Downtown Toronto isn’t the only place in Ontario to watch award-winning, independent films. Just down the highway, the Art Gallery of Hamilton World Film Festival, now in its fifth year, programs critically acclaimed films — including queer ones — from around the globe.
“When considering our programming, we make it a point to be inclusive to all communities,” says festival director Annette Paiement. “It was important to us to include a film that depicts the queer community in a positive light.”
A highlight from this year’s roster is the stunner Ginger & Rosa, which premiered at the 2012 London Film Festival. “What drew us to Ginger & Rosa was the portrayal of the comfort and safety Ginger finds in the presence of a gay couple,” Paiement says.
Set in London in 1962 at the heart of the Cold War, Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) find solace in each other from their broken homes and the mundaneness of school life. They soak in the tub to shrink their jeans before hitchhiking into town to set it on fire, drinking at taverns and teasing boys.
The casting is sublime. Christina Hendricks gives a stellar performance as Ginger’s mother and shows more range than she’s allowed on TV’s Mad Men, and Annette Bening fills out a small, but muscular, role as Bella, a feminist war-agitator and mentor to Ginger, a budding radical herself.
Close family friends Mark (Timothy Spall) and his lover, Mark Two (Oliver Platt), offer Ginger much-needed relief as her life at home and school begin to dissolve. When the Cuban Missile Crisis threatens to confirm the hysteria of the Cold War, drama kicks into high gear, and what ensues is a dark, twisted family drama.
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