Frameline44 Goes Virtual

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 setting in parts of Italy including Palarmo in Sicily is excellent.

In the introduction of the film are shots of an old Italian home with disturbing illustrations of children and cries by them in the background not to be locked up. This turns out to be the family home of Ann Marie Muscarà (Jasmine Trinca) that she fled years before. Her mother Elena Muscarà (Barbara Alberti) is glad to receive her grandchildren when Arturo and Alesandro are about to split up, but then the skeltons in the closet come out after they turn over the children to her. In this the mother that caused their beloved Ann Marie to run away shows her homophobia and also her control issues with children. Her vast wealth has been used to spy on the two men and she tries to keep the children her daughter has entrusted them to take care of. The film is described as a romantic comedy, but it is not that at all, but a drama with moments of lightness touching on some of the tragedies of life.

Forgotten Roads is set in a small Peruvian town. 70-year-old Claudina (Rosa Ramírez Ríos) has just lost her husband and moves into a town with her daughter. She becomes intrigued by the neighbor across the way - Elsa (Romana Satt). They become good friends and then lovers and frequent a house outside of town where transgenders lesbians and gay men meet. Claudina loves them and is happy for the first time, in love for the first time. The provincial town is against their LGBT inhabitants and at the same time provide a runway of candles for UFO’s that are sighted in the area. The small town ironically is Lautaro, the name of the leader of the indigenous resistance of the Spanish colonists of Chile in the 16th century The film is enchanting and moving and was my favorite¬ at Frameline 44.

The documentaries at this festival were exceptionally good and I will review some of them next week.

2020 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 09/30/2020
Movie Magazine International