“Fiona’s Script”, playing at 7pm June 22 at Berkeley’s Elmwood, deals with an Oakland woman making the transition from straight to bisexual to lesbian. Her main outlet is putting her feelings into her script but complications arise due to her own struggles coming to terms with her own sexuality – whatever it is. A first feature from new director Florencia Manovil, the filmmaker shows promise and also does a beautiful job showcasing the underrated city of Oakland as a backdrop.
Lesbians and coming out also play a larger role in “I Can’t Think Straight,” about a 4-time engaged Muslim woman raised by traditional parents who catches them off-guard when she tells them she prefers the company of women, and soon finds her soul mate in the arms of an outspoken Palestinian woman. Our lead actresses are both extremely beautiful and if this were a big budget Hollywood film with Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox that might be a hindrance. But in “Straight” it’s an asset as it breaks down stereotypes that lesbians are mostly butch dykes. And it doesn’t hurt that both actresses do credible jobs and the passion seems real. “Straight” is one of the centerpieces for the festival and plays at 9:30pm on June 22 at the Castro.
One of the best films featuring lesbian characters is “Not Fade Away,” which screened Saturday in San Francisco and will show again at 7pm on Wednesday at Berkeley’s Elmwood. While the lead character Angie (Liz Jahren) is a lesbian, the story is not about that. It’s just part of who she is and not what the movie is all about. Instead, the focus is on her carrying for her mother with Alzheimer’s, brilliantly portrayed by Oscar nominee Shirley Knight.
Angie’s struggles to find care for her mother while she goes off to work at a Sonoma Winery is nothing compared to her daily interaction with her mother not knowing what year it is or walking out of the house and get lost in her own neighborhood not to mention her own thoughts.
First time actress Jahren brings honesty to her role that, in part thanks to the way the movie was filmed, you might think you are watching a heartbreaking episode of reality TV.
The writing and directing team of Susan and Wayne Boyer have mastered their topic and it goes without questioning that at some time in their lives, they have dealt with this topic head on.
You can still catch “Patrik 1.5” at 7pm on June 23 at the Castro and “Redwoods” at 6:30pm on June 24 at the Victoria. And, although not available for an early screening, “Prodigal Son” shows promise and can be seen at 7:30pm on June 24 at the Castro.
For more information, go to www.frameline.org.