Kids, eh? Who'd have 'em, with their sulky silences, lack of self control and untamed passions? Two features at LLGFF provide ample evidence of the suffocating grip of infatuation and the lack of a happy-ever-after guarantee. Both from central Europe and both featuring girls in education, Sonja and Love Sick illustrate love is cruel.
Sonja, a Berlin teenager stuck in a tower block with her suspicious mother, is pouty, spotty and infatuated with her best friend, Julia, when not flirting with boys, returns Sonja's intense gazes and affectionate touches. Sadly, they are not quite on the same page, no matter what Sonja's suspicious mother thinks. The film beautifully depicts the intensely close relationships girls can form, with words unnecessary. But, it also shows how these feelings can remain unrequited and heartbreaking.
The Rumanian feature Love Sick is a quite startling piece of work, with a budding lesbian love story set alongside a grimly dysfunctional family drama. Alex moves into her new rented room for her second year at university, reuniting her with her girlfriend Cristina. However, Cristina has some serious co-dependency issues with her brother Sandu, wrecking everyone's hopes of a happy ending. The scene when Cristina and Sandu confront each other across the family dining table, their parents and Alex looking on, is a triumph of black comedy. The film's structure is a bit confusing, with the occasional flashback and voiceover interrupting the story. Curiously, although Alex appears to be the central character, the voiceover is actually by Cristina, making the point of view a bit tenuous. The last five minutes is also a bit of a letdown, descending into melodrama as the two women have their showdown. Still, the film lingers in the memory.
A documentary from Cuba about a lesbian feminist rap group. And you don't see that every day. While somewhat lacking in style and running on a bit, the two central figures, a lesbian couple, are so charismatic, that you really want to cheer them on. The music's good, too.
The Perfect Ones
Echoing Desperately Seeking Susan in plot, this short from the USA takes a troubled housewife (played by co-director Nao Bustamante) out of her comfortable environs and plants her on the mean streets of the city. Stiletto stuck to her hair, she stumbles into a punk club and emerges as a whip-crackin' mama. Great fun, even if it does feel curiously stuck in the '80s.