The new and improved film fest -- renamed Q- Fest -- has arrived in Philadelphia and is ready to take cinema hostage once again with all its daring, vibrant and edgy material. Q-Fest is one of the largest of its kind on the East Coast. This year it runs from July 9 until July 20 and will feature some of the best films to date.
Choosing to open the festival on a subtle note, “Hollywood Je’ Taime” is surprisingly mature fare. The very quirky drama centers on a middle-aged Frenchman who takes a vacation to Los Angeles during the Christmas holiday only to discover he wants to stay and be discovered as an actor.
The film opens in drab black and white, as we are introduced to the main character Jerome (Eric Debets -- who looks a lot like Adrian Brody). Using black and white is indicative of Jerome’s rather drab life in Paris, but upon landing in LA, the film bursts into color. There, while pursuing acting, he shacks up with an aging drag queen and a transsexual with whom he forms a close bond.
The movie smartly uses the fish out of water premise as a window for us to see the city of broken dreams from a new, less appealing point of view. This includes, but isn’t limited to, the daunting language barrier, the downside of public transportation, the cost of living and of course the harsh reality that most people traveling to LA to be discovered as actors end up waiting tables.
“Hollywood Je' Taime” is a quiet film that works better as a drama than a comedy. Sometimes Jerome’s pratfalls are milked for laughs, but the more interesting part of the film is the commentary. Also interesting are the characters. All are multi-dimensional (and heartbreaking).
Kudos for choosing to open the festival with a film that tells a story rather than one that fills with screen with pointless nudity.
Thursday, July 9 at 7 p.m., $15 at Prince Music Theater
“Drool” is a twisted little film that mixes murder, racism, domestic abuse and forbidden lesbianism into one nerve-wracking comedic package.
The film follows the story of Anora, a woman who is cruelly abused by an alcoholic husband. Though Anora is a natural beauty, she has been suffocated and silenced by a life of imprisonment. When a vibrant and colorful woman named Imogene moves next door to the family, the two form a powerful bond that takes them to some unexpected places.
Soon into the film, Anora’s unhinged husband loses his job and stumbles home in a drunken rampage finding the two women in a very compromising position. Thus an intense battle ensues and Anora snaps and shoots him to death.
Enter the very bizarre section of the film in which the entire family and Imogene make a getaway to the deep South with the decaying body in the trunk.
“Drool” is essentially an awkward blend of horror, comedy and coming of age drama. This film has an incredibly hard time balancing a tone or connecting to the viewer. Ultimately, “Drool” wants us to care about an abused family -- even though it opts for dark humor regarding the situation. Still, the plot is edgy, the locales are beautiful and the film can be quite intense at points.
Sunday, July 12 at 12 p.m. at Ritz East 1
Friday, July 10 at 7 p.m. at Ritz East 2
Déjà vu takes on a whole new meaning in the romantic comedy “Then Came Lola.” Filled with wall-to-wall pop music as well as vibrant performances, “Lola” is a lesbian romp done right.
The plot essentially resembles that of the hit film “Run, Lola, Run.” Lola, a forgetful and aloof individual has had some very tough times with relationships in the past. Often accused of “checking out” emotionally, she certainly can’t keep a woman to save her life. When a new love interest, Casey (Jill Bennett), asks Lola to rush photographs for a very important client, the pressure’s on as to whether Lola will pull through.
Things get tricky when the film reveals the central plot structure as a dream sequence Lola must relive over and over. She wakes up and gets the same call from Casey asking her to rush photos for a client. Then along the way, everything but the kitchen sink gets thrown at her. Dog attacks, car troubles, ex-drama, crazy tourists, etc. On the first attempt, she fails miserably and loses her girlfriend to another woman. However, fate is determined to give Lola chance after chance until she learns how to get it right.
“And Then Came Lola” is fast paced, energetic and fun. The plot is hardly original, but the whole thing is pulled off in a fresh, sharp manner. Ashleigh Sumner is charming as Lola -- she literally flails across the screen, running and panting up and down the hills of San Francisco -- exuding a knack for physical comedy.
“And Then Came Lola” is highly recommended
Saturday, July 11 at 7:15 p.m. at Prince Music Theater
Sunday, July 12 at 4:15 p.m. at Ritz East 1
Also Check Out:
“Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” and “Grease” will be shown during special outside screenings at the Jamaican Jerk Hut on Wednesday, July 13 at 9 p.m.. You can be sure there will be singing, dancing and maybe even some gaudy costumes in the crowd. So grab your best boa and shimmy on down.
Also check out the Gay Icon Award presentation on July 19 at Prince Music Theater at 4:45 p.m. The award will be given to Sharon Gless, who is best known for her extraordinary work in the popular and groundbreaking series “Queer as Folk.” A screening, for Gless’ “Hannah Free,” will follow the presentation.
For more information of movie times and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.qfest.com/