Film & Video
2 min

Stunning images

A truly eclectic mélange of cinema at Image+Nation, Montreal's queer film fest

German director Stephan Lacant's Free Fall is about two officers in love. Credit: Stephan Lacant

Montreal's Image+Nation has been splashing all things pink and lavender on the big screen for more than a quarter century. Now in its 26th year, the LGBT film festival boasts fantastic viewing in such categories as Queerment Quebec, Homomundo and Lesbomundo. Take a look at our pics for must-see flicks this year.

The opening night film, In the Name Of, is a Polish entry by Malgorzata Szumowska that took the Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Fest earlier this year. The story involves a pastor of a small rural parish who must negotiate between his own sexuality and the strict confines of the church. This film has proven to be both a crowdpleaser and critical hit. The German entry Free Fall (by director Stephan Lacant) shows us the burgeoning covert romance between two police cadets. They're both über-hot but stuck in uncomfortable closets. A sexy potboiler of a melodrama. 

Stacie Passon has raised eyebrows with her feature film Concussion, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Berlinale's Teddy Awards. Robin Weigert plays a well-heeled lesbian in a long-term relationship. The problem? She's bored out of her mind and finds herself hooking up for sex for pay to get some kicks. The film explores how passion can go out of any relationship with time and also explores the idea of intimacy.

Monika Mitchell unleashes her romantic comedy John Apple Jack, in which spoiled hot dude John (Chris McNally) finds himself suddenly cast out of the family business and under the realization that he is in love with his childhood friend — a man who is about to marry John's sister. Love hurts, as this film clearly indicates, with its unpredictable plot moves and solid performances. 

Michelle Tea's literary memoir finds its way to the big screen in Valencia, directed by several of America's most prominent lesbian directors, including Cheryl Dunye, Silas Howard and Courtney Trouble. The film looks back with both energy and nostalgia to the crazy-ass punk scene of San Francisco in the 1990s. There's more female trouble in Je suis lesbienne, Tina Fichter's capturing of 22 Montreal women who proudly proclaim their sexual identity and experiences as queer women living in la belle province.

There are loads of fascinating documentaries at this year's fest, including Intersexion, a New Zealand film about people who live beyond the simple male/female binary way of seeing gender. Intersex activist Mani Bruce Mitchell introduces us to several intersex people around the world, all of whom are trying to forge their way to happy, fulfilling lives in a world that so often has only two gender categories. PJ Raval explores how older queer people cope in a youth-obsessed milieu in Before You Know It. One gentleman finds acceptance in a seniors' residence, while another must remain closeted in a homophobic neighbourhood.

Jeffrey Schwartz's documentary on the late, great brilliant actor and drag performer, I am Divine, will also screen. Mink Stole and John Waters discuss their fond reminiscences of working with Divine (aka Harry Glen Milstead), famous for doing just about anything in his mad ambition to become famous. A heartfelt and touching doc. And not to be missed is Malcolm Ingram's Continental, about the landmark Manhattan bathhouse. 

In Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, filmmaker Nicholas Wrathall shows us the life of late author and provocateur Vidal, as he skewers any and everyone in his path. "I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television," Vidal once famously quipped. And that's just one of his many wisdom-filled quotes, on display here.