It’s the large Pink Peach (LGBT) section that makes the Atlanta Film Festival (March 23-April 1 at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas and other venues) Atlanta’s second-gayest film festival; Out on Film, the winner and still champion, returns October 4.
Of the three Pink Peach features in competition for best LGBT film, two were unavailable for preview while the third is a bit less impressive than some of the other LGBT-interest films which are not part of the competition. The three up for best film are: “Glitterboys & Ganglands,” “Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads,” and the one that was available for preview -“The Grove.”
“The Grove” shows how hard it is to reach a consensus in San Francisco. It’s the story of the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park, called “San Francisco’s best kept secret.” (I lived in S.F. in 1991 when the Grove started and never knew about it.) The film’s recap of the AIDS era is to last year’s “We Were Here” what the Grove is to the Quilt: a weak relation. Amid squabbling over adding architectural features to the natural setting, no one mentions the elephant in the Grove, a stone circle with names of AIDS dead carved in it.
There’s a lot of masturbation, literal and figurative, going on in the LGBT entries in the 2011 Atlanta Film Festival, whether they’re included in the gay “Pink Peach” section or in general narrative categories.
It’s common in festivals to find the results of filmmakers’ onanism splayed across the screen, but this year actors are doing the deed as well. Look for werewolf movies next year to explain all the hairy palms.
Joslyn Jensen in “Without” and Mark Cirillo in “The Seminarian” are each given more close-up face time than Meryl Streep has had in her whole career, so it’s not surprising that the camera doesn’t venture below the waist when they pleasure themselves. The prize for the most masturbation goes to Lydia Hyslop, who can’t keep her hand off herself in “Vacation!” except when she’s substituting household appliances, especially a blender.