From June 27–30, the Walker Art Center presents
Queer Takes: Standing Out
, a series showcasing daring films which feature stories of those who oppose homogeneity. While some members of the GLBT community relish the acceptance they receive from society through assimilation (marriage, children, and white picket fences), others embrace the freedom their difference gives them. With few social constructs, the queer community can also redefine traditions, relationships, and notions of what makes a family.
Queer Takes opens on Wednesday, June 27, at 7 pm, with Zero Chou’s Spider Lilies, winner of the Teddy Award for Best Feature film at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival, followed at 9 pm by Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone. On Thursday, June 28, at 7 and 9 pm, as part of the Walker’s Target Free Thursday Nights, are two free programs of shorts which show the work of gutsy emerging filmmakers and their unique stories. Queer Takes continues on Friday, June 29, at 7 pm, with Itty Bitty Titty Committee, directed by Jamie Babbit, followed by Pratiba Parmar’s Nina’s Heavenly Delights at 9 pm. The final day of the series features a new 35mm print of Jean Genet’s influential 1950 film A Song of Love (Un Chant d’amour) at 2 pm, screened with Frêdêric Moffet’s Jean Genet in Chicago, a queer rewriting of the events surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, as told from Genet’s perspective; the touching documentary For the Love of Dolly, directed by Tai Uhlmann, at 4 pm; Brooke Sebold, Benita Sills, and Todd Sills’ Slamdance sensation Red without Blue at 7 pm; and Extracted: Recent Films by William E. Jones, showcasing the director’s short works that use archival footage from queer erotic media to reclaim gay culture.
Unless otherwise noted, all films are $8 ($6 Walker members) and are presented in the Walker Cinema. Tickets are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.
QUEER TAKES: STANDING OUT
Wednesday, June 27
Spider Lilies, 7 pm
Directed by Zero Chou
Dreamy and mysterious, Zero Chou’s new film follows a tenuous relationship between two women. Tattoo artist Takeko grows intrigued when 18-year-old Jade chooses to be inked with a spider lily design, an emotionally loaded symbol for Takeko. Through a quick online search, she discovers that they shared an intensely troubling experience in the past; little does she know of the danger involved in reestablishing contact. Winner of the Teddy Award for Best Feature film at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival. 2007, Taiwan, color, 35mm, in Mandarin with English subtitles,
I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, 9 pm
Directed by Tsai Ming-liang
Filled with the director’s signature elements—decaying urban landscapes deluged with endless rain, a raging epidemic, and laconic youths motivated by sexual urges—this visually arresting film follows Chinese immigrant Hsiao-kang (Lee Kang-sheng), who is beaten unconscious in
Kuala Lampur and is lovingly cared for by a local man who develops a crush on his injured charge. While language barriers and reticence hinder communication between them, an unspoken bond is conveyed through a mixture of Malaysian pop and Cantonese opera, but emotions run deep when Hsaio-kang becomes involved with a waitress. 2006, Taiwan/France/Austria, color, 35mm, in Malay/Mandarin/Bengali with English subtitles, 115 minutes.
Thursday, June 28
These two free programs of shorts show the work of gutsy emerging filmmakers and their unique stories.
Women Unite!, 7 pm FREE
Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves
Directed by Andrea Janakas
Two young women plan to escape their stifling upstate New York town on a snowy night during the Iran hostage crisis. Winner of the Best Student Short at the Provincetown Film Festival. 2005, U.S., color, 35mm, 22 minutes.
Directed by Madeleine Olnek
The motive for the robbery of a neighborhood bodega isn’t initially clear in this hilarious short. 2005, U.S., color, video, 7 minutes.
Directed by Sheila Jordan
An unconventional hospice nurse develops a bond with her nearly comatose patient by helping her connect with a long-mourned love. 2005, U.S., color, video, 13 minutes.
Rape for Who I Am
Directed by Lovinsa Kavuma
The South African constitutional protection against bias based on sexual orientation is ignored in the townships around Johannesburg. Organizing against the violence, a group of lesbians hold a retreat dedicated to sharing and healing in this candid documentary. 2006, UK/South Africa, color, video, 26 minutes.
Odd Man Out, 9 pm FREE
Before I Was Sad
Directed by Jean-Gabriel Périot
This acerbic commentary on the assimilation of the homosexual into mainstream society makes its point using cutout animations. 2004, France, color, video, in French with English subtitles, 2 minutes.
The Saddest Boy in the World
Directed by Jamie Travis
Driven by derision from his family and classmates, Timothy Higgins plans his departure from this world on his ninth birthday. 2006, Canada, color, video, 13 minutes.
The Famous Joe Project
Directed by Eli Rarey
A young gay man aims to spread love in the world by recording his sex life with a webcam, but can’t deal with a relationship that isn’t a performance. 2007, U.S., color, video, 16 minutes.
Directed by Carter Smith
A shy loner at a small-town high school becomes bewitched by an enticing new student, leading him to test his boundaries. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. 2006, U.S., color, video, 36 minutes.
Directed by Lucky Kuswandi
Guy, a gay teenager who is misunderstood at home, runs away to a small beach town, where he tries to find his chosen family in a stream of unsatisfying tricks. 2005, Indonesia/U.S., color, video, 15 minutes.
Friday, June 29
Itty Bitty Titty Committee, 7 pm
Directed by Jamie Babbit
Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader) returns to the big screen with a saucy rollicking tale of the consciousness-raising of Anna, an apolitical insecure lesbian. When she meets Sadie, the ravishing leader of a radical political punk-feminist art group called the CIA (Clits in Action), Anna is seduced by both the woman and the movement. When the CIA’s activities are thwarted, an insider is suspected, which leads to sedition. “This is an upfront call to action that takes no prisoners and pulls no punches,” writes B. Ruby Rich. “For anyone in despair over the state of the world or the movies, this posse of revolting dykes delivers a megadose of hope.” 2007, U.S., color, video, 87 minutes.
Nina’s Heavenly Delights, 9 pm
Directed by Pratiba Parmar
When her estranged father dies, Nina Sharh returns home to Glasgow to help run the family-owned Curry House. Surprises await as she learns her father lost half his stake in the business to Lisa, the alluring daughter of the local bookie. When the restaurant is nominated for the “Best of the West” curry competition, Nina is forced to teach epicurean novice Lisa how to cook. They grow close as they work, and Nina starts to fall for Lisa. Can she score both prizes? 2006, UK, color, 35mm, 92 minutes.
Saturday, June 30
A Song of Love (Un Chant d’amour), 2 pm
Directed by Jean Genet
In this rarely seen, uncensored version (to be screened from a brand new 35mm print), the iconic French author created a tale of sexual longing between two prisoners in his only foray into film. Banned in France after its initial release, the film has developed a cult following on the underground circuit and served as an inspiration for a section of Todd Haynes’ Poison. 1950, France, BW, 35mm, in French with English intertitles, 25 minutes.
Jean Genet in Chicago
Directed by Frêdêric Moffet
On a journey where he encounters Yippies and Black Panthers, Allen Ginsberg, and the Chicago Police Department, Frêdêric Moffet addresses the frustration of aligning political and sexual desire through a queer rewriting of the events surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago—from the perspective of Jean Genet. 2006, U.S., color, video, 26 minutes.
For the Love of Dolly, 4 pm
Directed by Tai Uhlmann
Exploring the thin line between fandom and obsession, Tai Uhlmann follows five disciples of country western star Dolly Parton, whose career has teetered between master musician/songwriter and camp icon. Introduced to them at a parade celebrating the opening of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the director reveals the fans’ both dark and uplifting stories of infatuation as they struggle to get closer to their hero. Particularly touching is gay couple Patric and Harrel, who may have to move into the garage to make more room for their growing collection of Dolly memorabilia. 2006, U.S., color, video, 77 minutes.
Red without Blue, 7 pm
Directed by Brooke Sebold, Benita Sills, and Todd Sills
Raised in Missoula, Montana, twins Mark and Alex Farley came out in their early teens. A tumultuous divorce, boredom, and sexual abuse led to drug addiction and a failed suicide pact. Separated for several years during and after treatment, the pair reconnects as Mark starts art school in San Francisco and Alex begins to transition to Clair. Following them over three years, the directors capture their fragility, humor, and strength. Winner of the Audience Award for Documentary at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival. 2007, U.S., color, video, 74 minutes.
Extracted: Recent Films by William E. Jones, 9 pm
Mining queer erotic media images with an anthropologic approach, William E. Jones focuses on the richness and absurdity of noncoital footage, those written out of traditional history, and ways to use this archival footage to reclaim gay culture.
This video excised the nonsexual images from 1970s and early ’80s-era gay skin flicks with a disassociated new audio track featuring sound pulled from classic European art films. The title refers to version originale, a French term used to denote films exhibited in their original languages. Named one of the Best Undistributed Films of the Year in 2006 by IndieWIRE.com. 2006, U.S., color, video, in English/Finnish/French/German/Portuguese/Spanish with English subtitles, 59 minutes.
Film Montages (For Peter Roehr)
In homage to the work of 1960s German conceptual artist Peter Roehr, known for his fascination with repetition, Jones assembles shots appropriated from pre–AIDS vintage gay sex films played four times each 2006, U.S., color, video, 11 minutes.
More British Sounds
Rejecting Jean-Luc Godard’s statement that all one needs to make a movie are “a girl and a gun,” Jones appropriates images from the gay film The British Are Coming and pairs them to dialogue from See You at Mao—also known as British Sounds—produced by the Dziga Vertov Group under the direction of Godard. 2006, U.S., color, video, 8 minutes.