Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

(BPM) Beats Per Minute (trailer)

December 1, 2017

I couldn’t let World AIDS Day 2017 go by without mentioning the brand-new French film, (BPM) Beats Per Minute. It’s the film I’m most excited about seeing this year.

Indiewire calls it “the Most Authentically Queer Film of the Awards Season.”
France selected it as their entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards this year.
Glenn Kenny at Roger Ebert’s site said, “Even if you consider yourself reasonably well-versed in the history, “BPM” is a kind of wake-up call, a cinematic alarm against complacency.”
Rotten Tomatoes gives Beats Per Minute (BPM) a 98% rating.
Check out BPM’s official site.
Watch the BPM trailer on YouTube. 
BPM screens this Sunday, December 3, 2017 in Hartford, CT, a co-presentation with REAL ART WAYS and Out Film CT.

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World AIDS Day 2017

December 1, 2017

This year in first-world countries we can finally say people living with HIV who are compliant with their medication and maintain an undetectable viral load can not transmit the virus to their partners. Think about that for a moment. It’s game changing. Read the Washington Post article featuring my friend Michael Mitchell and his husband Mark S. King.

HIV negative people who take PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) have a stronger line of defense to keep themselves negative. In fact, the NYC Health Department is saying PrEP use and compliance contributed to the lowest HIV infection rates in history during 2016.

There’s a lot to be grateful for this year in HIV/AIDS news.

Read previous World AIDS Day posts from Reel Charlie:
2016
2015
2014
2011 (the first year I posted)

Below find my favorite films that focus on HIV and AIDS.  Some are feature films, some documentaries, 2 are musicals:

The Adventures of Felix – celebratory French film about a young HIV+ man embracing life on the new medication in the mid-90’s.
And the Band Played On – based on journalist Randy Shilts’s book.
Angels in America – based on the award-winning play from Tony Kushner.
All About My Mother – one of the (still) few films using AIDS themes from a female perspective – an Almodovar classic.
Before I Forget – French film about an aging HIV+ male hustler.
Blue – Derek Jarman’s meditation on his AIDS diagnosis and imminent death.
Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt – Academy Award winning documentary on the AIDS Quilt.
Dallas Buyers Club – a straight-identified man starts one of the first buyers clubs in the U.S. bringing experimental drugs into the United States from other countries.
Days – Italian film about a sero-discordant couple (one HIV+, one HIV-).
Holding the Man – based on the true story. Two guys fall in love in 1970’s Australia.
How to Survive a Plague – outstanding documentary on the history of ACT-UP.
Jeffrey – explores the tension around gay men and sex during the AIDS crisis.
Longtime Companion – Hollywood film about NYC gay men dealing with the worst of the AIDS crisis.
The Normal Heart – HBO adaptation from Ryan Murphy of Larry Kramer’s award-winning play.
Parting Glances – Steve Bucemi’s break-out performance as a punk rock HIV+ gay man in NYC.
Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer’s End (only released on VHS) – amazing documentary on the final days of writer Paul Monette.
Poison – Todd Haynes Queer Cinema classic.  Very experimental. Included on the disk and in the review is the short Last Address, an 8 minute film focusing on NYC buildings by director Ira Sachs.
Postcards from America – based on artist David Wojnarowicz’s life and writing.
Rent – the film based on the hit Broadway musical.
Sex in an Epidemic – documentary about the AIDS crisis in the United States.
Sex Positive – documentary of the evolution of “safer sex”.
Test – beautiful indie film about a young dancer in San Francisco deciding whether to take the new HIV test in the early 1980’s.
Vito – biopic on Vito Russo who wrote the seminal work on queer film, The Celluloid Closet and left us way to early from AIDS.
We Were Here – intimate documentary focusing on several people who witnessed the early plague years in San Francisco.
Zero Patience – John Greyson’s musical about AIDS.  still so out there and revolutionary.

Follow Reel Charlie’s Health category for future postings.
Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Barbara who loves sharing her birthday with World AIDS Day.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20, 2017

Reel Charlie observes Transgender Day of Remembrance. My fellow Ts in the LGBTQ movement may have more visibility, but they still experience discrimination and violence at alarming rates. Transgender violence and death has reached epidemic proportions this year. Today we remember with reflection and commitment for the future.

Browse Reel Charlie’s posts on the Transgender category.

French Aids drama BPM shows Hollywood how to capture gay history (Guardian)

October 21, 2017

Really looking forward to French writer-director Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute). From The Guardian,

The biggest breakthrough of the lot, however, might be French writer-director Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute), which opens in US cinemas on Friday. Outwardly, Campillo’s sprawling, impassioned reflection on the formative years of Aids activist group Act-Up Paris doesn’t appear especially subversive. Meshing fact and fiction with formal grace, conscientious historical detail and a fascination with the to and fro of human debate – it’s not hard to tell that Campillo co-wrote Laurent Cantet’s thrillingly argument-driven The Class – it’s an A-grade prestige film that has met with acceptance and acclaim. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury handed it the Grand Prix award at Cannes, while France has selected it as their entry in this year’s foreign-language Oscar race, where it’s the strong favourite to win.

What’s new, you ask? We’ve seen Aids dramas before: they’ve been winning prizes since Tom Hanks accepted an Oscar in lachrymose fashion for Philadelphia in 1994. BPM, however, has about as much in common with Philadelphia as The Danish Girl does with Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Campillo’s film isn’t just a gay film, but an explicitly, ebulliently queer one, shot through not just with righteous political anger and equal-opportunity compassion, but joyous, unabashed carnality.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

Call Me By Your Name: Straight Man

October 17, 2017

It’s not even been released yet (November 24, 2017), and already Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of the André Aciman novel, Call Me By Your Name has buzz of a sequel thanks to the film’s director. I personally hated the book. The straight male writer has been quoted as saying he doesn’t believe in “…straight, bi, gay—I don’t believe in any of that. We’re just a mess.” That’s one opinion. Definitely not mine. Aciman’s married to a woman with three children, so he must believe in something. I thought the book was a complete cop-out. As soon as I found out it was written by a straight man, it all made sense. Of course neither character would end up gay. Post-gay hetero superiority strikes again. When the film was completed, gay director Guadagnino announced there were no out actors and no explicit sex scenes in the film. And Guadagnino has decided he wants to create a sequel which follows the ending of the book “with Oliver now married with a wife and children. Guadagnino says unlike the book, Elio’s character won’t necessarily turn out to be gay: “I don’t think Elio is necessarily going to become a gay man. He hasn’t found his place yet. I can tell you that I believe that he would start an intense relationship with Marzia [Esther Garrel’s character] again.” I disagree with Guadagnino. I never felt Elio ended up gay in the book. Just the opposite. Both characters retreated into conventional lives and straight relationships. We have so few adaptations of great gay novels, I shudder to think so much attention is being handed to this project. I enjoyed Guadagnino’s I am Love. I never saw his follow-up, A Bigger Splash. I realize not every film released has to have my big gay seal of approval. I simply worry the green light and pre-release accolades once again prove it’s a straight man’s world. I’m not planning on watching the adaptation. Feel free to send me your thoughts if you do.

The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

October 15, 2017

David France’s (How to Survive a Plague) sophomore documentary effort, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson creates an essential conversation. Unfortunately the film meanders in unknown directions. Too bad because the focus of trans people of color, disenfranchised and destitute warrants examination and solutions. How do marginalized people travel in the world? How do we help others out of poverty, homelessness, and a myriad of other issues which keep them stuck in a bad place? How do we empower people while honoring their individuality? France covers all of that. But the focus on the film vacillates between an amateur sleuth story of Johnson’s friend Patricia trying desperately to uncover the truth of her friend’s death, a modern story of a trans woman’s murder, and the chaotic world of Marsha’s friend, Sylvia Rivera. Not sure how a film that features a person’s name can become so convoluted during editing. Watching it proved frustrating knowing that a better focused film would have brought the viewer into a world which desperately needs our respect and support. 3 out of 5 for the film.

Find out more about transgender issues and how you can help:
National Center for Transgender Equality 
Sylvia Rivera Law Project

That Time ‘Will & Grace’ Forgot HIV Exists. Again (My Fabulous Disease)

October 14, 2017

My buddy, AIDS activist Mark S. King (My Fabulous Disease) calls out Will & Grace for not mentioning HIV in the series revival. I haven’t posted about the revival because I’m not a fan. I never was. I was living in NYC when the show premiered originally. It felt like I was already living a NYC story. Will and Jack would have not been part of my inner circle. They were way too uptown for me. I was if nothing else, a Lower East Side snob.

Mark breaks it down as to why it’s important for Will and Jack to discuss the changing landscape of HIV in gay men’s lives during 2017. From My Fabulous Disease,

Only once, in a 2001 episode in which Grace and her boyfriend mention getting an HIV test, was the topic ever addressed. They produced 194 episodes during the original run of the series.

The revival of Will & Grace exists in a far different world. The privileged white gay men who inhabit Will & Grace have access to healthcare and the resources to either take PrEP, the pill that prevents HIV infection or, should they be HIV positive, get on medications that could render them undetectable and therefore unable to transmit HIV to someone else.

Neither of these strategies were available or understood when Will & Grace left the airwaves ten years ago. They exist now, and they have transformed the sexual and cultural landscape for gay men in this country.

Read Mark S. King’s full post at My Fabulous Disease.

A Feminist Film Critic in the Age of Weinstein (The Hollywood Reporter)

October 12, 2017

Film critic Sara Stewart unpacks her understanding of the Harvey Weinstein story and the avalanche of misogyny in Hollywood both in the industry as well as the products created. From The Hollywood Reporter,

In six years, it’s been incredibly rare for anyone from the critical community to simply say to me, “You know, that’s a good point about women.” It seems to me that, when it comes to reviews, voicing concerns about representation is often seen by my peers as an abdication of one’s pure love of filmmaking — a prioritizing of activism over criticism. I disagree. Misogyny in film should be pointed out as plainly and as often as possible. I try to support and promote other writers who do so. Because what message does our collective embrace, or enabling, of onscreen objectification send to the predators still out there?

Read the full article on The Hollywood Reporter.

Oscars: France Selects ‘120 Beats Per Minute’ for Foreign-Language Category (Hollywood Reporter)

September 27, 2017

From The Hollywood Reporter,

Robin Campillo’s drama won the Grand Prize at this year’s Cannes film festival.

France has selected Robin Campillo’s 120 Beats Per Minute as its submission in the best foreign-language film category of the Oscars.

The film won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

The selection committee was chaired by National Cinema Center (CNC) head Frederique Bredin and composed of executives including Cannes Film Festival head Thierry Fremaux, French Academy president Alain Terzian, UniFrance film body head Serge Toubiana and former head Jean-Paul Salome, as well as CNC financing commissioner Teresa Cremisi.

BAFTA- and Cesar-nominated director Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel) and Cesar winner Deniz Gamze Erguven, director of the Oscar-nominated Mustang, rounded out the committee.

The commission selected from a shortlist including 120 Beats Per Minute, Mathieu Amalric’s Cannes Un Certain Regard special prize winner Barbara and Redoubtable from Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist).

Read the full article.

Hollywood Still Sucks at Lesbian Visibility (After Ellen)

September 25, 2017

Disturbing article on the percentage of lesbian characters in major Hollywood films during 2016. From After Ellen,

The US population is 50.8% female, but in the last 9 years, the percentage of speaking roles occupied by women has not exceeded 32.8%

Of 4,544 speaking characters in the top 100 movies of 2016, only 9 characters were lesbian, and none were protagonists.

Of course none of this is surprising. Without the independent film community, there would be very little diversity in film and very few LGBTQ protagonists. The 100 top grossing US films of any year continue to primarily appeal to teenage boys. Support independent cinema.

Read the full article at After Ellen.


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