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Walker Queer Takes Film Series Offers Cinematic Cornucopia

By Lavender June 5, 2008

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Three marvelous queer classics, an Oscar-winning lesbian-themed documentary, and a groundbreaking film on intersex are part of this year’s Queer Takes: Visibly Out film series, in which Walker Art Center presents its third consecutive year of international and off-the-beaten track selections about queer experience.

Series curator Dean Otto has been especially concerned about film preservation of queer-oriented films. He warns that some of our history actually could be lost. Therefore, this year’s Queer Takes is focused on work being preserved by the Outfest Legacy Project in Los Angeles.

Otto says, “For instance, Parting Glances, a movie that was so successful, and made so much money 20 years ago, would have been lost. We would be losing so much of our recent history if we didn’t step up our efforts for preservation. Parallel with that is my interest in documenting and preserving our stories with people who have passed.”

Some highlights:

• Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell looks at the life of the avant-garde composer who died of AIDS in 1992.

• Chris & Don: A Love Story depicts the intergenerational same-sex relationship of iconic gay writer Christopher Isherwood (Berlin Stories) and painter Don Bachardy, who was dismissed by some in their circle as a mere “boy toy.”

• Parting Glances (1986) recounts the story of a man in New York who stands to lose his lover to job relocation abroad and best friend to AIDS.

• Born in Flames (1983) is Lizzie Borden’s futuristic and militant vision of race, gender, and sex.

•The Living End (1992)—in a remixed and remastered version—reprises Gregg Araki’s gem about an HIV-positive man and a hustler who throw caution to the wind.

• XXY, directed by Lucia Penzo—released just last year—is one of the few feature films ever to deal with persons with intersex conditions.

• Freeheld, Cynthia Wade’s 2007 Oscar-winning short subject documentary about a lesbian couple’s legal battles, is riveting.

• On the Downlow reflects on the challenge of men who have sex with men on the side secretly.

• Pariah is a short about a lesbian teen with multiple identities.

• Boystown (Chuecatown) draws from a Spanish comic book about a bearish couple—it’s reminiscent of the fab films of Pedro Almodovar.

• Vivere, with German screen legend Hannelore Elsner, is informed by lesbian attraction.

• Before I Forget (Avant que j’oublie) poignantly portrays an aging hustler’s dilemma.

For more information, as well as screening dates and times, visit www.walkerart.org.

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