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Frameline44 Screens New LGBTQ Documentaries

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By Moira Sullivan

There were several excellent documentaries at the Frameline44 film festival that ended in September that are about LGBT culture. The importance of this festival for profiling new films that concern the lives of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders was certainly felt this year with these excellent films.
Cured (see clip above) is a new film directed by Patrick Sammon and Bennet Singer aboutthe American Psychiatric Association's 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. There was so much involved in this decision and the filmmakers take us on a journey to the beginnings of this important recall. The film is brilliantly edited to make this historical period come to life.
Ahead of the Curve
This documentary concerns the history of Curve magazine, a thriving, first glossy magazine about lesbians. Thefilm chronicles founder Franco Stevens and how her persistence kept the magazine flourishing from the early 90s through today. Directed b…

Ask Dr. Ruth - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan Ask Dr. Ruth is a strange hybrid of a movie, rather like Dr. Ruth herself.  It has an intriguing introduction: an animated sequence that suggested what young Ruth’s life was like as a child and an adolescent.  There is also footage of the town where she grew up before the Nazis took over and decimated her family.  Ruth was among a group of children who escaped the fate of their families.  The rest of the movie shows how Ruth eventually found true love, plus fame and fortune and all the rest of that stuff as a sex therapist.  Dr. Ruth fans will love it, others will be indifferent to it.  Anne Frank fans will dig in for their umpteenth reading of “The Diary of a Young Girl”.  One of the members of Movie Magazine met Dr. Ruth and thought she was weird.  That comes through in this documentary.  You can see it in the reactions of talk show hosts and their guests.© 2016 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 05/01/19
Movie Magazine International

Frameline44 Goes Virtual

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By Moira Sullivan The 44th Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco went virtual this year from September 17–27, 2020. It was a record breaking event with 75 films screened online. During the pandemic I am interested in seeing high quality features that are thought provoking and visionary. Two films were exceptional at this year’s Frameline: The Goddess of Fortune from Italy directed by Ferzan Özpetek and Forgotten Roads from Chile directed by Nicol Ruiz Benavides. The Goddess of Fortune is a multi character well crafted film with a wonderful ensemble of vocalists for the soundtrack. Two gay men Arturo, (Stefano Accorsi) and Alesandro (Edoardo Leo) on the verge of a breakup, receive a visit from a mutual friend. She is going to the hospital for tests and wants to leave her two children with them. It turns out the relationship is complicated since they all three were sexually involved in the past and one of her children may have been fathered byAlesandro. The film set design and set…

Mike Wallace is Here - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan“Mike Wallace is Here” tells the story of the “60 minutes” star who spent most of his career commenting on and analyzing the news.  News was his life, as it would be for his son Chris, 71.  Mike Wallace began his television career in 1949 with the police drama “Stand By For Crime” as Lieutenant Anthony Kidd.  That same year he was master of ceremonies on “Majority Rules” a quiz show which lasted two years.  In 1951 he was a moderator on “Guess Again” another quiz show and that same year he was a co host on “All About the Town” which lasted until 1952.  He was also a panelist in “What’s in a Word” in 1952.  Then he became the emcee on “Who’s the Boss” as well as being the emcee on “The Big Surprise.”  “The Mike Wallace” interviews followed in 1957 and 1958, then he moved on to “Who Pays” in 1959, “Biography from 1961-1964 and then many years of “60 Minutes”.  My problem with the career of Mike Wallace is that most of these shows tended to be rather glib.  Even when he…

22nd Far East Film Festival - Report 2

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By Moira Sullivan


The 22nd Far East Film Festival ended July 4 after 9 days and it was a huge online success with over 3000 card holders and 25,000 visits to the website where films were screened for accredited patrons. The festival works with the public because the organizers are so thoroughly prepared for this event directed by Sabrina Baracetti and Thomas Bertacche. It is a festival that specializes in popular film in East Asia with experts that provide detailed information about the films, and about the state of the film business in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The contacts with directors, distributors and producers is world class and many legendary directors visit the festival such as Takeshi Miike, Johnny To and Derek Tsang.

Derek Tsang’s Better Days was awarded the Golden Mulberry this year and it also took home the Audience Award– a film that was technically proficient with an engaging narrative. The competitive exams - the G…

John Lewis Good Trouble - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan

In the 1960’s, Life Magazine used to run articles about what was happening down South and for a Catholic school kid in California, the articles were a horrifying shock.  One of the articles featured John Lewis, who was nearly killed when a policeman tried to break up a peaceful march by cracking his skull open.  I couldn’t imagine him surviving such a blow, but survive he did and he outlived many of his contemporaries, many of whom were much bigger and stronger than him: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, and yet he endured.  He spoke at the March On Washington, and after watching many other documentaries and not finding any footage of John Lewis, I was surprised to find one of his speeches in Dawn Porter’s new film, “John Lewis: Good Trouble”.
I was also unfamiliar with the ins and outs of his troubled relationship with the late Julian Bond when John Lewis was campaigning against him for the Congressional seat he now holds.  Bond’s history with drugs was exposed b…

22nd Far East Film Festival UDINE ITALY

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By Moira Jean Sullivan
The 22nd Far East Film Festival (FEFF) located in UDINE ITALY is held online this year using the same platform as the Cannes Film Market  (Marché du Film) at the end of June. 46 films  are to be screened June 26 - July 4, 2020(4 world premieres) through memberships to the festival.
There have been many excellent films so far, and these are some of my favorites:
CHANGFENG TOWN (The City of Changfeng) directed by the young independent director WANG Jing  ( China 2019) is the story of a small rural village in Southern China. Complete with the village dentist, an ice cream machine and a corner cinema, It’s not hard to notice the stiff old movie chairs, mostly high back benches where classic Chinese films as well as foreign films are screened in the village square. Films such as Fellini’s La Strada and Truffaut’s 400 Blows are screened every night. A gang of young boys get into all kinds of mischief with each other and the villagers. "Red Head "is in love wit…