Thursday, 20 May 2010

Inside Out 2010: Strella, The Owls & Prima Donna

Above: Strella: A Woman's Way

Strella: A Woman's Way
Dir: Panos H. Koutras
Cast: Yannis Kokiasmenos, Mina Orfanou, Minos Theoharis

Strella: A Woman's Way is one of those films that is so amazing that I want to just flat-out recommend it to everyone without saying more, because it's just that good that walking in blind would be an awesome way to see it. But, I can understand that you might want a little more to go on so I'll give you more. Centred on the unlikely relationship between the recently released from prison Yiorgos (Yannis Kokiasmenos) and transsexual prostitute Strella (Mina Orfanou). After they run into each other at a hotel in Athens, their lives begin to intertwine with ease and their relationship grows deeper. As the film moves on we are privy to an epic modern day tragedy that is remarkably told through brilliant storytelling. The story is quite honestly, and literally, perfect as it sensitively portrayed by the stunning cast. Yannis Kokiasmenos is charismatic and bold as Yiorgos and Mina Orfanou is compelling and complex in the role of Strella. I felt for them deeply, through each step on their journey. Absolutely spectacular.

Strella: A Woman's Way screens at Inside Out on:
Monday May 24, 2010 at 2:15pm at the ROM

The Owls
Dir: Cheryl Dunye
Cast: Guinevere Turner, V.S. Brodie, Skyler Cooper, Deak Evgenikos, Cheryl Dunye, Lisa Gornick

I was sold on The Owls right from 'experimental thriller' in the description. Add that it has a whole meta element to it and I was sucked right in. Using a combination of storytelling styles from narrative to documentary we see the story how the unfold as well as how it was created. The unusual technique allows the Owls (older, wiser, lesbians) to be shown if different lights both dramatically in the narrative as well as discussed, explored and reflected through the talking head style segments. It's like having a 360 vision on a project from process to completion, giving it a distinct collaborative vibe and making it no surprize that it was created by a collective (The Parliament Film Collective). But, being a thrilled it does have it's own suprizes for which it keeps you guessing and on edge throughout.

The Owls screens at Inside Out on:
Monday May 24, 2010 at 7:15pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre

Above: Prima Donna: The Story of Rufus Wainwright's Debut Opera

Prima Donna: The Story of Rufus Wainwright's Debut Opera
Dir: George Scott

I'm always curious for the films included in the Icon Documentary Series, at Inside Out and Prima Donna: The Story of Rufus Wainwright's Debut Opera was a prime pick as a must-see for me. Documentary on performing arts? Always a yes. I came into the film with only peripheral knowledge of Rufus Wainwright and left with knowing a lot about him. Knowing way more about him, than his opera Prima Donna which I did think would be the focus here. But, it's still a fascinating documentary and one of the things that it highlights is that he really has his own vision and always does his own thing. Add that to a collaborative effort like creating an opera and I totally anticipated tension, disaster, etc.... but not so much. It's there, but again isn't the focus. What we do see of the opera is absolutely stunning, and I loved how they discussed opera, theatre and music and their different audiences and creators but the film really is about Rufus Wainwright. But in my book that is just fine, he's an dynamic and talented artist who can easily hold our attention and interest as he not only entertains but also inspires.

Prima Donna: The Story of Rufus Wainwright's Debut Opera screens at Inside Out on:
Friday May 28, 2010 at 5:30pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre

For more information, check out the Inside Out website, Film Schedule, Festival Planner, Online Box Office, Ticket Availability, Box Office Information, Venue Information and Party Information.

The Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival 2010 runs from May 20-30, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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