This will be my last article during my time at the Iris Film Festival. I made some amazing friends and watched hours of fantastic films. Not only were they showing international short films but also full-length features, which were also in competition. I did write a review for some of the films. However, due to prior engagements, I wasn’t able to view all the films. So instead of writing reviews, I will just give you a synopsis of each one, and then you may (or may not) watch them yourself! Thank you for sticking with me and reading my articles. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!
The Book of Gabrielle
Director: Lisa Gornick
Plot: What happens when a lesbian who wishes to be a man meets a man who makes her change her mind? Gabrielle is an artist and writer working on How To Do It, a graphic book about sex. Her inspiration was Saul, an older novelist whose explicit writing enthralled and repelled her since childhood. When the two meet, Saul is intrigued and turned on by Gabrielle’s sexuality, While Gabrielle believes she can explore her inner masculinity through Saul. But will they unblock one another or simply get in each other’s way?
Director: Erlingur Thoroddsen
Language: Icelandic with English subtitles
Plot: Months after they broke up, Gunnar receives a mysterious phone call from his ex-boyfriend Einar. He sounds distraught and concerned that he might harm himself. Gunnar drives out to a remote, secluded cabin where Einar is staying. But once there, he realizes that there is much more to this situation than he could possibly have imagined. As the two men come to terms with their broken relationship, they become aware of another presence. Someone is outside the cabin, and they want to come in.
Director: Jennifer Reeder
Language: Urdu, Spanish, and English with English subtitles.
Plot: Zaynab is a thirty-something Muslim lawyer living in Chicago with her recently widowed mother, Parveen. She’s also a lesbian, and has started training in the art of Lucha libre, or Mexican wrestling – both things she would rather keep from her mother. While Parveen tries finding her only daughter a suitable husband, Zaynab begins a new romance with Alma, a vivacious, outgoing Mexican-American whose own mother is a retired ‘Luchadora’. But how will Zaynab juggle career, culture, family, and romance?
Palace Of Fun
Director: Eadward Stocks
Plot: A chance meeting in a nightclub begins a summer romance for Lily and Finn. Instantly smitten with one another, Lily invites Finn to spend the week with her at her family’s opulent Sussex home, while her parents are holidaying in Italy. But their romantic break is disrupted when Lily’s brother Jamie discovers a revealing secret about Finn, and uses it to play a dangerous and sinister game with his sister’s new flame.
Prom King, 2010
Director: Christopher Schaap
Plot: Charlie is a New York college student who loves love itself, especially when it comes to movies. From James Dean and Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause to Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in Rebecca, his idealized picture of romance is accompanied by sweeping strings and soft focus. But when Charlie’s own romantic pursuits lead to icky online hook-ups, seedy bathrooms, and encounters by cute but closeted freshmen, he begins to wonder if being gay is compatible with the kind of Technicolour love story he always dreamed of.
Director: Eliza Hittman
Plot: Frankie, an aimless teenager, living on the outer legends of Brooklyn, is having a miserable summer. With his father’s dying and his mother wanting him to find a girlfriend, Frankie escapes the bleakness of his home life by causing trouble with his friends and flirting with older men online. His chatting and webcamming intensify, and he begins hooking up with men at a nearby cruising beach, while reluctantly entering a relationship with a young woman, Simone. As Frankie struggles to reconcile these competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling toward unavoidable consequences.
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Language: Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Plot: In Between follows the lives of three Israeli-Palestinian women sharing an apartment in Tel Aviv. Away from the constraints of tradition, they find themselves ‘in between’ the unfettered lives they aspire to lead and the restrictions still imposed on them by their Country and Family.
Laila, a lawyer, craves the love of a good man and thinks she’s found one in Ziad. Salma falls for a beautiful trainee doctor but is forced to keep their lesbian relationship a secret. And Laila and Salma’s partying comes as a shock to the more traditional and reserved Nour, who is set for an arranged marriage to the deceptively charming Wissam. A shocking series of events pushes the three girls’ beliefs to the limit and could change their lives forever while sealing the bond of their friendship.
Director: Marcelo Caetano
Language: Portuguese with English subtitles
Plot: An erotic tale of identity and sexuality set in modern day Brazil. Elias works as an assistant designer in a clothing factory. As the distance between his professional and personal life closes, Elias explores is desires, invigorated by the freedom offered through his companions. Against the warnings of his superiors, Elias takes to socializing into the night with his coworkers.
Director: John Trengove
Country: South Africa
Language: Xhosa, Afrikanas, and English with English subtitles
Plot: Xolani, a lonely factory worker joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood, through the controversial Xhosa practice of Ukwaluka. But with a defiant initiate from the city discovers Xolani’s best-kept secret, his entire world starts to unravel.
Director: Craig Boreham
Plot: In the final moments of his 17th year, Miklos Varga’s world comes crumbling down. His plans to run away and escape the hold of his migrant family are brutally undone by the accidental death of his older brother, Tomi, and only Mik known what led to his tragedy, As far as he can see, there is only person to blame: himself. Mik is torn between the desire to head North with his friend Dan, and an obligation to his broken family. Can he fill the shoes of adored brother, or is he destined to bring ruin upon everyone he loves?