By Morgan Cairns
CALGARY – When you’ve spent the last 20 years as a pillar in the arts community, the expectation to deliver new and exciting programming can be daunting. Fairy Tales Film Festival, however, seems to do this with ease, and has curated the best of the best in queer cinema for their week long festival in May. Here are some of BeatRoute’s picks for what we think are your best bets for this year’s fest. Congrats on 20 years, Fairy Tales!
Based on the book of the same name, Disobedience stars your two favourite Rachels (Weisz and McAdams) as Ronit and Esti, two women who rekindle their teenage romance when Ronit (Weisz) returns home to their Orthodox Jewish community. A heavy drama that touches on religion, desire, and sexuality (and the repression of all three), Disobedience has earned critical acclaim for Weisz’s and McAdam’s performances, as well as it’s subversion of the ever present male-gaze in the film’s lustful (and much talked about) sex scene.
A Moment in the Reeds
Nothing is more tender and nostalgic than a sweet summer romance, and this Finnish drama is no exception. Leevi, a university student in Paris who returns home to Finland over the summer break to help renovate his estranged families lakehouse, and Tareq, an architect who has fled his native Syria and has been hired by Leevi’s father to help with the renovation, kindle a romance during their shared summer. With Leevi anxious to leave Finland behind and start a life in France, and Tareq still adjusting to his new life in Finland, both men find struggle with the concept of “home” and what it means to find acceptance.
Woman on Fire
One half of May 27’s Gender Warrior double feature, Woman on Fire is the story of Brooke Guinan, the first openly transgender firefighter in New York City. Following Brooke through her transition, this inspiring doc not only touches on Brooke’s career as a third generation FDNY firefighter, but also on her life outside the firehouse, and how the two intertwine. Named “New York’s Bravest” by the Village Voice, Brooke faces the challenges of being a woman in a typically male profession, while simultaneously trying to build a life with her boyfriend, Jim, who has yet to tell his mother that Brooke is a transwoman. Challenging the traditions of the American workplace and family, Woman on Fire is the uplifting story of a true badass babe that you won’t want to miss.
Rebels on Pointe
Like a dream come true, Rebels on Pointe is the documentary story of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo-an all male drag ballet troupe. Gaining a cult following in their 40+ years as a company, Les Ballets Trockadero mixes camp and high art in a way that makes for delightful documentary subject matter. Following both the troupe as a whole and the individual dancers, this playful doc took four years to film, and is worth every second.
Zaynab is a thirty-something Pakistani lawyer who spends her days taking care of her TV obsessed mother, and her nights training in Lucha wrestling. Having yet to come out to her mother, Zaynab seems content to keep her two worlds separate from her mother; that is, until she meets Alba. While free-spirited Alba is at first hesitant to form a relationship with the closeted Zaynab, their relationship blossoms and they find they both have something to learn from each other. While the struggling romance may be at the centre of this film, Zaynab’s mother, watching Pakistnai soap operas and peering through her apartment window with binoculars trying to find her daughter a husband, is the comic relief that really steals the show.
Go to www.calgaryqueerartssociety.com for the full lineup and schedule.A Moment in the Reeds, BeatRoute Picks, Disobedience, Fairy Tales Film Festival, Rebels on Pointe, Signature Move, Woman on Fire