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BIAF 2000, "OUT OF THE CLOSET" (Friday, 7th April, 9pm, Dendy) – review by Sy Scholfield
My favourite closeted cartoon characters for an outing might be those cool crows, Heckle and Jeckle. They weren't on the programme or missed much, because this international animation version of The Celluloid Closet, presented by Queensland Pride, had some rare surprises and plenty of laughs...
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (Norway, 1999, 0:30) Quinsten Animation
Disney Dykes. Quintessentially-queer subversion of standard hetero-centric fairytale with Snow White as "the kissed".
CAPTAIN PECKER (Australia, 1999) – Brainwash Films
One long minute of sheer pleasure. Promo for Free FM/Sydney Gay & Lesbian Broadcasters, Inc, in which close-up penis opens its 'mouth' and -- wait for it -- breaks into kareoke. CP was recently telecast on The Panel. So, when post-unbanning-of-Romance do we get to see this cute penis in in-house cinema advertising?
THE AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO/ HETE-ROY (USA, 3 x 2:30 mins) (d/a) J.J. Sedelmaier
In the AGD episodes, "A Hard Act To Swallow" and "Safety Tips," superheroes Ace and Gary instruct some suburban lads on how to do everything from bike-riding rules to home redecoration, and call on their phallic crystals for empowerment. In HETEROY, another clever satire, a trio of fundamentalists attempt to convert gay men – especially cyclists – to heterosexuality, "wherever there's spokes, there's sodomy!" Hysterical!
KOKO THE KONVICT, (USA, 1926),
DIZZY RED RIDING HOOD (USA, 1931),
BETTY BOOP FOR PRESIDENT (USA, 1932)
BETTY BOOP'S PENTHOUSE (USA, 1933)
Betty Boop for President? I wish! In his blurb, William Moritz, curator of these four Dave Fleischer cartoons, notes how these films exemplify "some very funny 'gay' jokes" from the period. The short clips shown from these toons and dispersed through the programme include the 'gay' characters of a butch/femme prison couple, an anthropomorphised pansy flower, a prisoner in the electric chair, and a perfume-inspired dancing Frankenstein. The Production Code of 1934 officially ended such casual representations of homosexuality in American film. This was a rare showing and a special treat.
PINK TRIANGLE (USA, 1989, 6 mins) (d/a) Robert Doucette
Painterly Expressionist-style reflection on the ending of the flourishing queer scene in Weimar Germany due to the rise of the Nazis. The emotional journey of a Deitrich-like figure who becomes romantically involved against all odds…
FERDINAND THE BULL (USA, 1938) (8 mins) (d) Dick Rickard
Pre-Fantasia Disney-produced technicolour masterpiece about the flower-obsessed pacifist bovine who gets dragged into the matador's ring after sitting on a bumblebee…
NEGATIVE MAN/GIVE AIDS THE FREEZE (Germany, 4 mins) (d) Cathy Joritz
Irreverent and amusing reappropriation of old 1950s b/w films in which Joritz has scratched devils and safe sex messages over the original images of deadpan preaching psychologists.
ACHILLES (England, 11 mins) (d/a) Barry Purves
Exploration of the tragic love affair between Achilles and Patroclus, with the erotic interactions between the claylike musculature and eyes of the men brought to life through exquisite stop-motion puppetry.
BLACK BURLESQUE (Poland, 1997, 7 mins) (d/a) Thomasz Kozak
Puzzling and disturbing "science-fiction parody of violence and totalitarianism." In black-on-white drawings, stereotypical anti-Semitic and Nazi figures perform machine-like sex acts.
DIRTY BABY DOES FIRE ISLAND (USA, 1998, 5mins) (d/a/w) Todd Downing
Voyeuristic, low budget, anti-politically correct flick that inter-disperses ground-level stop-motion shots of a naked, oh-so-blonde, washed-up, drug-taking toy female doll with live action clips of real gay men doing drugs and pumping iron (and each other).
WHAT'S OPERA, DOC? (USA, 1957, 7 mins) (d) Chuck Jones, (a) Ken Harris, Abe Lovitov, Richard Thompson)
In the ultra-homophobic era of McCarthy and Hoover, queerness sometimes strangely manifested in cartoons like this camp Classic. In vivid colours and angular silhouettes, Elmur Fudd plays Siegfried to Bugs Bunny's outrageously queeny Brunhilda in a comic romp that from the outset has us wondering if Fudd will kiss or kill the Wabbitt. I don't know if it's anti-, pro-, or post-Queer, but I loved it!
BIAF 2000 "INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION" (Friday 7th April, 7pm, Dendy) – review by Sy Scholfield
MIND'S EYE (Australia, 1998, 5 mins) (d/a/w) Gregory Godhard
1200 serial photographs form a tunnel view up cemetery paths, tree-lined lanes, over inverted bridges, around a fountain...
COUSIN (Australia, 1998, 4:40 mins) (d/a/w) Adam Benjamin Elliot
The narrator takes us back to his childhood when he played with his cousin--a be-spectacled boy born with cerebal palsy . His cousin gets called "spazo," etc, by the local bullies, but holds his own against them and life's other tribulations if only through a penchant for the simple pleasures of cake-making. Elliot has crafted some funny and poignant characterisations out of difficult subject matter.
LIKE DROWNING (Australia, 1998, 10 mins) (d/a/w) Cath Murphy
Elemental diptych. Billy's brother dies in the ocean, leaving him to deal with a hydrophobic mother. Using soft clay tablet animation, Murphy's mesmerising narrative of loss melds simple actions involving earth, air, fire and water through alternating sunlit sand and moonlight blue hues.
THE THREE MISSES (Holland, 1998, 10:30 mins) (d/a/w) Paul Driessen
My favourite. Engaging fractured fairytale characters and plots run amok through a Seuss-like storybook landscape, with three damsels in distress demanding rescue…
JAZZIMATION (Holland, 1999, 4:40 mins) (d/a) Oerd van Cuijlenborg
Figureless instrumentation. Computer-generated simple Op Art-like colours, lines, and squiggles dance to a lively jazz score (by Jeroen van Vliet) making for a synesthetic fusion of spine-tingling magic.
GILBERT AND SULLIVAN: THE VERY MODELS (Eng, 1998, 16 mins) (d/a/w) Barry J C Purves
An over-long parody with the figures of G&S joined by one camp, 'Doily Carte,' for a series of acts staged around his brass bed. Purves puppeteering is perfectly compelling, but even the cross-dressing scenes in the HMS Pinafore, Mikado, and Iolanthe numbers didn't stop the audience from expressing their frustration with the high operatic tones of the piece. For G&S fans.
SHSHSH – A TV UNTOONED (Portugal, 1999, 3:04 mins) (d/a) Maria Jorge da Silva Neves
An anthropomorphised t.v. set looks down to find a curvy female on his screen. His attempts to adjust the picture quality provide eye-popping plasticine fun.
LEUNIG: DOOM & GLOOM (Australia, 1999, 1 min) (d/a) Andrew Horne
Horne's puppets faithfully mimic Leunig's lackadaisical characters and bleak scapes but leave me wondering why.
LOCAL DIVE (Australia, 1999, 4:37 mins) (d/a/w) Sarah Watt
Liquid sizzler. An unpopular girl and her female nemesis seek escape in different ways from the harsh sun and boys that dominate a public swimming pool in a landlocked country town. Watt renders thoughtful physical and emotional perspectives through a tight visual narrative. Beautiful scenes when the 'nobody' girl swims underwater and dream-morphs into sea creatures among inky-watery blots of bright coral.
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF LOVE (Estonia, 1999) (d/a) Janno Poldma
Euro village idiots. Fat parents tolerate aggressive antics of obnoxious obese child in a fantastic neo-Victorian world where interplanetary tele-communications and besuited cockatoos with briefcases are the norm. Nevertheless, a charming tale in too-brown settings that's seriously weird!
LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON (Germany, 1999, 9 mins) (d/a/w) Bert Gottschalk
Tender violence. A pair of gun-slinging wannabe-cowboy car hoons take shots at each other under the watchful eyes of a smoke-toking vulture. In his black-on-white line drawings, Gottschalk cross-hatches some awesome moments of slow-motion bullet-dodging and a symbolic scene between a butterfly and a pistol.
HAIRYMAN (USA, 1998, 3 mins) (d/a/w) Steve Subotnick
A hirsute bogeyman-like figure hides in a forest. Tense psychodrama rendered in charcoal drawings on paper.
LUZ (USA, 1999, 8 mins) (d/a/w) Jose Javier Martinez
Digital Noir. Lucy, a pretty, goggle-eyed, bulbous-nosed girl with horizontal pigtails (imagine a freaked-out Penny Robinson from Lost In Space in computer graphics), ignores her mother's beckoning voice and wanders the barely-lit abandoned city streets till she reaches a theatre where she again hears her mother's name...
FILMNET DAILY 3.065 Monday April 10 2000
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(C) 1998-2000 Gawain McLachlan
2000 © Simon Astley Scholfield