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Miami Pink: Gay and Lesbian Films At The Miami Film Festival


Friday, March 7--------One of the best features of the Miami International Film Festival is its embrace of the diverse communities that make up this uniquely international city. While most associate Miami with the Latin American communities that have taken root here during the past half century, the fact is that Miami is home to one of the largest gay and lesbian communities in the world. Gay life is part of the texture of the city and this year’s Miami International Film Festival is presenting several films of special interest to this unique community. The gay and lesbian community is, by and large, a community of film buffs with an avid interest in all kinds of cinema. But films that have gay content or that less definable “gay sensibility” are of particular interest and reach out to this community’s individual sense of style and perspective. The Festival is presenting several films from around the world that appeal to the unique sensibilities and sensitivities of Miami’s gay and lesbian crowd.


At the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts this evening, the film XXY by Argentine director Lucia Puenzo will be presented as a Gusman Gala, in collaboration with the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (which is celebrating its 10th anniversary from April 25 to May 4, 2008). In this poignant debut feature, a teenage hermaphrodite struggles to decide whether to be a boy or a girl. The film was nominated for eight Argentine Oscars and has won major prizes at the Cannes, Athens, Bangkok and Sao Paulo film festivals.


LOKAS, by Chilean director Gonzalo Justiniano, is that rare film genre…a gay family comedy. In this beautifully acted film, a nine-year-old boy leaves Mexico with his father to live with his grandfather and his, surprise, grandfather’s male lover in Chile. Funny yet humanistic, the film conveys the homophobic son’s struggle to exist with a father he barely knows and the grandson’s efforts to bring father and son together. The film has its World Premiere screening this evening at the Colony Theater.


In the Ibero-American Drama Competition, one film has special resonance with the gay and lesbian community. ENCARNACION, by Argentine director Anahi Berneri, is the story of an aging starlet who triumphs over her family's conservative opinions. The film flirts with camp as it also tackles issues of self and family acceptance. It also features an outstanding performance by diva Silvia Perez as a Marilyn Monroe-like figure. In the World Cinema Documentary Competition, the film ESTRELLAS (STARS), by Argentine directors Federico Leon and Marcos Martinez, tells the story of an impoverished Buenos Aires neighborhood that includes several drag queens among its most interesting residents.


In the International Panorama section, several titles will undoubtedly have a strong gay and lesbian following. In the French erotic thriller BOARDING GATE, steamy sex symbol Asia Argento struts her stuff with great aplomb in a story about drug-running and multi-million dollar business deals, directed by French “bad boy” Olivier Assayas. FOUR WOMEN, by Indian director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, is the story of four courageous women who challenge rigid village mores and societal roles assigned to them in 1940s India.


Gay Spanish director Ventura Pons has been a staple on the international gay and lesbian film festival circuit. In his newest film, BARCELONA (A MAP), the Catalonian director has created an urban symphony that artfully captures the emotional dissonance of six Barcelonians living together in a faded apartment building. Tales of incest, adultery and homosexual liaisons make up the human strands of behavior uncovered in this intriguing film from one of Spain’s most iconoclastic directors.

The Festival rolls out the red carpet for the members of the gay and lesbian contingent and reinforces their valued position as key members of the Miami community.

Sandy Mandelberger, Miami FF Dailies Editor

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Mandelberger Sandy

March 6-15, 2009

United States

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