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The Perfect 'Weekend'

Superb love story opens Milwaukee LGBT Festival

Oct. 19, 2011
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The Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival's opening weekend, Oct. 20-23, includes 16 offerings. All look terrific. Some are free or, like the amazing documentary on aging, Gen Silent, free with three nonperishable food items. A complete Festival Pass for $95 includes films to be shown on the first Thursday of nearly every month through next October. See www.arts.uwm.edu/lgbtfilm for details. Except for the opening night feature, all screenings are at the UW-Milwaukee Union Theatre.

The British love story Weekend, which opens the festival on Thursday at the Oriental Theatre, is the best film about gay men I've ever seen, and one of the best films, period. The acting is perfect, the writing is true and the film carefully earns your trust before taking you to a place of utter nakedness. It's a canny portrayal of two men who meet in a bar and share a weekend before one leaves for years of study abroad. That's Glen, an art student who interviews Russell in bed the morning after for a planned art project on how people paint their ideal selves onto the blank canvas of the stranger they've picked up. That Glen will leave draws both men, to their surprise, into a complete giving of themselves, such as you almost never see in movies—or in life. But when it happens, it's like this.

Saturday, Oct. 22, brings more superb films. Screening at 7 p.m. is Leave It On the Floor, a fabulous full-scale musical about the vogue-ing ball culture of Los Angeles, featuring a gorgeous cast of talented African Americans. (Why aren't they famous?) As one happy character exclaims early on, “There's some fine-ass niggas in the house tonight!” As if Hemingway had written an episode of “Glee,” there's a bowling production number titled “Knock the Motherfuckers Down.” Did I mention Jean Genet? A master's course in postmodernism, (“Honey, I don't do deep”), it's one kind of revelation. Following it, at 9 p.m., is a movie that is touching in its own hilarious way, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same. The “big feelings” of certain females from the planet Zots are destroying the ozone layer there, so they've been ordered to Earth to “have their hearts broken and become apathetic.” The hapless Earthling chosen by Zoinx for the heartbreaker role is incapable of it, so grateful is she for the alien's affection. Filmed in the cheesy style of Ed Wood, this funny film is one surprising set piece after another, endearingly acted.


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