Today’s gay movies, all showing for the second time during the festival, are part of the Atlanta Film Festival’s robust “Pink Peach” component.
Here are Georgia Voice film columnist Steve Warren’s reviews on the films. For a full rundown on all of the festival’s LGBT offerings, click here.
‘Mother Earth (Tierra Madre)’
Tues., April 20, 12:15 p.m.
Illustrating the fine line between truth and fiction, “Mother Earth” (“Tierra Madre”) and “Who Saw Him” (“Chi L’ha Visto”), listed as narrative films, are largely true stories of their lesbian and gay protagonists.
In “Mother Earth” Aidee Gonzalez narrates and recreates her story matter-of-factly. Director Dylan Verrechia drains most of the drama from a gut-wrenching tale that has enough for several seasons of a telenovela.
A Mexican, Aidee has two children by different men. One abandons her, the other marries her but is shot as a drug runner. She supports herself and her children by pole dancing. Rosalba introduces Aidee to the pleasures of women. They live together until Rosalba wants a child and goes off with the man who fathers it.
“Mother Earth” looks like a black-and-white home movie but better.
‘The Battle of Pussy Willow Creek’
Tues., April 20, 12:20 p.m.
Filmmakers in attendance (both shows): Writer/ Director/Producer Wendy Jo Cohen, Assistant to the Director Joe Braun, Actor Tim Cusack, Casting Director/Actor Luisa Battista.
“The Battle of Pussy Willow Creek” is a riot for history buffs, not usually known for their sense of humor. Wendy Jo Cohen has made real documentaries for the Discovery and History channels so she knows the drill and could have fun with it.
The fictitious skirmish occurred simultaneously with the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, but was expunged from history because its heroes were considered “examples of human degeneracy.”
A gay man, a former slave, a Chinese septuagenarian and a whore in men’s clothing saved the nation’s capital.
The story is told by a diverse lot of “experts,” most with their own agendas, including “Roger McEntyre, author of ‘Prejudice and Pride: A History of Gays in the Military.’”
The humor is droll and deadpan, accessible to all; but the more familiar you are with real documentaries the more you’ll enjoy this spoof.
‘Who Saw Him (Chi L’ha Visto)’
Tues., April 20, 2:05 p.m.
“Who Saw Him” coasts on the charisma of its subject, Gianni Meurer, a gay man who was raised in Berlin by his German mother but decides to search for the Italian father he hasn’t seen in over 20 years. The biographical details are reportedly true, the action pure fiction.
Looking like a cinema vérité documentary, it has some of the same flaws, including narrative gaps because cameras aren’t present when major events occur. As a result the unexplained ending comes out of left field.
Meurer, more Italian than German-looking, carries most of the film on his charm, especially when he plays all the roles in the reunion he anticipates with his father; but once he reaches Rome even he can’t get us through the narrative confusion.