Whatever your brand of queer, NewFest has got you covered. The most undiscriminating film festival in the world, NewFest recognizes the diversity of New York’s gay community by scrupulously programming its lineup of 200-plus films with all the colors of the rainbow in mind. Bears, twinks, dinge queens, chicks with dicks, chubby chasers, chicken hawks, bull dykes, muscle fags, hustlers and the men who buy them—NewFest pleases all, except for the breeders who will inevitably confuse the fest’s box office at the AMC Loews on 34th Street for advance sales of Knocked Up.
Jerry Falwell is dead—Tinky Winky sad—and the crusade to legitimize gay marriage rages on. Sure, the festival program is still chockablock with hackneyed stories about hustlers and tweakers that exist only to glorify the perfect male schlong (sex sells!), but this year’s slate is also notable for docs, like God Only Knows: Same Sex Marriage, that capture and examine gay rights and religious faith at precarious crossroads. Fifty years from now, when queers can legally shack up even in Dubya’s home state, will we praise NewFest for paving the way?
A more pressing question: Why are lesbian flicks in such short supply here? Perhaps a future symposium will reveal that lesbians are less interested in making movies than gay men or that distribution companies are more willing to bank- roll boy-on-boy stories. But for now, one thing is for sure: Tripe like Nina’s Heavenly Delights, with its tired mix of ethnic-identity trauma and food porn, shouldn’t be indulged. A more sincere nostalgia trip is Kirsi Liimatainen’s Sonja, which coasts on fuzzy aesthetic vibes that neatly jibe with the angst and anticipatory anxieties of a horned-up young girl’s Sapphic awakening. It’s no Fucking Åmål but it’ll suffice.
As always, art fags must trek through an arduous high grass of fetishistic shorts, sub- Ducastel-Martineau blather like L’Homme De Sa Vie (The Man of My Life), adorably slight political statements (My Super 8 Season, about gay activism in 1970s Paris, coddles those who had trouble with Regular Lovers‘ torpor), and a predictable string of shrill rom-coms to find their best-in-show. Last year it was Two Drifters, and though I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve seen RuPaul tearing up the action extravaganza Starrbooty, this year’s top dog may be Glue, a sticky, poetic reflection on carnal pleasure intensely keyed to the wonderful-miserable experience of being an outsider teen. In its bid to sate every taste, NewFest even satisfies a former skater dork like myself.