#WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest 2020 Part Two- Features

As International Pride Month draws to a close and the weather outside gets a little colder, there’s no better time to snuggle up, sip a warm beverage, and enjoy some excellent queer cinema from around the world.

Your WCL membership provides access to streaming video services, which host a cornucopia of cinematic delights. You can find out more about how to access these online video options on our eLibrary page.

In the first edition of our #WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest, our staff collated some of our favourite documentaries. Now, in part two, we share our picks of the finest fictional features from around the world. Part one, our selection of documentaries , is right here.


BPM (Beats Per Minute)

Year: 2017
Length: 143 Minutes
Directors: Robin Campillo



Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Winner of over 20 international film awards, including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, BPM is the remarkable new film from Robin Campillo (They Came Back, Eastern Boys). In Paris in the early 1990s, a group of activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP, and its members, many of them gay and HIV-positive, embrace their mission with a literal life-or-death urgency. Amid rallies, protests, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, the newcomer Nathan falls in love with Sean, the group’s radical firebrand, and their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality as the activists fight for a breakthrough.-Kanopy


Watermelon Woman

Year: 1996
Length: 86 Minutes
Director: Cheryl Dunye

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Cheryl Dunye plays a version of herself in this witty, nimble landmark of New Queer Cinema. A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker, Cheryl becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character she sees in a 1930s movie. Determined to find out who the actress she knows only as the “Watermelon Woman” was and make her the subject of a documentary, she starts researching and is bowled over to discover that not only was Fae Richards (Lisa Marie Bronson) a fellow Philadelphian but also a lesbian. The project is not without drama as Cheryl’s singular focus causes friction between her and her friend Tamara (Valarie Walker) and as she begins to see parallels between Fae’s problematic relationship with a white director and her own budding romance with white Diana (fellow filmmaker Guinevere Turner).-Kanopy


52 Tuesdays

Year:2013
Length: 110 Minutes
Director: Sophie Hyde



Watch the full film here on Beamafilm.

Directed by Sophie Hyde (Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure), the Australian filmmaker who won the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, 52 Tuesdays is centered on the relationship between James (Del Herbert-Jane), a mother undergoing gender transition, and their precocious teenage daughter Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey). Looking forward to starting their gender transition but wary of how the process might affect their daughter, James asks Billie to move in with her father Tom (played by Beau Travis Williams). To make up for the abrupt separation, mother and daughter make a commitment to meet every Tuesday afternoon, no matter what. As the year progresses, James and Billie watch each other change in ways that sometimes threaten their once-unshakable relationship. As both individuals explore deep personal issues and struggle to remain connected, a complex tale of human desire and ultimately, physical and psychological transformation, emerges.-Beamafilm


Happy Together

Year:1997
Length: 93 Minutes
Director: Kar-Wai Wong



Watch the full film here on Beamafilm.

Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong and take to the road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a tango bar to save up for his trip home. When a beaten and bruised Po-Wing reappears, Yiu-Fai is empathetic but is unable to enter a more intimate relationship. After all, Po-Wing is not ready to settle down. Yiu-Fai now works in a Chinese restaurant and meets the youthful Chang from Taiwan. Yiu-Fai’s life takes on a new spin, while Po-Wing’s life shatters continually in contrast.-Beamafilm


Circumstance

Year:2011
Length: 102 Minutes
Director: Maryam Keshavarz



Watch the full film here on Beamafilm.

Maryam Keshavarz’s lusty, dreamy take on the passionate teenagers behind the hijabs. Risking jail and worse are the sassy, privileged Atafeh and the beautiful, orphaned Shireen. They’re under constant, unnerving surveillance, in a country where more than 70 percent of the population is younger than 30. Nevertheless, within their mansion walls and without, beneath graffiti and undulating at intoxicating house parties, the two girls begin to fall in love with each other, as Atafeh’s handsome, albeit creepy older brother Mehran gazes on… Filmed underground in Beirut, with layers that permit both pleasure and protest.-Beamafilm


Geography Club

Year:2013
Length: 80 Minutes
Director: Gary Entin



Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Based on Brent Hartinger’s best-selling critically acclaimed novel, Geography Club is a smart, fast, and funny account of contemporary teenagers as they discover their own sexual identities, dreams, and values. While finding the truth too hard to hide, they all decide to form the Geography Club thinking nobody else would ever want to join. However, their secrets may soon be discovered and they could have to face the choice of revealing who they really are. -Kanopy


We hope you enjoy our selection of fine feature films! Part One, our selection of documentaries , is right here. Stay warm!

#WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest 2020 Part One- Documentaries

A person holding a rainbow flag in front of their body and face.

As International Pride Month draws to a close and the weather outside gets a little colder, there’s no better time to snuggle up, sip a warm beverage, and enjoy some excellent queer cinema from around the world.

Your WCL membership provides access to streaming video services, which host a cornucopia of cinematic delights. You can find out more about how to access these online video options on our eLibrary page.

In this first edition of our #WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest, our staff have collated some of our favourite documentaries. Stay tuned for part two, later this week, when we will share our picks of the finest fictional features from around the world.


Georgie Girl

Year: 2002
Length: 70 Minutes
Directors: Annie Goldson and Peter Wells

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Georgina Beyer is a transgender woman and former sex-worker who was elected to the New Zealand Government by a largely white, rural electorate. Georgie Girl traces Georgina Beyer’s colorful path — her rural past, born as George and raised on a farm, through periods of drug use and sex work, to her election in 1999 into national office under Labour Government headed by Helen Clark. Georgina, who is of Māori descent, has been an inspiration to many, an example of a courageous individual who overcame adversity, marginalization and discrimination.-Kanopy


The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye

Year: 1994
Length: 72 Minutes
Director: Cheryl Dunye

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Vilified by conservatives in Congress, defended by major newspapers, and celebrated by audiences and festivals around the world as one of the most provocative, humorous and important filmmakers of our time, Cheryl Dunye practically invented a new form of cinema – call it the ‘Dunyementary.’ Presented here are the films that started it all – the early works which gave birth to an extraordinary and original filmmaking talent. Made with great creativity on often miniscule budgets, they represent the first chapter of the Cheryl Dunye oeuvre. Films in this collection include Greetings from Africa, The Potluck and the Passion, An Untitled Portrait, Vanilla Sex, She Don’t Fade, and Janine.-Kanopy


I Am Not Your Negro

Year:2016
Length: 93 Minutes
Director: Raoul Peck

Watch the full film here on Beamafilm.

Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck (The Man by the Shore, Moloch Tropical, Murder in Pacot), returns with a transcendent documentary examining the life and work of literary iconoclast and queer icon James Baldwin. The Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro” is based on Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript “Remember This House”, a stirring, personal account of the lives and deaths of his friends and US Civil Rights Movement leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Through these accounts, Baldwin’s considered yet razor-sharp activism bears witness to the impact and legacy of race in America, which forms the focus of Peck’s cinematic dissection of the enduring effects of social and racial inequality.-Beamafilm


Tales of the Waria

Year:2011
Length: 57 Minutes
Director: Kathy Huang

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population. It is also home to the “warias,” a community of biological men who live openly as women. In this eye-opening documentary, four warias search for romance and intimacy. They encounter a host of obstacles– family pressures, economic burdens, aging– but strive to stay true to themselves and to find lasting companionship. Shot over three years with the local queer community serving as story consultants and film crew members, the film provides an unprecedented look into topics rarely discussed in Western media: Indonesia, Islamic culture, and the daily life and struggles of transgender communities around the world.-Kanopy


Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw

Year:2015
Length: 58 Minutes
Director: Rick Goldsmith

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Mind/Game’s portrait of “the female Michael Jordan,” from troubled family life to basketball superstardom, reveals a long-hidden battle with mental illness. But even as Holdsclaw begins to embrace her emotional challenges and emerge as an outspoken mental health advocate, she encounters new obstacles to her own recovery. Narrated by Glenn Close.-Kanopy


Kumu Hina

Year:2014
Length: 77 Minutes
Director: Dean Hamer

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.
Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men. Welcome to Kumu Hina’s Hawai’i. During a momentous year in her life in modern Honolulu, Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian mahu, or transgender, teacher uses traditional culture to inspire a student to claim her place as leader of the school’s all-male hula troupe. But despite her success as a teacher, Hina longs for love and a committed relationship. Will her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man fulfill her dreams? An incredible docu-drama that unfolds like a narrative film, Kumu Hina reveals a side of Hawai’i rarely seen on screen. -Kanopy


Stay tuned for our selection of fictional features, coming later this week. Stay warm!

StayAtHome Film Festival: Neil’s Comedy Picks

“There’s only one sure thing in this life, Blondini, and that’s doubt. I think.” — Bruno Lawrence in Goodbye Pork Pie

One of the best things you can do during tough times is to sit down and lose yourself in a great comedy film. In my view watching comedy films is good for you, and our free library movie streaming services Beamafilm and Kanopy have some absolute comic gold. I’ve picked just a few of my favourites and tried my best to make the selection as broad as possible to suit every taste and tickle a wide variety of different funny bones.

The choices range from from Howard Hawks’ sassy, wise-cracking masterpiece His Girl Friday to Juzo Itami’s off beat but fabulous “ramen western” Tampopo–not to mention the opportunity to watch Geoff Murphy’s seminal Kiwi comedy classic Goodbye Pork Pie. I hope you enjoy my picks and are inspired to explore our extensive movie catalogue further. Enjoy!


Tampopo

Year: 1985
Length: 116 minutes
Director: Juzo Itami

Click here to watch the full film!

Juzo Itami’s “ramen western” is a totally unique, wryly funny Japanese comedy revolving round food and relationships. It will simultaneously make you laugh and your mouth water and perhaps even tempt you into the kitchen. It is often described as the best movie about food ever! The plot is simple: a pair of truck drivers befriend the widowed owner of a noodle restaurant, and the narrative is interwoven with other stories about food on various levels. This delicious comedy is sweet, surreal and unlike any other.

Discover More:

Overdrive: Hungry after watching Tampopo? Check out the great selection of cookbooks available on Overdrive.

Borrowbox: Borrowbox also has cookbooks available as eBooks–especially Australian titles. Enjoy!


Mon Oncle

Year: 1958
Length: 111 minutes
Director: Jacques Tati

Click here to watch the full film!

Another truly unique comic masterpiece, this time about the central character’s struggle to understand the French fascination with modern architecture and the modern world. This multi-award-winning film features the recurring Tati character of Mr Hulot: in this particular film he is a slightly lost soul bemused by the vagrancies of the modern world. Tati elevates sight comedy to unexpected and unpredictable heights–to, as some people have commented, almost philosophical levels. It also sports a huge supporting cast of dogs which Tati found in the local dog pound. After the film ended, he had become so attached to the dogs he refused to return them there, instead finding homes for them by advertising in a local newspaper: “good homes required for film stars”. This side-story reflects well the film’s quirky, warm-hearted and synchronous nature.

Discover More:

RBdigital: Monsieur Hulot may have struggled with modern architecture, but you don’t have to! Browse contemporary architecture and design magazines (including Architectural Digest and Interior) via RBdigital.

Mango Languages: Did you know that two versions of Mon Oncle were filmed at the same time–one with the dialogue in French, the other in English! (They also swapped out the street signs in the background.) Understand both versions with the help of Mango Languages.


The General

Year: 1926
Length: 75 minutes
Director: Buster Keaton

Click here to watch the full film!

This classic silent movie from the birth of cinema is often cited as one of the best movies ever made. Buster Keaton–“the comic who never smiles”–stars as a locomotive driver during the America Civil War. It’s a physical comedy, but a strong case could be made that this film is in fact the birth of the action movie. The startling, breath-taking, real-life stunts and action-driven plot insures that it rattles along at a breakneck pace, adding strength to such a claim.

Discover More:

Proquest Research Library: Did you know that in the real-life events that inspired The General, it’s the Union army rather than the Confederates that conduct the raid? Learn more at the Proquest Research Library.

Gale in Context: Biography: Roger Ebert has called Buster Keaton “the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies”, but how exactly did he get the name Buster? Find out at Gale in Context: Biography!


His Girl Friday

Year: 1940
Length: 92 minutes
Director: Howard Hawks

Watch the full film here!

His Girl Friday is a masterclass in wise-cracking, sassy, super-fast, ultra-sharp comic dialogue. Made during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the virtuosic comic performances from leads Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell combine with the fabulously taut script to make this screwball comedy funny to this day. The overlapping jokes, dialogue and comic moments come so thick and fast you really need to watch it twice to pick up on everything that’s going on.

Discover More:

DigitalNZ: Before he appeared onscreen, Carey Grant worked in vaudeville–but have you ever wondered about vaudeville in New Zealand? Check out DigitalNZ to see some fantastic local vaudeville posters, reviews and more.

Haynes Manuals AllAccess: Did you know that one of Carey Grant’s first cars was a 1927 Packard Sport Phaeton? He probably didn’t do his own repairs, but if he did he could have used our Haynes Manuals AllAccess database!


Goodbye Pork Pie

Year: 1980
Length: 105 minutes
Director: Geoff Murphy

Watch the full film here!

Even if this seminal Kiwi classic comedy has dated somewhat, it is still an essential watch for anyone interested in NZ film. Shot in 1979 on a tiny budget, the film is a time capsule of certain aspects of NZ life in the early 1980s. The film’s comedy is energetic, frenetic, frantic, sarcastic and very Kiwi. The film’s fast-moving plot involves two loser heroes who race across the New Zealand landscape in a yellow mini, getting into all sorts of scrapes and escapades along the way.

Discover More:

Naxos Jazz Library: As well as being a director, Geoff Murphy was also known for playing a mean jazz trumpet. Listen to streaming audio of classic jazz via our fantastic jazz database!

BWB Books Treaty of Waitangi Collection: Geoff Murphy’s third film, Utu, is partly based on the life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. Read more about Te Kooti in Judith Binney’s Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, available now via our BWB books collection.


Frances Ha

Year: 2012
Length: 86 minutes
Director: Noah Baumbach

Watch the full film here!

Steeped in the vibe that is New York in the early part of the 21st century, this is a tale of New York youngsters, their lives, loves and relationships as seen through the eyes of a struggling dancer. Greta Gerwig’s portrayal of the endearing, loopy, slightly maddening and very endearing central character Frances Ha steals the show. It is a touching, fresh, gentle and friendly observational comedy that uses New York as a kind of side character and is a really enjoyable way to spend a night, afternoon or morning in.

Discover More:

Naxos Video Library: Did you know that the Naxos Video Library contains live recordings of a range of dance productions? (As well as theatre, opera, jazz and more!)

Combined search: Frances Ha has been described as “mumblecore”–but what exactly is this genre? Search across our eResources to find a range of explanations.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Kerry’s Fashion Picks

Looking to escape your living room lockdown by gazing at beautiful dresses and appreciating elegant design? Missing popping out for some lunchtime window shopping?  Dreaming of the opportunity to wear something more classy than trackies?  We have you covered!

Our online resources contain a surprising amount of fashion related content, from movies, to the all important magazines, and a whole resource dedicated to the Vogue archive.  You will never not know what a minaudiere is again.

Beamafilm, our online movie streaming platform, have a whole category dedicated to fashion films aptly titled Fabulous Fashion – so you can binge all of the movies.  Below is a selection of my documentary picks about well-known designers.


Dior and I

Year: 2014
Length: 90 minutes
Director: Frédéric Tcheng

Watch the full film here!

Raf Simons is one of the most revered designers of the last few years.  So much so that he will soon be joining Miuccia Prada at the helm of Prada – quite the honor!  This fascinating documentary covers his career at Dior, and in particular, the creation of his first haute couture collection for the house.  It is a real behind the scenes glimpse at both Raf and Dior, extremely chic and surprisingly emotional.  You can read an interview with director Fredereic Tcheng (from Interview magazine) here.


McQueen

Year: 2018
Length: 111 minutes
Director: Ian Bonhote

Watch the full film here!

McQueen follows the meteoric rise of Alexander McQueen as he was discovered and set up his own fashion label.  He was an incredibly inspired designer and the film highlights how innovative and influential he was on the fashion world during the late nineties and oughties.  It’s also a very moving film that looks a the challenges he faced professionally and personally and his eventual decline into depression.  A good watch for some drama. Vogue UK comprehensively covered this documentary, the director’s and McQueen’s legacy: begin your reading here.


Dries

Year: 2017
Length: 89 minutes
Director: Reiner Holzemer

Watch the full film here!

I watched this film recently and it is pure escapism.  Dries van Noten is a very elegant designer who creates beautiful, wearable – and covetable! – clothes.  This documentary looks at his career trajectory and design processes, following the creation of a collection and the corresponding fashion show.  We also see behind the scenes into his life, relationship and mind-blowing house.  Worth it just for the glimpse into his garden – the kind of magical garden we only can only dream of, especially at the moment.  (Here is a video interview with director Reiner Holzemer.)


Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Year: 2018
Length: 80 minutes
Director: Lorna Tucker

Watch the full film here!

Vivienne Westwood is a principled designer and activist whose message is more relevant than ever.  Throughout her career she has always espoused consuming less, protecting the environment and engaging with society.  This documentary takes us into her world, showing us what motivates her work.  It is told mainly in her words, through interviews – somewhat painfully and grouchily drawn out of her.  The movie also illustrates just how ground-breaking and iconic Westwood is in both her designs and lifestyle.  Director Lorna Tucker calls Westwood her hero, read an interview with her here.


Discover More:

Image from ‘The Wanderers’ Vogue, March 2010, v200 n3
For further reading on any of these designers you could try our Vogue Archive online tool.  It offers access to all the content from US Vogue, from 1892 to the present, both images and articles.  You can search for a designer or brand (or any topic or keyword) and it will show you articles, editorials and fashion shoots, and even adverts.  All high-resolution, downloadable, full-page, colour images.  The ability to limit your search results to find exactly what you want is incredibly detailed – you can search for a year, a fabric, an illustration, a type of clothing or style.  The perfect lockdown activity! (Click here for a Youtube tutorial to get you started.)

Who knows what changes will come to the fashion industry and magazine publishing post-Covid-19, so time for some reading now!  The library has a huge range of fashion magazines available, in lots of different languages, through our online magazine platforms – RBdigital and Pressreader.  My pick would be Vogue UK (pictured above and found in RBdigital) which is edited by Edward Enninful, who has created a magazine that addresses the challenges of inclusivity and sustainability.  Also pictured are Vogue India and Vogue Russia which, along with Vogue US and Vogue Australia, can be found in RBdigital.

Did you know that magazines from RBdigital and Pressreader can be read for free, on your computer or in an app on your tablet or phone?  You can download magazine issues to your device to read offline – and keep forever!  – as well as set up alerts that let you know when the latest issues are available.  You can find help getting started with these resources through our eLibrary here.  The RBdigital and Pressreader apps are available to download for free from the Google Play or Apple stores.