The 2015 DOXA Documentary Film Festival gets underway this week bringing audiences some of the world’s best documentary films to local screens. Included among the offerings are a number of films for the LGBTQ community.
In the 1950s, no one was quite as big, as blond or as blindingly handsome as Tab Hunter. All-American heartthrob, teen idol, and celebrated crooner, Tab had the whole package, but underneath the gleaming hair and sky blue eyes was a quiet boy who also happened to love men at a time when Hollywood stars were forced to stay in the closet. In Tab Hunter Confidential (May 2), filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz gets to the heart of Tab Hunter’s story with warmth and humour.
In She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (May 5), American filmmaker Mary Dore interweaves interviews with old school activists along with archival footage of demonstrations and meetings to piece together an impressive history of the women’s liberation movement from 1966 to 1971. As a movement organized mostly by white middle class women, the spaces carved out by black and queer women laid the foundation for the feminism that we know today.
Fifty Shades of Grey may have introduced BDSM to legions of folk around the globe, but the real thing can be so much stranger. At age 84, France’s most famous dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet creates sadomasochist “ceremonies” in her chateau. Swedish director Lina Mannheimer brings a coolly passionate eye to the ritualistic encounters in The Ceremony (May 7 & 8) from the woman that Vanity Fair once called a “modern-day Marquise de Sade”.
In the anthology Stories of Our Lives (May 9) it is all about a commitment to telling the truth about the lives and love of gay and lesbian people in Kenya. Based on real life experiences that were gathered by an artists’ collective in Kenya, beneath every story is the reality that even to speak the truth out loud is a dangerous and subversive act where members of the Collective are still forced to remain anonymous in order to protect themselves.
In Madame Phung’s Last Journey (May 10), filmmaker Tham Nguyen Thi embedded herself for a year with a troupe of travelling performers, presided over by Madame Phung, a world- weary transgender woman with a complicated past and a very uncertain future. Blunt, honest and startlingly intimate, the film is a revealing portrait of life for gay and transgender people in Vietnam.
The 2015 DOXA Documentary Film Festival runs April 30 – May 10. Visit 2015 DOXA Documentary Film Festival for more information.