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The Best of the Fest

Rafiki

Originally banned in its native land as it was seen to be promoting homosexuality, Rafiki was the first ever Kenyan film to be featured at the Cannes Film festival. It tells the story of two female students from a Kenyan housing estate who fall in love, in spite of the challenges they face from disapproving families and conservative society.

José

Set among the impoverished back streets of Guatemala City, director Li Cheng’s film was made with non-professional actors, giving an affecting sense of realism and authenticity. It tells the story of José, a young man who lives with his adoring mother, both of them eking out whatever income they can. When he falls in love with another young man, he becomes torn between his loyalties to his mother and his own needs.

Papi Chulo

Irish writer and director John Butler follows his well received Handsome Devil with this comedy/drama which sees the filmmaker return to the same themes of empathy and unlikely friendship. In this case, the bond forms between a well-heeled, gay weather presenter and an older straight labourer from Mexico. They connect despite their differences in this affecting culture-clash comedy. Butler’s intimate, moving and thoughtful film looks at all the big stuff through the little prism of their growing connection - friendship, class, ethnicity and economic migration.

Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life

Brothers Tomer and Barak Heymann are fast gaining a reputation as being among the most exciting documentary makers in world cinema. This film, directed and written by Tomer, and produced by Barak, tells the story of the famous Israeli gay porn star and his search for serenity and peace of mind, both within his own family life and in his career as an adult entertainer in an industry fraught with challenge.

Tell It To The Bees

Oscar winner Anna Paquin teams with Holliday Grainger in this story of two women who find love and tenderness in postwartime, small-town Britain. Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Fiona Shaw, the drama sees Jean return to her hometown to take over her late father’s GP practice. When she befriends a boy and introduces him to her garden beehives, she and his mother become drawn to each other - a secret they must keep hidden to protect themselves.

Out Of The Blue

Fresh from winning a slew of awards for her role in the television miniseries Sharp Objects, Patricia Clarkson plays a detective tasked with probing the shooting of an eminent astrophysicist in the latest feature from filmmaker Carol Morley. Part procedural drama, part twisty and unconventional supernatural thriller, the detective finds her beliefs and views shaken and memories from her past unearthed as she discovers more about the victim and their theories. Morley’s shapeshifting, neo-noir thriller is adapted from the Martin Amis novel, Night Train.

This article appears in the 350 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 350 Issue of GCN