolan
Staring: Xavier Dolan, Anna Dorval
Tales of the City
Director: Alistair Reid
Staring: Olympia Dukakis, Laura Linney, Bill Campbell
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