Between the Atlanta Film Festival and “Sorry Angel,” LGBTQ fare is plentiful the next few weeks in local cinemas.
Opening next week, the Atlanta Film Festival has its usual Pink Peach track, made up of six narrative and documentary films, as well as short films and some episodic series to boot. John Cerrito’s “The Way You Look Tonight” stars Nick Fink as Peter, a young man who has turned to online dating. After a perfect date ends abruptly, he turns to another site to start anew and begins dating a woman who changes physical appearance and race frequently. Sometimes Peter finds himself dating a woman and other times a man. It’s an interesting concept for a while about how we see others but it eventually runs out of steam.
“Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life” charts the titular Agassi, one of the best known male adult performers in the world. The film follows his career and personal life, including his complicated relationship with his mother. Agassi starts off likable but eventually disintegrates before our eyes in drug use and narcissism. As a documentary filmmaker, Tomer Heymann knows he has an intriguing center and never lets his camera waver. It’s sad but absorbing stuff.
The best of the features I previewed is “Julia and the Fox,” an Argentinian drama from filmmaker Inés María Barrionuevo (who also wrote the script). It explores the dynamic between a mother and a daughter, both coping with the loss of their husband/father, and how they pick up the pieces with a friend from the past. The LGBTQ quota is quite low here but it’s a memorable film, featuring some compelling performances by its mother and daughter pair, Umbra Colombo and Victoria Castelo Arzubialde.
“Pageant Material” is written and directed by Atlantan Jonothon Mitchell. It stars Hart Morse as an Alabama teen with an abusive stepfather and brothers who want nothing more than to escape to Atlanta for the Miss Teen Drag 2018 competition to honor his late mother. It’s nice to see a locally produced LGBTQ film and this one is well-meaning and has its heart in the right place. Yet the film’s first hour is full of clichés and cardboard characters. At least some fun cameos from the likes of Evah Destruction and Brigitte Bidet liven up the finale, set at Lips Atlanta.
Also on the Pink Peach Track are “Simple Wedding,” in which an Iranian woman gets involved with a bisexual artist, and the documentary “Grit,” while the episodic shorts include the funny “The Cocoa Fondue Show” with Bob the Drag Queen. The festival opens with the acclaimed “The Farewell” and closes with “Them That Follow,” with Oscar winner Olivia Colman and Walton Goggins.
Opening in the ATL this weekend, “Sorry Angel” – set in 1990, and written and directed by Christophe Honoré – follows the relationship between Jacques (Pierre Deladonchamps), an older writer in Paris, and Arthur (Vincent Lacoste) a 20-year-old student in Rennes. There’s an instant attraction between the two but hurdles that keep them apart as well, including distance, Jacques’ son, and the fact that Jacques has AIDS. (The film deals with Jacques’ condition, although not as overtly as the recent French film, “Beats Per Minute”). The film is long – over two hours – but held together by the central duo. Deladonchamps is magnetic, making an often unlikable character hard to shake. The ending is a bit bleak and but overall this is a literate, often beautiful film.
Atlanta Film Festival
April 4 – 14
Plaza Atlanta and other venues
Opens March 29 at Landmark Midtown