vrijdag 22 juli 2011

Les Témoins (2007)

Les Témoins (The Witnesses) is another fine artwork by French director André Téchiné that continues to examine relationships in times of stress and through areas of rough travel. As written by Téchiné, Laurent Guyot, and Viviane Zingg this film is a love story and a social commentary on life in 1984 when AIDS raised its ugly head and disrupted lives, hopes and relationships. What could have been a heavy-handed woeful tale is instead a story about ordinary people and how the spectre of the then 'new disease' affected a small group of friends. In the intimacy of the story there is an opportunity to reflect and to see more clearly the atmosphere of that time in history.

Sarah (Emmanuelle Béart) is a writer of children's books married to Mehdi (Sami Bouajila), a member of the Paris police force vice squad. They have an open marriage and have just given birth to a baby boy - a factor that disrupts their separate lives while conflicting their married life. Sarah has a physician friend Adrien (Michel Blanc, so memorable in his role in 'Monsieur Hire') who is gay, and while he is older, he still longs for the company of young men. Adrien meets the young catering student Manu (Johan Libéreau), a lad whose sexual appetite is satisfied by trysts in parks, back rooms of bars, etc. Manu and his opera singer sister Julie (Julie Depardieu) live modestly in a sleazy hotel cum brothel that is under surveillance by Mehdi. Adrien and Manu strike up a friendship and are invited to join Sarah and Mehdi to Sarah's mother's cabin by the sea and while there a relationship between Manu and Mehdi begins, one that will become an affair in secret.

A strange disease comes to public attention and it is Adrien who is in charge of the investigation of the disease now called AIDS. Though Adrien's ties with Manu have become platonic while Manu see Mehdi daily, Adrien is the first to notice lesions on Manu, lesions that are the hallmark of AIDS. How this discovery affects the lives of each of the characters we have met (the 'witnesses' to a very important time in our history) serves as the crux of the story - part tragedy and part a torch of resilience the weaves the story to a close in an honest, touching but never maudlin manner.

The acting is consistently excellent, the sort of ensemble acting that keeps the focus on the message of the film rather than on individual attention to characters. The movie is beautifully photographed by Julien Hirsch and the musical score by Philippe Sarde wisely blends excerpts from Vivaldi and Mozart with original music that recalls the 1980s. This is yet another triumph for André Téchiné - a film that deserves the widest possible audience. 

Frans drama over een groep vrienden in het Parijs van de jaren tachtig, waar ze te maken krijgen met de eerste uitbraak van de AIDS epidemie
De twintigjarige Manu woont voorlopig bij zijn zus Julie op een klein hotelkamertje in Parijs en gaat 's avonds vaak op stap. Zo leert hij de vijftigjarige homoseksuele arts Adrien en de pasgetrouwde Mehdi en Sarah (Emmanuelle Béart). Zonder het te beseffen brengt Manu heel wat teweeg in het gevoelsleven van zijn zingende zus, de extravagante dokter en het stel jonggehuwden. Bij ieder van hen maakt hij hun diepste verlangens los...
Het scenario voor het Franse drama 'Les témoins' schreef regisseur André Téchiné ('Les temps qui changent') samen met Laurent Guyot en Viviane Zingg. Begin 2007 was de film in de race voor een Gouden Beer op het Film Festival van Berlijn.

dinsdag 15 maart 2011

Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story (1997) (TV)

Starring: Mario López
Breaking the Surface is about the tough times Greg Louganis had on his way to becoming one of the world's top Olympic divers. Some topics discussed were Greg's childhood problems, his homosexuality, and him contracting the HIV virus.

donderdag 10 maart 2011



Roze Filmdagen 2011

Amsterdam Gay & Lesbian Film Festival | 10-20 maart 2011

Beste roze en niet roze filmbezoekers!

We beloofden vorig jaar om terug te komen. En we zijn er weer!
De 14de editie van de Roze Filmdagen, hét Amsterdam Gay & Lesbian Filmfestival gaat 10 maart van start. Wat in de vorige eeuw begon als een kleinschalig initiatief om gay & lesbian films te laten zien is uitgegroeid tot een sterk roze merk. We zijn ook nu weer terug om films te vertonen die nog niet of nauwelijks eerder in de Amsterdamse bioscoop te zien zijn geweest.

We zijn enorm vereerd dat burgemeester Eberhard van der Laan als eerste Amsterdamse burgemeester ons festival opent. En dat is niet voor niets.
Het gaat beter dan ooit met de Roze Filmdagen. We zijn gegroeid van een niche festival tot een groot elfdaags festival met het recordaantal van maar liefst 112 voorstellingen met films uit 32 landen. En dat doen we zonder te vergeten waar we vandaan komen.
Vorig jaar ging een diepe wens in vervulling om een aansprekende venue voor ons filmfestival te vinden. Die thuisplek hebben we gevonden bij het Ketelhuis, één van de mooiste bioscooplocaties van Amsterdam. Had het festival vorig jaar nog de OBA als bijlocatie, door de groei van het aantal bezoekers in 2010 is deze editie gekozen voor het Ketelhuis als enige hoofdlocatie. Het Westergasterrein kleurt dus 11 dagen lang exclusief roze!
Het festival staat bekend om zijn inhoudelijke aanpak. Er zijn immers genoeg mogelijkheden om ‘gewoon’ naar de film te gaan. Wij gaan een stap verder. Deze editie heeft dan ook drie inhoudelijke thema’s: 'Modern Family’, waarin het concept familie in roze films wordt uitgelicht. Een hele centrale plek is er voor ‘The South American Way’ voor bijzondere films uit Zuid-Amerika. En er is het thema ‘Tussen fictie en werkelijkheid’. In dit programma wordt een documentaire en een fictiefilm over hetzelfde onderwerp vertoond.
Daarnaast is er dit jaar veel aandacht voor roze ouderen, een zeer belangwekkend thema. We vinden het namelijk nodig dat er aandacht is voor de positie van oudere homoseksuelen. Eenzaamheid, discriminatie, onbegrip en uitsluiting spelen vaak een rol. Niet alleen door heteroseksuelen, maar ook door jongere homoseksuelen die weinig begrip hebben voor de positie van ouderen. Er is dus een bijzonder aanbod van films waarin de thematiek van ouder worden aan bod komt.
Maar natuurlijk vergeten we ook de jongeren niet, en zullen er ook dit jaar weer diverse gasten hun licht laten schijnen over films.

Geïnspireerd door het Modern Family-thema is tijdens de festivalweek in Het Ketelhuis een expositie te zien van fotograaf René Zuiderveld.
Zijn eigen website: http://www.renezuiderveld.com/

woensdag 9 maart 2011


DTD will watch and publish interesting movies.

'The Living End' is a movie directed by Gregg Araki.
It blow my mind at the time. It was the year 1992. The story, short: Luke is a gay hustler. Jon is a movie critic. Both are HIV positive. They go on a hedonistic, dangerous journey, their motto "Fuck the world". 

Since then Gregg Araki made films like: Totally F***ed Up (1993), The Doom Generation (1995), Mysterious Skin (2004) and Kaboom (2010). 
All really 'must see' movies.
More info: IMDb

The Living End (1992)
Published: April 3, 1992
BLACK humor doesn't get much darker than "The Living End," the story of two H.I.V.-positive young men who manage to turn potential tragedy into a desperate, uproarious celebration of their new-found nihilistic freedom. Doing himself a great disservice, the writer and director Gregg Araki labels his work "an irresponsible movie" when in fact it has the power of honesty and originality, as well as the weight of legitimate frustration. Miraculously, it also has a buoyant, mischievous spirit that transcends any hint of gloom.
Working on a shoestring, Mr. Araki has made a candid, freewheeling road movie that ably represents the boom of gay-oriented talent evident in this year's New Directors/New Films series at the Museum of Modern Art (where the film will be shown today at 6 P.M. and Sunday at 9 P.M.). Among the festival's several entries with gay themes, this is easily the most uncomplicatedly entertaining.
Mr. Araki has managed to make even morbidity seem intrinsically droll, from a character's remark that this is "the first day of the rest of my life" to the slogan "Choose Death" on a bumper sticker. Suddenly, in this film's funhouse universe, even the simplest of platitudes looks mad. Normal life ceases to exist for this film's two main characters as soon as they receive their bad news. And the passion that develops between them, however playful it appears, is truly a matter of life or death.
Wearing his cinematic influences on his sleeve, Mr. Araki acknowledges film makers including Jean-Luc Godard, Andy Warhol and Derek Jarman during the course of his story, and he stages that story with a mock nonchalance reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch or Gus Van Sant. Even the offhanded "Sorry" with which a doctor tells Jon (Craig Gilmore) that he has tested H.I.V.-positive is given an absurdly downbeat, casual spin.
In that context, the film's outbursts of violence seem no less bizarre than its tiny proprieties. And its crime spree is presented as an understandable response to AIDS-induced rage. Like "Thelma and Louise," which it resembles on a more modest and desperate scale, "The Living End" uses crime as a way of extricating its characters from everyday society, and not as an occasion for passing moral judgment on their behavior. Getting out is what matters, not getting even.
Soon after Jon receives his diagnosis, he encounters a handsome hustler named Luke (Mike Dytri), whose more raucous exploits have been separately detailed early in the film. In a campy but crudely executed sequence, Luke is seen stealing a car from two killer lesbians (the screen does not need any more killer lesbians at the moment) and irritably throwing away their audiotapes of K. D. Lang and Michelle Shocked. He is then seen sexually involved with a man who likes to be spanked with a tennis racquet, and who insists that Luke keep score ("15-love").
Luke even witnesses a murder, an event staged with the type of cartoonish exaggeration that Mr. Araki succeeds in making unexpectedly droll. Compared with the more conventional Jon, Luke seems a real rebel, but the two soon overcome their differences to begin a fervent love affair. When they begin having sex, Jon forces himself to acknowledge his recent diagnosis, but Luke's response is typically cool. "Welcome to the club, partner," he whispers.
Mr. Araki gets a lot of mileage out of the cultural climate from which Jon, a film critic, has emerged. "You know what they say: those that can't do, teach; and those that can't teach get 25 cents a word to rip other people's work to shreds," he explains when Luke visits his apartment, which is filled with carefully selected movie posters. It's also said that one of the film's characters is so oversensitive he suffered a lengthy depression when Echo and the Bunnymen broke up. The film easily shifts between these sorts of dry asides (many of them shared by Jon and a woman named Darcy, his close friend) and observations of a more solemn kind. "The generation before us had all the fun," says one of the film's handsome, 20-ish heroes. "And we get to pick up the tab."
The ragged humor of "The Living End" wears thinner as the characters discuss sex, death and the afterlife, and begin to come face to face with their fate. Mr. Araki, for all his playfulness, fully grasps his heroes' situation, and he does not presume to invent an easy escape. Rudely funny as it is about most things, "The Living End" doesn't trivialize AIDS in any way. What it does instead is give vibrant, angry substance to the phrase "till death do us part." The Living End Written, directed, photographed and edited by Gregg Araki; music by Cole Coonce; produced by Marcus Hu and Jon Gerrans.

Biutiful (2010)

I saw 'Biutiful' (2010) in Cinema Rialto Amsterdam, tonight.

Four words from me: Go and watch it!

Short: This is a story of a man in free fall. On the road to redemption, darkness lights his way. Connected with the afterlife, Uxbal is a tragic hero and father of two who's sensing the danger of death. He struggles with a tainted reality and a fate that works against him in order to forgive, for love, and forever.


Alejandro González Iñárritu


Javier Bardem, Maricel Álvarez and Hanaa Bouchaib