Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

Three and a half films,

I skipped the festival on Thursday to go and see the excellent Swedish horror film Let the right one in which has some interesting divergences from the Lundqvist novel on which it is based being a little less visceral in its violence and somewhat more lyrical in its tone. We don't get as much of the variously doomed neighbours who just get in the way of the vampire Eli's needs and we don't get any of the cop Gunnar who is trying to make sense of the whole thing. What we do get is the tender but also nightmarish relationship between Eli and the boy Oscar, who is quietly pragmatic about Eli's gender and vampirism and innate murderousness to a point that skirts the edge of sanity.

Eli kills people and Oscar doesn't care very much as long as they are people he doesn't know very well or who are murderously mean to him; in a sense, that is what it is to be twelve and that is also how people become Renfield - the best vampires catch their servants young.

The whole thing is a wonderful amoral antidote to sparkliness...


So, tonight, I just made it through traffic in time for a likable HBO documentary When I Knew which is a lot of talking heads discussing their first realization that they were gay. I liked it in spite of my mild irritation that, as far as I could see, no one who appeared was trans. Hello folks, those of us who are trans have that coming out, sure, but quite a lot of us also have the entirely separate process of coming out as gay or lesbian. Some of us even have really complicated sexual histories like mine where I accepted I was trans, slept with a lot of guys and a couple of women pre-transition, and then came out as a lesbian a couple of years after my surgery. I guess that trans people are a bit complex, dark and twisty for nice shiny HBO documentaries - and I did like the film - but I am going to moan about trans invisibility BECAUSE I CAN.

The evening's stunning film was Lady Trojans a documentary about a women's basket-ball team at a Tucson Arizona High School in the 90s and the intense lesbian sub-culture that grew up within the team. One of the stars of the team was Annameeke Hesik, who by our good fortune kept a lot of video material as well as her love poetry; Anna's half-sister is a documentary film maker who has put together this wonderful retrospect to young women falling in love, playing sports and deriving from their passion for the one a triumphant energy in the other, and vice versa. It is good on the straight best friend who finds herself quietly sidelined and on the fairly cruel conquests of butch Quinn the heart-breaker of the team. It is very much told from Anna's point of view, and yet the interviews with Quinn are fair-minded and oddly charming - you can see from the Quinn of today how devastating she must have been back in the day. It's like Bend it like Beckham or Bring it On if they were documentaries and much much slashier...

I was a bit less impressed by The Lost Coast without having anything about it that I particularly disliked. The trouble is, it's that film, that film that young film-makers always make, about people wandering round a city aimlessly, at night, and sorting out their emotional entanglements, or failing to do so in an angsty way. This time it's San Francisco with Halloween in the Castro, and Jasper who identifies as straight but had a fling of sorts with his best friend Mark back at high school, when Mark was dating Lisa, who still lives with him even though he is now out...They wander around with Mark's mildly obnoxious sort of boyfriend Caleb; go to a party; get lost on the bus; make a terrible discovery in the park; and end up, having completely failed to have a good time, on the beach at dawn.

And what we learn from this movie is, children, that you should always plan your schemes of desperate fun because otherwise things end in tears. Also, you should probably kiss people you shag if you want them to move on from denial...It was attractively shot, did some irritatingly unreliable timeshift sequences ( stuff that looked as if it were later in the sequence of the film turns out to be flashbacks to a high school trip, except that the characters are wearing the clothes they wear for Halloween in the present day) and does some interesting stuff with moving around in what appears to be real time. Perfectly OK, but not one of my movies...
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