Thursday, June 01, 2006

SIFF Shorts: Crazy Teenagers

While Siffblog is down, I thought I'd post these re-
views here. You can find revised versions there.

(Jean-Marc Vallée, Canada, 129 mins.)

Funny, moving, and highly tuneful, C.R.A.Z.Y. trumps most
of the gay coming-of-age films that have preceded it. Montreal writer/director Vallée (Liste Noire) pulls off the feat simply by painting an indelible portrait of an entire family, particularly
the relationship between stern father and free-spirited son,
and not just the efforts by the latter to define his sexuality.

He also sidesteps (or at least subverts) many of the clichés that
have hampered the genre. Worth watching for the sequence in
the Catholic Church alone, in which Zachary (Marc-André Gron-
din)—the "Z" in C.R.A.Z.Y.imagines the entire congregation sing-
ing along to "Sympathy for the Devil." Totally transcendent.

In the end, it's their shared love for music that helps the David Bowie-loving Zac and Patsy Cline-worshipping Gervais (the fantastic Michel Côté) weather the storm that is their turbulent family life from 1960 to 1980. One of my favorites of the festival.

Here's a list of the songs featured in the film:

Patsy Cline - "Back in Baby's Arms," "I Fall to Pieces," and "Crazy," Charles Aznavour (and Michel Côté) - "Emmène-moi" and "Hier Encore," Stories - "Brother Louie," Perez Prez Prado, King of Mambo - "Mambo Jambo," Pink Floyd - "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "The Great Gig In The Sky," David Bowie (and

Marc-André Grondin) - "Space Oddity," the Rolling Stones - "Sympathy for the Devil," Roy Buchanan - "The Messiah Will
Come Again," Jefferson Airplane - "White Rabbit," Timmy Thomas - "Why Can't We Live Together," Robert Charlebois - "Tout Ecartillé," Elvis Presley - "Santa Claus Is Back in Town," Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal - "Minuit Chrétien," "Carol of the Bells, and "Del Elisir Mirabile / Elisir D'Amore," and Chorovaya Akademia / Alexander Sedov - "Nine Sili Nebesniye / Ancient Echoes."


(Wash Westmore-

land and Richard Glat-
zer, US, 90 mins.)

The Year of Peckinpah—The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Proposition, etc.—continues with this Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner.

Granted, Quinceañera may not look like one of Sam's films,
but it features one of his favorite actor/crew members, Chalo González (The Wild Bunch, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), as benificent octagenerian Tio Tomas. The longtime Echo Park dweller takes in 14-year-old Magdalena (Emily Rios, left) when she becomes pregnant and her part-time preacher father refuses to have anything to do with her.

Together, Tio, Magdalena, and gay cholo cousin Carlos (Jesse Garcia) start to form a family when tragedy strikes again...and yet again. Still, the directors manage to pull a happy—or at least hopeful—ending out of their hat(s). They also gave me the opportunity to have a good cry. Though produced by Safe's Todd Haynes, Quinceañera plays more like a film by Our Song's Jim McKay set to a reggaeton beat. Recommended.

Note: Images from the IMDb. C.R.A.Z.Y. song listing from
the official website. For more information about these screen-
ings, please visit The Seattle International Film Festival.

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