San Francisco’s international LGBTQ film festival, Frameline, rolls into the Bay Area for its 41st year June 15-25, and we can’t wait to experience what the fest has to offer. One of the world’s largest celebrations of queer cinema, the mission of Frameline is to change the world with the power of these films. Frameline 2017 will feature 147 films from more than 19 countries, spanning the wide breadth of world-premiere features, documentaries, shorts and even episodic content.
With screenings in venues that span San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland, Frameline 2017 opens with The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, a documentary that honors a true literary treasure of San Francisco, the author of the legendary Tales of the City series.
Closing out the festival is After Louie, a drama starring Alan Cumming, who this year will also receive the annual Frameline Award honoring “a person or entity that has made a major contribution to LGBTQ representation in film, television, or the media arts.” Past recipients have included Divine and George Takei.
Below we round up 10 films we can’t wait to see at Frameline 2017:
Ambitious, sexy, and dryly humorous, 4 Days in France delineates a 36-year-old’s quest to see if the grass is greener away from his lover and their life together in Paris. Jérôme Reybaud’s witty debut alternates between being a languid chase film, a gorgeous road-trip movie, and a whimsical ode to sex with strangers.
A powerful mix of biopic and documentary, Against the Law uses the story of gay rights activist Peter Wildeblood to explore the nearly forgotten world of gay men who lived in England in the 1950s, an era when homosexuality was illegal and gay men were aggressively persecuted and prosecuted.
3. Beach Rats
It’s a hot summer in New York and Frankie isn’t having a good time. His Brooklyn doesn’t look like the gentrified, liberal enclave typically portrayed. A few subway stops away from some of the gay-friendliest areas in the country exists a tougher community unaccustomed to recent social progress in the United States.
In this audacious and sexy adaptation of a popular German novel, a self-confident teenage boy’s first dalliance with true love is challenged, and his unconventional family is nearly upended, by romantic betrayal and the unearthing of childhood secrets.
Who killed Marsha P. Johnson? In July 1992, Johnson’s body was found floating in the Hudson River near New York City’s Christopher Street Piers. The police deemed her death a suicide, but for those who knew her, this theory has never made sense.
Francis Lee’s striking debut feature, winner of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Directing award, tells the rich story of John Saxby, a hard-drinking Yorkshire lad who keeps his emotions in check until an irrepressible (and sexy) Romanian immigrant comes to help out on the family farm.
Isaac Julien’s prophetic black-and-white film from 1989 is now a classic. Langston uses every trick in the book to imagine a utopian moment already in danger, where race-crossing from black to white and back unites male bodies in and out of tuxedos, with and without champagne to toast their dalliances.
The story of Queercore begins at the start of a pseudo-movement in the mid-1980s, intended to punk the punk scene, but ultimately leading to the widespread rise of artists who used radical queer identity to push back equally against gay assimilation and homophobic punk culture.
Andres has two things going against him: he is gay and he is a counter-revolutionary writer living in 1983 Cuba. Ostracized and exiled by the government to a ramshackle hillside hut, Andres is nonetheless secretly at work on a new subversive book. When a political conference comes to town, country girl Santa, a member of the local informant committee, is assigned to monitor him for three days to prevent his causing any trouble.
10. Tom of Finland
The artistic work of Touko Laaksonen defined a frisky, sweaty, and joyous masculine sexuality that transformed the self-image—and fantasies—of a button-down, mid-century gay male world. In this handsome dramatic biopic, director Dome Karukoski focuses less on the famous art of the man known simply as “Tom of Finland.”