Queer-interest films to catch at DIFF
Among the films at the Dallas International Film Fest this year of interest to the LGBT community, including screening dates and times. Look for online reviews at DallasVoice.com.
Arianna (April 15, 4:45 p.m.; April 20, 4:45 p.m.). The Italian countryside is the setting for this mystery about a 19-year-old girl who begins to notice her body isn’t maturing “normally.” A rare portrait of an intersex character. (Screens as part of the narrative competition.)
Viva (April 15, 7:45 p.m.; April 23, 7 p.m.). Set against the backdrop of Havana’s drag community, this story of a young drag queen scraping by who is about to break through when his abusive father returns to his life mixes hard realities of life in Cuba with the style of Almodovar.
The Bad Kids (April 17, 7:45 p.m.; April 19, 4:45 p.m.). This documentary about at-risk youth enrolled in an alternative high school — a sort of “last chance” school to help build them a future — is directed by the out couple of Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe (Lost in La Mancha), and speaks to all disenfranchised youth. (Screens as part of the documentary competition.)
I Promise You Anarchy (April 17, 10:30 p.m.; April 18, 10:45 p.m.). Two best friends — skateboarders and underground criminals — are also secretly lovers, though neither cares to acknowledge the meaning of that in this raw, Mexico City-set film that recalls early Innaritu.
The Best and Most Beautiful Things (April 19, 7:15 p.m.; April 20, 4:15 p.m.). Michelle — legally blind and falling on the autism spectrum — is an outcast who refuses to let her disabilities define her, as she sets out to achieve her dreams. Her journey of self-discovery includes exploring her sexuality, which becomes a backbone of the film’s narrative. (Screens as part of the documentary competition.)
The Pearl (April 20, 7:15 p.m.; April 21, 4 p.m.). Four middle-aged and senior men from hyper-masculine backgrounds (war veterans, steelworkers) risk everything when they come out as trans women and begin the arduous process of transitioning. A very real look at the trans experience, far removed from the gloss of I Am Cait or Transparent. (Screens as part of the documentary competition.)
Slash (April 20, 10:30 p.m.; April 21, 7:30 p.m.). Neil, a 15-year-old teen, writes sci-fi erotic fan fiction that initially embarrasses him but eventually leads him on a journey to adult fiction and revelations about his own sexuality. (Screens as part of the Texas feature narrative competition.)
Other People (April 21, 7:30 p.m.; April 22, 4 p.m.). Jesse Plemmons (Friday Night Lights) plays a gay man, just broken up with his boyfriend, who’s dealing with his mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. Molly Shannon wowed audiences at Sundance with her performance.
These older films receive screenings as well.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966; April 19, 7 p.m.). The film version of Edward Albee’s incisive portrait of a marriage is 50 years old.
Late Bloomers (1996; April 20 at 7:30 p.m.). The Dallas-shot lesbian wedding comedy turns 20. Arnold Wayne Jones leads the post-screening Q&A.
Far From Heaven (2002; April 23, 12:30 p.m.). Lensman Ed Lachman, an Oscar nominee for Carol, attends a screening of this provocative tribute to Douglas Sirk from director Todd Haynes, about a 1950s woman (Julianne Moore) who discovers her husband (Dennis Quaid) is gay.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 15, 2016.