It’s time for the 27th edition of the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival and I’m back reviewing a selection of the films screening during this year’s event. This is always a highlight for me among the many film festivals that Toronto hosts throughout the year. It always promises to showcase some of the best offerings in LGBT cinema.
It is still common for many LGBT people from small towns and remote communities to face resistance and intolerance. These places are slow to adapt and change and often have close-minded attitudes about anything outside the norm. It’s usually an unwelcoming, and occasionally unsafe, environment to be openly gay so plans are often made by teens to move to some place more accepting as soon as possible. So goes the story of Miles Walton, a young gay man stuck in a dead-end town, desperate to get to Chicago in search of a better life. Nathan Aldoff’s latest film Miles taps into an experience that many outsiders searching for larger things in life can identify with and teaches the lesson to stand firm when you think what you’re doing is right.
What immediately catches everyone’s attention about Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo is of course its on-screen depiction of sex. Opening with an unsimulated 18-minute orgy scene in a gay sex club, the film makes a bold and provocative statement about modern gay life. The content never crosses the line of being exploitative or pornographic but it’s not for the faint-hearted. When two men make an unspoken connection in the midst of this unbridled passion, a bond is formed that propels them towards the destiny they’re meant to share together. Through spontaneous adventure through the streets of Paris and intimate conversation, they share experiences that will tie them together forever.
Terminal illness can strike any one of us at any moment. We all have that feeling that it happens to “other people”, and life-changing events such as this can make us completely re-examine what is important in life. At the heart of Chris Kelly‘s Other People is a lovable family who on one hand is slowly descending into a devastating loss but is also experiencing a cathartic transformation of healing and compassion. Through all their flaws and complexities, the family develops a bond that fundamentally changes who they are and each member is finally able to let go of past mistakes.