kaos at the 27th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival


Always/Never was a perfectly solid set of shorts - no weak links - but there was a certain of sameness about them.

All the films were European (one was a very pale Brazil), and featured a pretty (one might say Bel Ami-esque) young boy about to, or in the process of, coming out. One wonders if this was deliberate; if it was wasn't, it's a shame we couldn't have had coming out stories (the theme for this anthology) from around the world. But who knows what goes on in the minds of the LLGFF programmers...

It's the story that never gets old, nor loses it power, regardless of how old you get, and when it's done well, it can be seismic. None of the films in the Always/Never strand have quite that impact, but they all had something to recommend them. Eicke Bettinga's Gasp (Germany) was certainly unusual (please don't play with plastic bags) and Nathan Cirino's Lament (Brazil) successfully throws the audience off the scent, and delivered a heartbreaking twist (oh, unrequited love...)

Kiss Me Softly
Elsewhere, Daniel (Netherlands) was a sweet, wordless, sunny delight, and Anthony Schatteman's Kiss Me Softly (Belgium) a big "f**k you" to conforming. Atoms (Belgium, again) is an agonising ode to restraint in the face of intolerable temptation.

Straight With You
Most successful of all, however, is Straight With You (Netherlands), a quietly unassuming little film about an 11-year-old sissy boy named Melvin. A documentary, it follows Melvin, his supportive family, and a few friends at a crucial stage in his life. It's lovely.

A strong collection, shorts once again proving that less really is more.

Tomorrow I'm seeing Going South + Suddenly, Last Summer.
Check back for my review on Monday!


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