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Reviews: Three of the Best from Out Takes 2007

Wed 2 May 2007 In: Movies View at Wayback View at NDHA

Three previews of the OutTakes 2007 Queer Film Festival have convinced me that there are probably lots more treasures in this year's offerings. Here are my ‘takes' on three of the OutTakes: SURVEILLANCE Directed by Paul Ormeland UK, 2007, 86 minutes On the surface this is a gay thriller with images mainly generated by surveillance cameras (or so the opening credits tell us); sounds a bit heavy and portentious, and in some ways this is indeed a heavy film. Adam (Tom Harper) loves London, he's riding high on his successful teaching career, he hits the saunas, the bars and clubs, and life us good until he has a one-nighter with Jake (Sean Brendan Brosdan). Their night isn't sexually successful and Adam parts from Jake not expecting to see him again, but fate takes a hand and he mistakenly takes the wrong cellphone – trying to return it throws him into a conflict brewing among the high and mighty British establishment and MI5, so you see he's in at the deep end. Ex-pat New Zealander Ormeland pushes the limit in this film, expecting a lot of the viewer. It's clever and fast, technical wizardry piling on the images, some beautiful, some dark and brooding. An extended cameo appearance by Simon Callow, excellent performances from the rest of the cast and lots of glimpses into London gay life make it entertaining as well as mystifying, but I found it hard to follow, perplexing and confusing at times (the flash-backs-and-forwards are a bit overdone, I think) and in the end I was left wondering just what had actually happened. 20 CENTIMETROS Directed by Ramón Salazar Spain, 2006, 112 mins (Spanish with English subtitles) Marieta, a pre-op tranny prostitute in modern-day Madrid, has an eponymous attribute that enthrals some of her clients but of which she longs to rid herself – her last twenty centimetres of maleness. This is a very funny and entertaining film, complete with fantasy musical numbers consisting of dreams Marieta has when she succumbs (frequently) to the narcolepsy that sees her fall asleep sometimes in mid-conversation or on the job. Combine that with her relationship with a sad dwarf, Tomás, played by Miguel O'Dogherty, who takes money from her to fund a ticket scalping exercise, promising there will be enough to provide her with the funds to exorcise what most guys would die for, but then spends it on ‘cello lessons, and you can see what a delightfully improbably film this is. Director Ramón Salazar, aided by his brilliant protagonista Mónica Cervera, has given us a comic masterpiece but never allowed the comedy or the spectacular images he's produced to overwhelm the passion for change and longing for love that Marieta feels. We never feel sad for her, but we indentify with her very human quest for fulfilment and her longing for love. Don't miss this one. KEILLERS PARK Directed by Susanna Edwards 2006, 87 minutes Swedish with English Subtitles A gay murder mystery, based on fact, “Keillers Park” rather resembles a Greek tragedy, in that it is the story of a powerful man brought down by his flaw. It is a tale of repression and redemption from repression but the redemption goes horribly wrong when the redeemer, the beautiful and sexy Algerian Nassim (Pjotr Giro), is murdered. Peter (Martin Klingberg), a very successful Gothenburg businessman, is well on the way to marrying his Maria when he has a chance encounter on a train with the aforesaid Nassim, for whom he abandons life, career prospects and family. Nassim's murder throws him under suspicion and the attendant publicity of course ruins Peter's life, but director Edwards wants us to focus on the important matters of love and truth. Peter's misfortune doesn't dim the passion he felt for Nassim, nor does the rejection he suffers dim his quest to find the murderers. A wonderful cast, a sympathetic director, some terrific sex scenes, and a rare glimpse of the sleazy side of Swedish life (including some very American-inspired police investigators) make this an interesting film. Both the central characters are hunks, even the murderers are attractive. Makes you want to live in Sweden. Check out the complete schedule of Out Takes films on their website, linked below. Larry Jenkins - 2nd May 2007    

Credit: Larry Jenkins

First published: Wednesday, 2nd May 2007 - 12:00pm

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