Cinema Spotlights for August 18 to 21
Major! Thursday August 18
Miss Major then, an inspiring, formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder, former sex worker, community leader, human rights activist, and veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion—exactly the kind of person who merits a carefully crafted, inclusive biopic all her own.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, now 73 years old, takes us on a highly enjoyable guided tour through her 40-year fight for the rights of trans* women of colour. Infused with Miss Major’s trademark wit and larger-than-life personality, Major! tackles in its subject’s signature way the injustices of incarceration, the discriminatory legal economies in prison systems, the need for self-determination, and the incredible possibilities of personal/political kinship.
Skype Q&A with Miss Major and director Annalise Ophelian to follow
Spa Night, Friday August 19
Spa Night is Andrew Ahn’s second film to premiere at Sundance Film Festival (after Dol) to great reception. Inspired by Ahn’s own personal experiences, this nuanced family drama brings the struggle of the American Dream to the forefront. David (played by Joe Seo), the only son of a Korean-American family, struggles with his identity, torn between what his parents want him to do and his own curiosities. While watching his parents wrestle to make ends meet, David takes a job at a Korean spa. The spa is a character of its own, where David learns that the place where he scrubs his father’s back is also a popular location for men to engage in sex. This dreamy, poignant family drama delivers much more than stunning images of LA and the ambiance of the spa. As Variety describes, “Spa Night serves as an homage to the sacrifices first-generation immigrants made … expanding the concept of ‘pride’ far beyond its protagonist’s gay identity.”
Paris 05:59: Théo et Hugo, Saturday August 20
The 2009 winners of the Prix Jean Vigo, Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau (Jeanne and the Perfect Guy) create what Variety has called their “boldest and best movie so far”. Winner of the Audience Award at the Berlinale’s 2016 Teddy Awards, Paris 05:59: Théo et Hugo is a contemporary love story. We third-wheel Théo and Hugo all over the City of Love, from their steamy start in a writhing Parisian sex club, through the gorgeously deserted streets of Paris on bicycles, by metro, along a canal, into the sterility of hospitals, and, of course, at the local kebab shop. Without being salacious, this intensely romantic and erotic film follows the two lovers as they grapple with the collision of fantasy and reality. The street corners of Paris at night are ever-sensuous as the two charismatic actors communicate as much through their eyes and bodies as through words in their exploration of le coup de foudre (love at first sight).
Kiki, Sunday August 21st
Welcome to the wonderland of the Kiki scene, where everyone is unique and “everything is in transition”. Kiki is a project by director Sara Jordenö and writer Twiggy Pucci Garçon, providing a glimpse into New York’s newest generation of Black LGBTQ+ youth in all their fabulous and ferocious, game-changing glory. Part homage to Paris is Burning, Kiki is the reminder that the ball scene was not a phenomenon, but the bustling source of a trans* and queer celebration of bodies and identities, and one that continues in its own explosive full force.