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Report from the Jihadist Front

Report from the Jihadist Front

BY STEVE ERICKSON | It’s sad when foolish people try to defend their faith in ways that wind up promoting stereotypes about it. It’s even tragic, as the massacre at Charlie Hebdo shows. Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu,” made in Mauritania but set in Mali, is a cri de coeur from a Muslim artist against Islamic fundamentalism that […]

Hard to Be a Witness

Hard to Be a Witness

BY STEVE ERICKSON | It’s hard to be a god, according to the title of Russian director Aleksei German’s posthumously released film. It’s also hard to be a filmmaker, and that was especially so in the days of the USSR. Then, state support for unconventional work jostled with censorship of it. Two of German’s six films […]

A Moroccan Education

A Moroccan Education

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Abdellah Taïa, the celebrated out gay Moroccan writer, has adapted his autobiographical novel “Salvation Army” for the screen, and the result is remarkable. The film features a rare gay Arab protagonist, and Taïa proves himself as lyrical a filmmaker as he is a writer. This intimate, episodic coming-of-age story is told […]

Butterfly Cage

Butterfly Cage

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Lesbians, lepidopterists, and S&M practitioners form an overlapping Venn diagram of sorts in “The Duke of Burgandy,” writer/ director Peter Strickland’s arch and ecstatic romantic drama. The film takes its visual cues from 1960s and ‘70s European arthouse softcore — think Radley Metzger — and its aural sources range from butterfly […]

Mask of Precision

Mask of Precision

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Joy of Man’s Desiring” confirms my impression that Denis Côté is the most talented Canadian director to emerge since Guy Maddin. He’s also one of the hardest to pin down. He seems to alternate between relatively conventional narratives (like “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear,” which played Anthology Film Archives last […]

Yep. Another Bisexual Persian in Brooklyn Story

Yep. Another Bisexual Persian in Brooklyn Story

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Openly bisexual writer and director Desiree Akhavan has crafted a laugh out loud deadpan comedy with her fabulous feature debut, “Appropriate Behavior.” Brooklynite Shirin (Akhavan), who is not out to her Persian immigrant parents, has just broken up with her girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson). Underemployed, she takes a job teaching […]

A Queer Pastoral  

A Queer Pastoral  

BY GARY M. KRAMER | There are too few films about rural queer life, and the very fine drama “It’s All So Quiet,” in capturing the experiences of Helmer (Jeroen Willems), a big, beefy, 50-ish repressed gay farmer in the Netherlands, distinguishes itself. This compelling film is a quiet, contemplative character study that yields insights […]

Pulped!

Pulped!

BY DAVID NOH | Remember those paperback pulp gay porn novels that used to be semi-discreetly sold in drugstores and random magazine stands in the 1960s and early1970s? They had deliriously suggestive covers and titles like “The Number on the John Wall,” “Chamber of Homos,” “Tailpipe Truckers, “ “Hot Asset!,” “The Male Maulers.” No? Well […]

The Best Films of 2014

The Best Films of 2014

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Among the past year’s films, I have chosen the 10 best, another 10 runners-up, and three that did not enjoy distribution but should have. “Boyhood” (Richard Linklater) Yes, I know. Consensus is boring, but I loved this film as soon as I saw it at an advance screening, well before it […]

Sexual Frankness, Strong Documentaries & Queer Twists

Sexual Frankness, Strong Documentaries & Queer Twists

BY GARY M. KRAMER | The year in queer film got off to a great start in January with the release of arguably the best of 2014, Alain Guiraudie’s erotic, explicit, and irresistible thriller “Stranger by the Lake.” The film did not shrink from full frontal nudity, a trait strikingly shared by a number of […]

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