The Man That Got Away
It certainly isn’t the first campy musical with a Judy Garland twist, but Trevor Anderson’s The Man That Got Away features a plot line that is far more Grimm than Glee.
“While Jimmy was in the sanatorium,” Anderson narrates as a Garland-esque lookalike pops out of a limo, “he met one of the other patients. Talk about failing up!”
According to Anderson family legend, the film is based on a true event involving his gay uncle, who survived war and the great depression, but not without cost. Once a member of the Marines, then a dancer on Broadway, he had a vibrant life, but — as a line in the film states — “There’s little that’s lonelier than a constant party.”
In rehab, Jimmy befriends Garland for an ever-so-brief period of time, then leaves with only the memories and a loving note from la Legend herself. His life’s tale is told through a series of five musical numbers and dance sequences, ultimately more camp than concrete storyline. Despite plot lightness, The Man That Got Away is at times visually impressive, and recently grabbed a Short Film prize at the Berlin Film Festival.
Here’s a trailer from the film:
Thurs, May 10
6pm, Pacific Cinémathèque
Italy: Love It or Leave It
Italian lovers Luca Ragazzi and Gustav Hofer live in a world-class tourist destination, yet they are disenchanted with the high costs, their country’s terrible leader and the impoverished conditions afflicting so many of its citizens. Sound familiar?
Love It or Leave It is bound to ring true for many Vancouverites. In Ragazzi and Hofer’s case, they decide to make one last attempt to fall in love with Italy, their homeland, before moving to Berlin. The duo spend six months driving around the country, documenting their adventures.
The film is, in part, a love letter to their homeland, but more than that, it’s a spotlight on its problems. The beautiful scenery and vibrant people cannot silence the financial and emotional cacophony endured by many of the townsfolk interviewed in the film.
The documentary’s timing is especially noteworthy as it was shot during the end of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s reign, a period of massive joblessness, environmental crisis, and scandal.
Check out Xtra‘s interview with Ragazzi and Hofer:
Now here’s a trailer for their film:
And check out this interview that Ragazzi and Hofer gave Xtra in 2008, after they released their first film, Suddenly, Last Winter, about the battle over civil unions for gay couples in Italy.
Sat, May 5
4pm, Pacific Cinémathèque
Filmmakers in attendance
Vito Russo may not be a household gay name, but it should be. Not only was he a respected historian (especially noteworthy as the writer of the book The Celluloid Closet), Russo was also a noteworthy gay-rights activist.
This compelling film about his life is evocative of Harvey Milk’s story. Like Milk, Russo did not intend to enter the world of activism; it was the brutality of the time that prompted him to action.
In 1970, a dear friend — fearing deportation after his arrest simply for being in a gay bar — jumped to his death from a police station window; he was eviscerated by a metal fence. Convinced that his friend “was pushed” by a pervasive climate of homophobia, Russo vowed to fight for change.
The documentary overflows with footage from marches, the genesis of Act Up (which Russo also co-founded), and of conflicts not only against but within the gay community. Fans of Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler take note: there is incredibly candid footage of both women participating in the gay politics of the day. A genuine privilege to watch.
Tues, May 8
9pm, Denman Cinemas
Stock Characters: The Cooking Show
Local queer filmmaker Elaine Carol spent nearly every waking moment of 2006 and 2007 putting together her play — and subsequent documentary film — Stock Characters: The Cooking Show. The film’s raison d’être mirrors her company’s mission statement: “Merging high art, grassroots community development and popular culture.”
The actors that participated in the project were primarily theatre-green East Van youth, many facing multiple barriers such as disabilities and addiction issues.
When asked about the genesis of the play’s subject matter, Carol says, “We had been doing free workshops with youth at the Cultch, and they talked about issues like poverty and violence, racism and sexism. But they also talked about cooking, food, the food bank and the community kitchen program being very important. When I was talking to a youth worker, he said, ‘You should look at the Iron Chef shows, they are totally campy and hysterical.’ I took a look and said, ‘Oh my god, we have to satirize those!’”
Fri, May 11
1pm, Pacific Cinémathèque
And here’s a trailer from Scarlet Road, a film about a sex worker who works specifically with disabled people to help bring them pleasure and explore their own bodies and express themselves sexually in ways they may never have thought possible.