Will-o’-the-Wisp

Renowned Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues’ new film was screened this year during the Director’s Fortnight event at the Cannes Film Festival. It is a queer musical full of humor, camp, sex and nudity.
In the not-so-near future (the year 2069), King Alfredo of Portugal, is reminiscing on his deathbed about his youthful, rebellious experience. It was a tough summer, the kingdom was consumed by massive wildfires and in those days Alfredo was a young, strong headed prince. He decides to join the fire brigade, to help with the national crisis, despite his family’s objections. In the field he has to deal with a tough commander who isn’t exactly welcoming, hunky firefighters who aren’t too thrilled with the royal addition – but Alfredo will also meet the love of his life and experiment with his most secret desires.
This is no doubt this year’s most fresh and light-hearted film by one of our time most intellectual and intelligent queer filmmakers.

The unique Portuguese filmmaker João Pedro Rodrigues was TLVFest’s guest in 2010 when we screened his films, amongst them the ground breaking “O Fortuna”(2000) and “To die like a man” (2009).

Viewing is 18+ due to nudity.

In association with the Embassy of Portugal

Three Nights A Week

The surprising comic and romantic drama of the year brings to the big screen a refreshing and stigma breaking character.
Cookie Kunty is a talented Parisian drag queen. Everyone who is familiar with the world of drag knows how hard it is for drag queens to find love. Therefore, when Cookie meets 29 years old Baptiste, she finds it hard to believe that he’s interested in her, but Baptiste is immediately mesmerized by Cookie. At first he’s driven by the idea of creating a photography project with Cookie and sinks into her world, but eventually starts to develop a relationship with Quentin, the young man behind the drag queen. The problem is, Baptiste has never been in a relationship with a man before and he is in a long term relationship with Samia, a hospital nurse, who also works at the HIV clinic.
In his debut film director Florent Gouëlou provides the audience a cinematic experience rich in colors and music, and featuring a different and surprising love story, which is also a coming out story, the likes of which was never before seen on the big screen. Actor Pablo Pauly is wonderful as Baptiste and Romain Eck as Cookie/Quentin builds a moving and complex character.
The result is pure enjoyment and it is certainly no surprise that “Three Nights a Week” was chosen as the opening film of the 2022 Critics’ Week of the Venice Film Festival.

Additional clip from the movie

Winter Boy

Christophe Honoré’s (“Dans Paris”, “Love Songs”, “Man at Bath”) new film is an autobiography, and for the first time brings the director’s story to the big screen.
Winter boy” comes to the TLVFest after its international debut at Toronto Film Festival and following the win for Best Actor for the rising star Paul Kircher in the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Lucas (Paul Kircher) is going to a boarding school, far from the small town where his parents live, and has a boyfriend, a fellow student. Lucas has endless joie de vivre and he can’t wait to graduate and join Quentin (Vincent Lacoste), his older brother, in Paris. A sudden tragedy turns Luca’s world upside down and everything he took for granted is suddenly taken from him. Lucas is filled with sadness and despair, lost in his own pain. His mother Isabelle (Juliette Binoche in a very moving role) doesn’t really know how to help her young son. Lucas joins his older brother in Paris, but Quentin is not emotionally available to support his young sibling, and so 17 years old Lucas has to find his own path, looking for solace in the cold wintery Paris, through dating apps and problematic sexual encounters.
Paul Kircher is perfect as Lucas, a blunt young man who cannot express, contain or release the enormous pain he’s carrying. His scenes with Juliette Binoche create intense and heartfelt complexity.
“Winter boy” gives us an intimate glimpse into the world of a teenager on the cusp of adulthood and the journey of that boy to try and find his way back to hope.

Viewing is 18+.

Elephant

Imagine “Brokeback Mountain” meets “Call Me by Your Name” and you get “Elephant”, the wonderful debut film by director Kamil Krawczycki. The film was shot in the Polish rural countryside where the director grew up and is based on his own experiences.

22-years old Bartek runs a small horse farm in the Polish mountains. He was forced to step into the role as head of the family, when his father left and his mother completely fell apart. One day, their neighbor dies and his son Dawid returns to the village for the funeral, after a 15 years of absence. Bartek is completely taken by the carefree Dawid, and for the first time in his life he falls in love. Now Bartek has to decide whether he’s willing to choose freedom over his familial obligations.
This film shines a little ray of hope in the dark times that the LGBTQ community in Poland (and elsewhere) are undergoing right now.
Elephant” is the perfect film for the closure of this year It will leave you with a smile on your face and a warm feeling inside.

In From the Side

When Warren, a professional rugby player, is injured and sent to play with a local gay rugby team as part of his rehabilitation, things get tense. No one on his new team wants his place taken by the newcomer, Mark – one of the team’s leaders, in particular. But then suspicion turns to lust between the two, and personal loyalties are put to the test, as they try to hide their budding romance, not only from their partners, but their teammates as well.
Alexander Lincoln and Alexander King supply hypnotic performances as the two lovers, supported by a wonderful cast ensemble.
In From the Side” is the surprising romantic sports drama you didn’t expect. Even if you’ve never played or watched rugby before, you will be drawn into this muddy, sweaty and emotional rollercoaster.

Where Butterflies Don’t Fly

A surprising debut film by Roman Němec comes from the Czech Republic, a country that isn’t known for its thriving LGBTQ cinematic scene.
Daniel is a 19 years old student, he doesn’t get along with his parents, doesn’t have many friends and generally keeps his distance from other people. This is not surprising for a feminine gay youth in a very machoistic and convservative society. As graduation approaches, Daniel finds himself on a school camping trip, lead by the handsome teacher Adam – a gay man who is in a secret relationship with his partner David. Both Daniel and Adam live each in his own bubble, until they find themselves in mortal danger, when they get trapped in a huge cave system. Lost and cut off from the rest of the world, as time and food runs out, two men from different worlds and backgrounds form an unexpected connection, as they fight for their survival.

Screenings include Q&A with the director and the lead actor.

In association with the Czech Centre Tel Aviv

Continental Drift (South)

28.10 screening – Opening of the Master program

Natalie Adler is the EU representative to Sicily. She is responsible for organising a joint visit by French president Macron and German Kanzler Merkel in a local refugee camp. Their presence has a lot of symbolic value to show that everything is under control, but it seems nothing is. The German coordinator Ute, is also Natalie’s lover, there is of course the Italian bureaucracy, and let’s not forget Albert – Natalie’s son, who still hasn’t forgiven her for coming out and leaving his father, and who shows up unannounced in the refugee camp as a volunteer. He also has his own agenda, that isn’t going to help his mother, who’s barely holding on to her sanity as it is.
Swiss director Lionel Baier brings to the screen a satiric, biting and incredibly funny comedy about the not-so-united Europe, especially around the refugee crisis.
Natalie is portrayed by the wonderful French actress Isabelle Carré (“Delicious”, “Les Émotifs anonymes”), her son Albert is Théodore Pellerin (“Boy Erased”) and her German lover is Ursina Lardi (“The White Ribbon”).

Rex Gildo: The Last Dance

One of Germany’s senior queer film directors, 79 years old Rosa von Praunheim, concocts a tragic and camp doco-drama that tells the story of Rex Gildo, who was at his prime German Elvis or German Cliff Richard.
Rex Gildo was one of the most successful German singers in the 60’s and 70’s, who was reduced to doing gigs at folk festivals and shopping malls in the 80’s and 90’s, as his popularity declined. While he continued to perform and was perceived as a sex symbol, he faked a marriage to a woman, though he was actually having a secret relationship with his male agent, and later had a string of affairs, including with his driver and PA.
Rosa von Praunheim tells the story of Rex Gildo, exploring the devastating pain of having to live in the closet, despite, and because of his enormous success.
The film includes interviews with actresses and singers who performed alongside Gildo and were presented by the tabloids as his lovers, such as the legendary Vera Tschecowa and Cornelia Froboess.

In association with Goethe Institut

Burning Days

Turkish director Emin Alper’s film is a smart and political thriller with heavy homo-erotic undercurrents (no sex or daring nudity, but the intentional sexual tension between the two protagonists is sky high).
Emre is a young prosecutor in the Turkish Ministry of Justice, sent to a small town suffering a terrible drought and an even more terrible corruption. He can’t imagine what a mess he’s getting himself into when he decides to start investigating the mayor, his dodgy son and the surrounding them businessmen.
This is Emin Alper’s (one of Turkey’s current leading directors) fourth film and he has created a precise Hollywood thriller in an early David Fincher style, but instead of blue and cool hues this film is painted in the yellow, brown and red of the waterless village, hot and sweaty and leaving you choking.
Adding to the dense atmosphere is the exhilarating cinematography of Christos Karamanis, the precise editing and the end that will leave the audience gasping.

Interview with the director and lead actor.

Additional screening: Haifa Cinematheque 5.11.2022

Rodeo

Director & screenwriter/actress in attendance

Director Lola Quivoron’s debut film had rightly won the judges awards in the “Un Certain Regard” segment of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. It is one of the more entrancing films of the last year.
Julia is a young woman on the edges of society. She makes a living through petty crimes and has an endless passion for riding motorcycles. One hot summer day, an accident helps her make her way into a group of motorcyclists who get their thrills by riding hard and fast and perform acrobatics with no helmets on. This group of misfits is working for a mobster who is in prison and controls them from afar. Julia gains his trust through her talents in petty crimes, but then she meets his girlfriend and her son.
Julie Ledru is hypnotic in her debut role, and shows some real star quality. In her debut film Lola Quivoron delivers a breathtaking experience.

Additional screening: Haifa Cinematheque 2.11.2022

In association with the French Institute