Film Festival Review: FRAMELINE46: THE COAST IS QUEER (Castro Theatre et al. in San Francisco)

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by Chuck Louden on June 27, 2022

in Film,Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area

After being “virtual” online for the past two years, The Frameline Film Festival is finally back in theaters here in San Francisco. The Castro Theater was glad to welcome both the festival and people into the 100-year-old historical landmark. The Roxie and Kabuki Theaters as well as SFMOMA were also used as venues for the overflow shows. Films can also be streamed as well — good news for out-of-towners who can’t attend live. While the live screenings occurred June 16-26, streaming continues through June 30. For more info, visit Frameline.

SOCIAL ASPECTS

June of course is Pride Month, not only in SF but around the world. Historically, the Festival has been held over the 10 days presiding over Pride Sunday (the 4th Sunday in June). For years, people in the LGBTQ+ community have planned vacations, weekends and days off well in advance to experience Pride and Frameline.

For me and many of my friends, the events have always been like going to a reunion or a party. It’s VERY social. Much of the catching up with old friends comes simply by standing in line for films. It feels like old home week. There’s no other place I’d rather be during the 10 days than Frameline. The films are almost secondary to catching up with many friends in the community. I vividly remember June 24, 2011 sitting in the Castro Theater when it was announced that New York had passed the Gay Marriage Bill into law. It was very empowering to hear this historic announcement surrounded by hundreds of people in my own community.

Many of us were anxious to see each other at the Castro, but the crowds were just not there this year. I was glad to see vax card mandates enforced, yet it appears that many people were just not ready to see films in person and/or chose to stream in comfort and safety at home in their pajamas (some selections were also offered on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other premium cable services. Post-COVID and cable channels, the days of long lines and packed theaters may be a thing of the past. Time will tell!

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

This year’s theme: The Coast is Queer, definitely signifies that Frameline is continuing to evolve, covering the full spectrum of the queer community. The variety of features, documentaries, and shorts, both local and foreign, have become even more inclusive, with many films centering around trans characters, drag themes, and an entirely new perspective from younger queers. (As an older Gay Kinsey 6 homosexual of a certain age, I’ve never identified or been comfortable with identifying as “Queer”. Yet as I try to educate myself and evolve, I’m coming to realize that “Queer” has come to mean a whole different (albeit younger) mindset and perspective in presentation, affectation and state of being in the community.

HIGHLIGHTS

This is by NO means an all inclusive list of films or documentaries listed in ANY kind of sequential order or preference:

  • The 2022 Reboot of “Queer As Folk” debuts it’s first 2 episode of the Peacock Show now streaming. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of gratuitous sex and drugs. Hot butt shots and dumb fluffy 20-something queens whose goal is to have as much sex as they can.
  • In the same vein: “Fire Island” advertised as “Queer Romance” translates to sex & drugs with vacuous twinks. Margaret Cho plays her usual den mother “faghag” role.
  • For those born after 1990: “Keep The Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Story” is a moving documentary on the infamous 1994 MTV Real World. He made HIV & AIDS real for America just by living his life and sharing his journey with HIV.
  • “Sirens” is a great documentary about Lebanon’s first all woman thrash metal band, set against the backdrop of the 2020 Beirut port explosion.
  • Demi Moore is featured in “Please Baby Please” exploring the sexual awakening of young couple following a run in with a greaser gang of misfit queers.
  • In “A Conversation with Michael Urie”, I got to meet the delightful, out, and fun actor from “Ugly Betty” & “Younger” (photo above). And just last year, he also was the lead in “Single All the Way”, the first TV Christmas movie to feature a gay couple.

Of course we all enjoy the usual Frameline standard movie(s) with the loner foreign studs finding each other and having torrid man on man sex. The criteria is that they’re hunky and emotionally repressed. Often set in different times when their love was forbidden, the basic plot is: can they find love? “Lonesome” involves hunky Australians; “In From the Side” is about hot guys on a gay rugby team set in modern day London; “Bambi: A French Woman” explores the life of Marie-Pierre, one of the first transgender women in France who talks about the underground life of trans-feminine life in in the 1950s & 60s.

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