Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Travel Queeries, dir Elliat Graney-Saucke
The Lollipop Generation, dir GB Jones
Bandaged, dir Maria Beatty
A couple of films that put the Q in LGBT, so to speak, Travel Queeries and Lollipop are both long in the making, a reminder of how hard it is to make DIY films that go under the radar of funders. Travel Queeries documents queer subcultures across Europe, from London to Belgrade and features an array of inspiring real-life characters who work under the most arduous conditions, from the activists who brave violent attacks in Belgrade and Warsaw, to the artists who liven up their surroundings in Copenhagen. The film also points out how these cultures are being united, with the Internet and travelling activists serving to link disparate cultures, a function the film serves, as well.
GB Jones is a legend in Toronto, co-founder of the original homocore zine JDs and the dyke band Fifth Column. Her magnum opus The Lollipop Generation was started in the early 90s and has only just reached completion, so feels a bit piecemeal, with star Jena von Brucker's hair colour changing from scene to scene. Surely a continuity editor's nightmare. I don't mind the DIY roughness of the film and positively revel in the grainy Super 8 quality, which suits the story of a teenaged runaway (von Brucker) and her adventures with the street kids she meets.
My reservations lie more with the storyline, with von Brucker reduced to a mere linking device, as the story shifts to street teens Peanut, Janie and Rufus, who are pursued by the "Horrible Homos", porn makers with a taste for kids. The appearance of Vaginal Davis, whose character picks up a boy outside a school, flings him over his shoulder and then attempts to have sex with him, is just plain creepy. Davis has great comic appeal and the scene appears to be played for laughs, but what is the message? That paedophilia is funny? That the situation, in which the only black character in the film is a sexual predator, is meant to be a comment on social stereotypes and so should be read ironically? Jones seems to revel in sexually explicit scenes, with a plethora of blow jobs, at the same time she seems to be decrying sexual exploitation of street kids. The message seems hopelessly muddled and so undermines the film.
While Bandaged is coming from a completely different place, it stars Susanne Sachsse, who has featured in several Bruce La Bruce films, as well as leading Berlin's Cheap arts troupe, which numbers Vaginal Davis among its members. I had high expectations for this film, which was billed as a horror period piece. The set-up is intriguing, as Sachsse's Nurse Genova arrives at a remote mansion to tend to the wounds of Lucille, a suicidal teen, at the behest of the girl's domineering scientist father.
Nurse Genova has a questionable record, with a penchant for putting patients out of their misery which is not in line with the Hippocratic oath. She becomes attached to the girl, with much face-stroking and suggestive washing. But what are her motives? And where is dad getting his amazing skin grifts from? Yes, these are the dual plot lines and they play as ridiculously as they sound. The dialogue is so stilted, it sounds dubbed, badly. The best shots are reserved for syringes, and Sachsse is called upon to act in some of the worst sex scenes committed to film. So bad, it's good.