Sunday, March 23, 2014

BFI Flare: Contentious

Today's overview centres on difficult women, from lesbian rogues to a mother harbouring secrets.

The rogue is the late Dawn O'Donnell, clearly a legend of Sydney's LGBT scene but unknown to me until Fiona Cunningham-Reid's Croc-a-Dyke Dundee. Colourful doesn't begin to cover O'Donnell's life: convent school girl, ice skater, nightclub maven and ruthless businesswomen who also had an eye for the ladies. Was she involved in a murder, too? The doc's voiceover is archly vague about this, but it's quite a tale.

Violette Leduc was clearly a woman in thrall to her passions, but she was French, so that's par for the course. In truth, the writer comes across as a bit of a drag in Esther Hoffenberg's doc, Violette Leduc: In Pursuit of Love, enmeshed in unrequited relationships with Simone de Beauvoir and several gay men, while complaining of never being at home anywhere. It did make me curious about her writing, however, so all is not lost.

Pick of the day:
Marcel Gisler's Rosie is a slow-burning drama about family obligations and secrets. Sibylle Brunner is mesmerising as the matriarch slowly succumbing to age, while her gay son Lorenz can't seem to commit, even when love is right in front of him. The rural Swiss locations are beautifully observed, as Lorenz makes ever more trips from Berlin back to the homestead to tend to Mama, while in denial about her frailty. When secrets emerge about his late father's past, Lorenz has to face up to some home truths.

No comments: