It's been a great 12 months for queer-themed cinema. Moonlight won last year's best picture Oscar, Call Me By Your Name had everyone swooning and transgender drama A Fantastic Woman not only wowed festival crowds, but also picked up this year's best foreign-language Academy Award. They're just the big players, however. There's plenty of other top LGBTIQ+ cinema where they came from. And, in even better news, much of it is heading to Melbourne for the 2018 Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
Running through the numbers, it's shaping up to be another impressive fest when MQFF hits up ACMI, Kino Cinemas and Cinema Nova from March 15 to 26. Across its 12 days and 85 sessions, film buffs can expect 38 features, 14 documentaries and 72 shorts. That includes two world premieres, 12 Australian premieres and 21 Melbourne premieres — and, from all of that, we've selected our five best picks of the bunch.
What happens when a couple suddenly meets the grandson they never knew they had? Plenty — and when that hard-partying pair is played by Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd, expect plenty more to occur as well. It's not the first time they've starred together, nor the first time they've shared the screen and pondered the meaning of family, with 2011's Our Idiot Brother also featuring on their respective resumes. Here, however, expect a warm queer comedy about the the connections of kin (be it of blood or of choice) of all shapes and sizes.
A sensitive, involving and exceptionally acted German drama that'll tempt your tastebuds and touch your heart, The Cakemaker explores the aftermath of a chance meeting, a passionate affair and a tragic accident — all while acknowledging the many complexities that exist when it comes to love. Berlin-based pastry chef Tomas (Tim Kalkhof)not only falls head-over-heels for Israel businessman Oren (Roy Miller), but is driven to act when their romance is cut short. Tracking down Oren's widow Anat (Sarah Adler) in Jerusalem, Tomas finds a new bond forming over unspoken grief and appetising baked goods.
Never far from the headlines in both life and death, '50s and '60s star Jayne Mansfield was an actress, Golden Globe winner and Playboy playmate. She was also accused of being a Satanist, and became the subject of a persistent myth that she was decapitated in the car accident that claimed her life. Focusing on her final years, Mansfield 66/67 touches on all of the above — and includes interpretative dance sequences in its camp compilation, because why not? John Waters, Kenneth Anger, Peaches Christ and Tippi Hedren rank among the interviewees in a documentary that definitely isn't your standard behind-the-scenes effort.
From its style of stop-motion animation to its heartfelt true coming-of-age tale, every inch of Torrey Pines should feel hand- and homemade. That's because it is. An autobiographical effort from trans animator Clyde Petersen, the film dives into his '90s upbringing as a Star Trek fan with a schizophrenic mother, takes viewers on their road trip across the US, and explores everything that arises when you're with grappling with identity and sexuality. It's also stuffed full of pop culture references, including pop to Australia's own Crocodile Dundee.
Enjoying its world premiere at MQFF, So Long has a stronger Aussie connection — made in Melbourne by filmmakers Caitlin Farrugia and Michael Jones, it adds lesbian mumblecore to the country's cinematic output. You might recognise the general story of two just-single twentysomethings navigating life and love might, and there's no doubting that we've all seen that scenario many times before. Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt, however, particularly when it's both realistic and relatable.