Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

BPM (Beats Per Minute)

March 19, 2018

Robin Campillo’s French language film, BPM (Beats Per Minute) tells the story of Paris ACT-UP in the early 1990’s at the height of the AIDS epidemic just before the new medications became available which would save millions of lives worldwide. BPM is without a doubt the best feature film ever created focusing on the AIDS crisis. Perhaps it is because the filmmaker is 55 years old and was alive during the worse part of the epidemic. Campillo crafts a story filled with anger, activism, frustration, creativity, love and sex. Blended together, these elements tell the accurate story of what it was like – the immediacy of life during this pivotal moment in gay history. Activism was important as dancing which was important as sex which was important as community. BPM rightfully snagged six Cesar Awards (French Oscars), including best film, original script, male newcomer, supporting actor and music. BPM is a pitch perfect film with a cast of mostly young actors who lose themselves in their roles as activists fighting for their lives and the lives of the people they love. BPM is essential viewing. 5 out of 5 for this instant masterpiece.

BPM was released on disk, digital, and on-demand this past week.
Buy a copy at Wolfe Video and support lesbian owned and operated business.
Read Reel Charlie’s list of important feature films and documentaries on the subject of HIV and AIDS.



Versailles: Season 2

March 12, 2018

I made it through the first two episodes of Versailles: Season 2, the Canadian english language series based on the reign of Louis XIV. The first season was fun and soapy. I gave it a 3.5 out of 5. This second season simply didn’t hold my attention. Even the king’s gay brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans couldn’t make me continue with the series. For viewers who like their historical costume drama heavy on the soap and light on the serious, Versailles might be just right. I’m saying goodbye. It was fun while it lasted. 3 out of 5.

2018 César Awards: ‘BPM’ Wins Six, Including Best Film

March 4, 2018

On Oscar day 2018, I want to honor a French film which didn’t make the cut. BPM just won six César Awards including Best Picture. Césars are the French Oscars. The Oscar submissions for Best Foreign Film come from each country. Only one nomination cam be made per country. France indeed did the right thing and sent BPM over as their selection. The Oscar voters chose to ignore BPM and nominated films from Chile, Hungary, Lebanon, Russia, and Sweden. Those are all great countries.

I haven’t seen BPM yet. I have the DVD pre-orded from Wolfe Video. It’s scheduled for release in the U.S. on Tuesday so it should be in my mailbox any day now. I rarely assume I will love a film after reading the hype, but I am sure I will love BPM.

Read more about the film’s César wins on Indiewire.

NYC’s Film Forum Marquee Letters

February 19, 2018

Own a piece of NYC film history. From Film Forum,

For the first time since 1980, we are updating our marquee as part of our expansion and renovation. Hundreds of well-worn marquee letters are being retired after spelling out some of the greatest movies of the past 37 years. Fortunately for you, this means you can own a piece of NYC film history!

Spell out your or your cinephile loved ones’ initials, name, favorite movie, curse word – up to you! Just $5 per letter.

Letters are 3-7 inches wide and 67/8 inches tall. Subject to availability.

All proceeds benefit Film Forum, a non-profit art house cinema since 1970. 
Click for more information and to purchase letters.

Victoria and Abdul

December 26, 2017

The wonderful British film director Stephen Frears creates another beautiful film, Victoria and Abdul based on the relationship between Queen Victoria and her Munshi (spiritual teacher) Abdul Karim. Frears treated us to such classics as The Queen, Mrs. Henderson Presents, High Fidelity, The Grifters, Prick Up Your Ears, and My Beautiful Laundrette. He continues to weave his charm with the delightful Victoria and Abdul. Often these biopics have no sense of humor. Frears injects humor throughout and it is only in the end where Victoria’s death brings sadness and chaos to Karim’s life. Let’s face it, Judi Dench could read the phone book and I’d sit there watching. Ali Fazal is effervescent as Abdul holding his own with Dame Judi. Victoria and Abdul recreates a bizarrely sweet moment in British monarchy history. I don’t care how accurate the film was, it made me laugh and held my interest throughout. 4 out of 5 for the luminous Queen and her Munshi.

Viceroy’s House

September 17, 2017

Gurinder Chadha’s (What’s Cooking, Bend it Like Beckham) personal film about the Partition of India during the 1940’s might be a bit light on the savagery of history, but it’s gorgeous to watch unfold. Chadha dedicates the film to her grandmother who was separated from her family during the Partition and miraculously found her way back to them. So if the film sometimes veers into Celine Dion crescendos, I give the director a pass since she’s telling the story from her very personal perspective of what the independence did to her own family. Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson play the Viceroy Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten perfectly. The costuming, sets (how did they manage to recreate the palace?), location shooting, and interiors all picture perfect as we’ve come to expect from U.K. and Indian productions. But the real stars of this film are Huma Qureshi and Manish Dayal as the Shakespearean lovers, Aalia and Jeet. Their story transforms the timeline from cold and political to deeply personal. Mr. Dayal can be difficult to watch at times because he is so alarmingly handsome, you, ok I forget to pay attention to the story. In the end, viewers of harsh, war-torn stories might be a taken aback by the simplicity and niceties of the film. I found the balance between the cruel world and Chadha’s modern lush creation satisfying. 3.5 out of 5.

For a taste of how Gurinder Chadha interprets the American Thanksgiving holiday, check out her Reel Charlie favorite What’s Cooking.

Jackie: A Tale of Two Sisters

July 1, 2017

Well executed 44-minute documentary, Jackie: A Tale of Two Sisters chronicles the lives and intersection of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis with her sister Lee Radziwill. Lots of great archival footage and photos. Wanted more but for under an hour the producers told the story of the two sisters in a concise, clear to understand format. 3.5 out of 5.

2017 NYC Pride March: Watch it LIVE!

June 25, 2017

Historic! ABC 7 in New York City is broadcasting the NYC Pride Parade live for the very first time ever! ABC7NY is the broadcast partner of the 2017 NYC Pride March. From WABC NY,

WABC-TV is the official television partner and broadcast the 48th NYC LGBT Pride March on Sunday, June 25, 2017.

The NYC Pride March started in 1970 as a civil rights demonstration on the 1-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Today, it is one of the world’s best known LGBT events, with 350 marching contingents and more than 2 million spectators in 2016.

WABC-TV broadcasts the annual trek down Fifth Avenue from Noon -3 p.m. on Channel 7 and on its website, abc7NY.

Watch it streaming on ABC 7’s website.

Antarctica: Ice and Sky

June 8, 2017

Watched the Luc Jaquet (March of the Penguins) documentary on the life of French glaciologist Claude Lorius, credited as the first scientist to discover evidence of climate change. The film is not a political or activist work. It is a quiet film about Lorius’ many expeditions and his findings. I felt the film could have used more editing. Still it is important to chronicle this man’s achievements. 3 out of 5.

Although the doc appears to be in French during the credits, the film is actually in English.

That Gay Episode: ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Comes Out Of The Closet (Decider)

May 9, 2017

Photos: HULU ; Illustration: Dillen phelps; from Decider

Brett White over at Decider continues the series, That Gay Episode this time focusing on the famous Mary Tyler Moore episode where Phyllis finds out her brother is gay. From Decider,

Gay people worry about how they’re perceived — not for vanity reasons, but survival reasons. The period of a gay person’s life — be they minutes, months or years — between acknowledging their queer identity and proudly flying a rainbow flag are a nonstop internal Q(ueer) & A session.”Do they know I’m gay?” “Wait, does this make me seem gay?” “When do I tell them I’m gay?” It’s hard to express who you now know you are when you’re dealing with people whose perceptions of you run back decades.

These are the issues at the heart of The Mary Tyler Moore Show‘s 1973 episode “My Brother’s Keeper.” Unlike Cheers‘ “The Boys in the Bar,” which tackled machismo and gay panic by making half the cast straight-up homophobes, “My Brother’s Keeper” saved its big gay reveal for the very end. To get all meta, this is a gay episode that literally plays it straight for 24 of its 25 minutes.

Read the full article.
Read Kenneth in the 212’s blog post about how this episode and other quintessential queer moments on television personally affected him.

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