The North Bend Film Festival opens today and runs through July 18. Online ticketing is available, but is geo-locked to residents of Washington, Oregon or Idaho. In the future, these movies may be available through alternate venues—stay tuned to this website for updates.
Swan Song (dir. Todd Stephens)— Opening night feature Swan Song is the most shamelessly sentimental and fabulous biopic I’ve had the pleasure of watching. My greatest complaint is the by-the-books competence of its actual crafting, but that quiet framework allows Udo Kier to re-enact the heartwarming final days of Pat Pitsenberger, hair stylist for the well-heeled and well-connected country-club set of 1980s Ohio.
Pat’s unabashedly gay mien makes up for Swan Song‘s rote style. We first meet him suffering the tedious indignities of nursing home life. Pat’s daily routine of unfolding and refolding the facility’s paper napkins is interrupted by a lawyer summoning him to ‘do one last favor for an old client: style her hair for her funeral. His journey from living death on Sandusky’s outskirts into the remnants of its underground gay havens is bittersweet, but heavily dosed with witty flamboyance (Pat is surprised when a store clerk recognizes him; she exclaims, “Who could forget ‘the Liberace of Sandusky’?” Pat’s response: “Was I that butch?”).
Swan Song also explores the gay community’s dramatic culture change from forty years ago to the relative openness of today. Watching two dads playing with their kids in the park, Pat observes “I wouldn’t even know how to be gay any more.” Sentimental, perhaps, but proud as well. Much like the glorious queens and queers of days gone by.
Luchadoras (dir. Paola Calvo, Patrick Jasim)—Life in Cuidad Juarez is hard, and even harder for women. The city is home of countless unsolved murders, and a masculine attitude with a mean streak. Luchadoras explores these phenomena through the lens of three “women fighters,” as the title’s translation makes clear. I initially felt this clarification was superfluous. It was only after watching the whole documentary that I realized its necessity. These women fight for everything: their livelihood, family, and self-esteem. That’s what attracts them to the world of luchadora combat: at least on the ring, they fight on their own terms, with their own kind, and for their own satisfaction.
One fighter, Lady Candy, is trying to attain partial custody of her children after they were kidnapped by their abusive father and brought to live in El Paso. Baby Starlight is aging, so her chances of Continue reading NORTH BEND FILM FESTIVAL 2021, FEATURES PART 1: FIVE FILMS FOR YOU