The Sundance Film Festival held in Park City in Utah is universally regarded as the foremost showcase for
American independent films. Past Festivals have included films that have literally charted
the history of independent cinema: sex lies and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hoop Dreams,
Memento, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Thirteen.
This year's Festival is about
to come to an end, but we've been checking out two gay-themed Festival hits at this year's Sundance
to look out for, if and when they're shown here in the UK.
Touch Of Pink|
A comic clash of cultures, values, and sexuality, Ian Iqbal Rashid's Touch of Pink
cleverly borrows from several cinematic traditions to concoct this romantic romp.
Alim is an Ismaili Canadian who lives in London, thousands of miles from his family,
for one very good reason--he has a boyfriend. His ideal gay life begins to unravel
when his mother shows up to find him a proper Muslim girlfriend and convince him
to return to Canada for his cousin's extravagant wedding.
As orchestrated by Rashid,
this classic cast of characters perform marvellously, creating opposing worlds that
begin to collide--the judgmental mother, crazy relatives, a bevy of trendy Londoners,
and especially Jimi Mistry as the confused Alim.|
But the most ingenious device is
the Topper-esque ghost of Cary Grant who appears in Alim's fantasy world. Kyle MacLachlan
does a hilarious star turn as Grant instructs Alim on the finer points of living in
the closet. Rashid's love of cinema is obvious in every frame. He interweaves nostalgia
with modern subject matter.
Pace and comic timing are perfect as Alim is coaxed to a
place where he must finally decide his own destiny. Touch of Pink begins like a
sugar-dipped confection, but it leaves much stronger medicine in its wake.
John CooperTouch Of Pink has just been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for world-wide distribution.
Brother To Brother
Rich in heart and intelligence, Rodney Evans's first feature pays homage to art,
intellectual ancestry, and the strength to persevere in the face of social injustice.
Both an artistic and political achievement, Brother to Brother offers a rare glimpse of
what it means to be a black, gay artist today as well as during the Harlem Renaissance,
and marks Evans as a brave and unique voice in American cinema.
Perry Williams is a
talented young artist working and studying in New York. Art world success is
knocking at his door, but Perry is afraid of "selling out" to a white privileged world.
At the same time, community and family support is elusive as he endures homophobic barbs
from his black classmates, rejection by his father, and a disappointingly fetishistic
relationship with his handsome white lover.
Then Perry meets Bruce Nugent, a living
relic, who was a poet and painter of the Harlem Renaissance, along with Langston Hughes,
Zora Neale Hurston, and Wallace Thurman.
Surreal narrative turns land him in the middle of
scandalous parties and dinners in 1930s Harlem, and Perry learns that his struggle
is not new and what is most important is a strong self- image and a commitment to
preserve truth and nurture his artistic spirit.