Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
As the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival gets into full swing, event director Joe Lam takes James Bien through his must-see flicks
A celebration of gay cinema is in order! And that’s just what the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival aims to do this year – elebrate in style. Throughout September, an eclectic range of pink movies are being shown at venues across the city – and movie buffs are invited to the party, which features some of the top A-list productions that have been presented over the fest’s 24-year history. “In the past five years, the film quality has improved a lot,” says Joe Lam, director of HKLGFF, “so now we can thankfully show some high quality movies.”
This year’s festival also sees a departure from themes that were used in the past. Instead, the 2013 HKLGFF categorises its films into five sections: Asia, Youth, Panorama, Bi-the Way and Les Porn. “As an LGBT organisation,” says Lam, “we really want to reflect all kinds of sexuality – and not limit ourselves to what is popular.” As part of the Les Porn festivities, renowned lesbian porn director, Marit Östberg, is attending the screening of three of her films – Sisterhood, Shared and Authority – to discuss the flicks. “This year, we have continued to push for some Asian directors as well, since we are an Asian film festival,” says Lam.
Ahead of this year’s fest beginning on September 18, Lam picks some of his highlights for the fest...
As a biography of the world’s first gay pop culture icon, Behind the Candelabra tells the story of Liberace’s last 10 years of life. While his name carries a huge legacy behind it, the film is impressive in its own right. The HBO TV movie received great accolades from critics and fans of the silver screen, ending director Steven Soderbergh’s career on a high note. This is his final feature film. Furthermore, the film employs powerhouse actors Michael Douglas and Matt Damon to play the dynamic roles of Liberace and his young driver, Scott Thorson.
Wed Sep 18, 7.30pm, AMC Festival Walk.
It was no surprise when Stacie Passon’s directorial debut won the prestigious Special Jury Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Critics raved about Concussion for its stunning shots, stellar performances and original screenplay. Certainly, Passon’s hauntingly beautiful story about a complacent wife who rediscovers her sexuality is one that many can relate to, regardless of sexual orientation.
Wed Sep 18, 7.50pm, AMC Festival Walk.
Oscar-nominated actor James Franco surprised everyone when he premiered his film, Interior. Leather Bar at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. This chilling story, which blends the documentary and fiction genres, follows Franco and fellow filmmaker Travis Mathews as they set out to recreate some of the 40-minute gay BDSM footage that was cut from the controversial 1980 film, Cruising.
Sep 19, 9.50pm; Sat Sep 21, 9.45pm, Palace ifc.
Let’s face it: there aren’t many lesbian films out there, let alone award-winning ones. But Blue is the Warmest Colour proved to be something of a highlight at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where its debut captivated audiences and critics alike, and became the first lesbian film to earn the coveted Palme d’Or. The French drama, adapted from Julie Maroh’s award-winning graphic novel, examines two young lesbians’ first experiences with homosexuality and homophobia.
Sat Oct 5, 6.30pm, AMC Festival Walk.
Stranger by the Lake is another French movie that received high accolades at Cannes. Explicit sex and violence characterise this thriller, which tells the story of 40-year-old Franck, who spends his summer by a secluded lake, where he befriends a man and falls in love with another. After someone is murdered in the area, his lover’s violent and dangerous behaviour becomes apparent and the truth unravels.
Sat Oct 5, 9.45pm, AMC Festival Walk.
Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival Sep 18-Oct 5, various venues. For full programme and ticketing details, visit hklgff.hk.