Love is in the air at the 25th Out on Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film festival, Oct. 4-11 at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema. I don’t know when I’ve seen so much romance in a queer festival.
There’s young love, old love, lesbian love, gay love, baby love, kinky love, married love, platonic love, coercive love, transformative love… Oh, there’s politics too, but that’s mostly confined to the documentary section, or woven in with the love stories.
All films (with exceptions noted) screen at Midtown Art Cinema (931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta GA 30308).
Tuesday, Oct. 9
“Yossi & Jagger” (2002) | 4 p.m.
Even in the Israeli army where one could be openly gay a decade ago, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” remained the accepted standard, according to “Yossi & Jagger,” a minimalist gay love story set in a camp near the Lebanese border.
Young officers Yossi (Ohad Knoller) and Lior (Yehuda Levi) slip away from camp for a snowball fight that turns into wrestling that turns into you can guess what.
Jagger (Lior’s nickname) wants them to be out but Yossi, more dedicated to his military career, puts his foot down. As Yossi also refuses to declare his love privately, it becomes difficult to see what Jagger sees in him.
“Beyond the Walls” | 5:30 p.m.
There’s nothing like prison time to screw up a budding relationship. That’s what comes between Paulo (Matila Malliarakis) and Ilir (Guillaume Gouix) in “Beyond the Walls,” the walls of the title being physical as well as metaphorical.
At first Paulo is “trying to figure things out” and has a pretty good deal living with his girlfriend. She sees the writing on the wall before he does and throws him out, so he moves in with the not-initially-receptive Ilir.
Just when things are going well, Ilir is caught smuggling drugs and thrown in prison. By the time Ilir is released, both men have changed considerably. The question is whether whatever bound them together in the first place still exists, whether the flame can be rekindled.
“Yossi” | 7:30 p.m.
It’s a paradox when one of the most original films in the festival is actually a sequel. The follow-up to “Yossi & Jagger” can stand on its own, with the backstory filled in eventually.
Ten years later Yossi (Ohad Knoller), now Dr. Yossi Guttman, is still mourning the man he loved in the Israeli army. Not yet 34 but already old, he’s as closeted as ever, but the word is out about him in the Tel Aviv hospital where he works.
Forced to take a vacation, Yossi gives a ride to four young soldiers. One of them, Tom (Oz Zehavi) is openly gay and his comrades are fine with it, showing how the army has changed in ten years. When Tom tries to be more than friendly, can Yossi change too?
“Elliot Loves” | 9:10 p.m.
“Elliot Loves” follows its own rules, or lack thereof. If it weren’t so appealing that might be a negative, but writer-director Terracino makes it work on his terms.
The film jumps back and forth between Elliot (Quentin Davis Araujo) at nine and Elliot (Fabio Costaprado) at 21. Young Elliot watches his single mom (Elena Goode) go through a string of bad relationships with men. Grown up Elliot has his own string of bad relationships with men, who just want to have fun and are scared off when Elliot uses the L-word.
All I can say is, Terracino broke through my hard shell and made me love “Elliot Loves.”
Wednesday, Oct. 10
“The Right to Love: An American Family” | 3:50 p.m.
A married California gay couple and their two adopted children fight back against discrimination, ignorance and hate through home videos posted on their YouTube channel.
“Turtle Hill, Brooklyn” | 5:35 p.m.
Billed as “a modern-day ‘Boys in the Band’” because it’s about a birthday party for a gay man in New York, “Turtle Hill, Brooklyn” crams more than twice as many characters into two-thirds the running time.
Will (Brian W. Seibert) is turning 30. He and Mateo (Ricardo Valdez) have issues they haven’t discussed, all of which come to a head today. Each of the 21 guests at their party — including women, gay and straight — brings their own issue.
“Naked as We Came” | 7:10 p.m.
With the understanding that “Naked as We Came” is strictly for soap opera fans, it’s not bad. The ingredients of this family drama are quickly introduced and combined, then left to simmer.
Siblings Elliot (Ryan Vigilant) and Laura (Karmine Alers) drive to the country to see their mother, Lilly (Lué McWilliams, who takes acting honors), a “pot-smoking cancer victim” they haven’t visited in a year and a half.
They meet Ted (Benjamin Weaver), Lilly’s live-in groundskeeper who also cooks and seems to be an all-around caregiver, and he’s working on a novel. He still has time to get involved with Elliot.
Thankfully, writer-director-producer Richard LeMay, a former Atlantan, doesn’t waste time filling in a lot of unnecessary backstory details that you can figure out for yourself. Pay attention to the brief narration that opens the film because it hints at a key point that’s never entirely spelled out.
“Trick” | 9:10 p.m.
Though it’s as far-fetched as is it flimsy, you can’t deny the charm and humor of this romantic fantasy about two horny guys who can’t find a place to get off together in all of New York City.
Romantic Gabriel (Christian Campbell) doesn’t have a life — just a best friend (Tori Spelling), a pig of a straight roommate and aspirations to write a Broadway musical. Gabriel meets Mark (J.P. Pitoc), a go-go dancer whose thong barely conceals his charms. With his apartment occupied and no alternatives working out, the guys get to know each other without meaning to.
Thursday, Oct. 11
“M.I. A Different Kind of Girl” 3:30 p.m.
In M.I.A Different Kind of Girl, filmmakers, Leslie Cunningham and Alana Jones enter the world of new millennium of drag. Prominently featured is Laine Brown, a male impersonator better known as Nation Tyre, and Nation’s drag family, the House of Tyre in Atlanta.
Shorts with Local Flair | 5 p.m.
All She’ll Ever Hurt (USA, David Joseph): A music video by Amber Taylor and The Sexual Side Effects.
Even Now (USA, Toby Emert): An autobiographical look at a gay man’s relationship with his family.
Queen-tessential (USA, Jenna Brandi): The annual Boybutante Ball in Athens, Ga., gets its closeup.
Whistlin Dixie: Queer Sounds, New South (USA, Meredith Heil): In this foot-stompin’, guitar-strummin’ ride through the southland, you’ll find a new generation of queer activists.
“Jobriath A.D.” | 6:15 p.m.
Kieran Turner’s feature documentary covers the life and brief career of ‘70s glam rock musician Jobriath, the first openly gay rock star.
“Bearcity 2: The Proposal” | 8:30 p.m.
The sequel to the Out on Film 2010 sensation follows familiar characters from the original and a few new ones in this sexy romp. Roger (former Atlantan Gerard McCullouch) asks Tyler (Joe Conti) to marry him, and soon their bear and cub friends head to Provincetown for Bear Week, where they find themselves under the roof of den mother Kathy Najimy.
Top photo: Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker star in ‘Cloudburst’. (Publicity still)