2011 Year in Review: Movies
On the lighter side
Thankfully, there was plenty of fun to be had in 2011’s comedies, which were fresh and funky – and more often than not, incredibly offbeat. Gigola was a pure guilty pleasure built around gender bending. A French romp set in the swinging '60s, it tells the tale of Gigola, a female gigolo who gets all the ladies — and then has them pay her for the pleasure. It was goofy and even a little soft-core porn-y at times, but nonetheless a very good time if you were in the mood for a little guilty pleasure.
Joe + Belle was perhaps even further off the beaten path, an Israeli film about a girl who climbs into another girl’s bathtub to commit suicide, but instead ends up killing her boyfriend. Of course, they go on the lamb and fall in love, making this little black comedy romp complete with murder, bombs, and dropped bodies.
If you wanted some tunes to go with your laughs, you’d be happy to know that Jamie and Jessie are Not Together was a sweet, very funny musical about two best friends who are not in a relationship, despite what everyone around them may think. A little offbeat, but mostly very sweet and down to earth, this was arguably the best romantic comedy of the year.
Not down to earth at all (and all the better for it) was the wacky, Woody Allen-inspired Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, a black and white riff on 50s schlock sci-fi, starring, of course, a lesbian space alien. You’d be hard-pressed to find a flick more dedicated to its bizarre (and wonderful) vision this year.
Truly in a class of its own was Elektra Luxx, presenting a delightful world of strippers, porn stars, and call girls, some of which are totally attracted to one another. Starring Carla Gugino, it was precisely the guilty pleasure that Sucker Punch rightfully should have been. Our own Dorothy Snarker wrote of one of the film’s best and most Sapphic elements in her preview:
… besides noticing a blond bombshell Gugino, you probably noticed a delightfully daffy Adrianne Palicki. She returns in the sequel as unsuccessful porn star Holly Rocket who is madly in love with her call girl best friend/roommate Bambi (Entourage’s Emmanuelle Chriqui). Honey, I can relate. OK, not about the porn star/call girl stuff, but the secretly in love with your roommate stuff. That’s like Lesson No. 4 in the Big Lesbian Handbook.
All together now
The most important thing a lesbian film — or any film, for that matter, is to resonate with an audience and make a statement. It can be as simple as Gigola’s playful gender twisting, as nuanced as Pariah’s take on identity, or as clearly stated as much of this year’s documentary work was on fairness and human rights. Importantly, interesting work was coming from queer women filmmakers this year as new voices offered fresh perspectives and both silliness and seriousness were equally well represented. There’s never been a better time to pick up a camera — or for that matter, a queer film festival ticket.