Imprisoned in Turin at GLBT fest
by Boyd van Hoeij
29/04/2009 - The 24th edition of the Turin GLBT Film Festival will end tomorrow with an out-of-competition screening of Alfonso Albacete and David Menkes’ Spanish film Sex, Party and Lies [trailer]. It was another Spanish film, Nacho Velilla’s Chef's Special [trailer], that opened the festival on April 23.
Imprisonment, whether literal or symbolical, was a recurring topic in the competition films, with Pablo Trapero’s Argentinian film Lion’s Den and The Inmate from the Philippines both set largely inside a prison. Spanish competition feature My Prison Yard [trailer] by newcomer Belén Macías also takes place behind bars, where a new prison guard (Candela Pena) tries to convince the incarcerated women to put on a play.
The film benefits from the high-energy performance of actress Veronica Echegui, whose character Isabel returns triumphant to her friends in prison after a failed heist. But Macías, who got her start in TV, tries to cram in too many clichés to allow the film to breathe of its own accord.
Also about limits and confines, though not in a prison environment, is Joachim Lafosse’s Private Lessons [trailer, film focus], one of the strongest contenders shown in Turin. It uses the everyday of a mentor-student relationship to explore the limits of the acceptable.
From Germany comes the feature Light Gradient, which opens with a sense of possibility and freedom that lacked in most other competition entries. As the film wears on, director Jan Krüger forces his two freewheeling protagonists into a situation that seems to become a tired cliché but instead turns into something different.
European co-productions in competition include Brillante Mendoza’s Serbis and Kit Hung’s Soundless Wind Chime.
The awards will be handed out at a ceremony tomorrow.