Make ’em Laugh!
It’s perhaps inevitable (and important) that many LGBT+ stories portray the darker side of life, or depict moments of suffering and pain, but there are still plenty of films in this year’s programme to raise the spirits and make you cry with laughter rather than sorrow.
One of our shortlisted filmmakers, Sam Peter Jackson (not the Hobbit guy) asked us if we had a handy list of comedies showing at Iris 2018. Realising that we didn’t, the Iris Blogger has decided to make that list a reality. So here, in no particular order, are some of the funniest and most heartwarming films you’ll see at this year’s festival. (And yes, Sam, your film is on the list.)
Like almost any domestic situation, a mother meeting her son’s transgender girlfriend for the first time could be played dead straight. But, as anyone who’s experienced a fraught domestic situation (i.e., all of us) knows too well, very few of them pass without moments of toe-curling comedy. Ingrid Heiderscheidt delivers a spellbinding performance – nuanced and filled with empathy, and often side-splittingly funny.
Clothes & Blow
An American voice-over artist in London (no werewolves) experiences the ups and downs of app dating and an unexpected visit from his slightly overbearing mother in Sam Peter Jackson’s uproarious comedy. There are at least two moments that made this Blogger bark – and I mean literally bark – with laughter.
Beyond There’s Always a Black Issue, Dear
This isn’t a comedy, as such. It’s not even a drama. It’s a documentary whose subjects reminisce about growing up black and queer in Britain in the 1970s and ’80s. But the interviewees are just so open and warm and engaging. If it doesn’t make you crack a smile at least once, you must be dead inside.
This film takes on a notorious real-life case of violent and humiliating discrimination, but one scene is so unforgettably funny and awkward and jaw-dropping that it would be silly to ignore it here. (You can watch said moment on the film’s Facebook page. But probably best you don’t do this while you’re in work. Just trust me on this.)
The Shit! An opera
No, that isn’t a typo. That really is the title of the film, which looks at a gay man’s first, tentative steps into the world of bottoming after he experiences the largest bowel movement of his life. It’s every bit as subtle and understated as you might expect, and features an animated talking turd. Which, you may be surprised to learn, is an Iris Prize first.
There’s a lot of heart and emotion in Nick Neon’s Zero One, but it’s a much lighter and more upbeat film than it’s broody predecessor, Neon Blue. J.J. Mattise is particularly funny as the best friend of protagonist Jimmy Park, and there’s an awkward dinner party which stands toe-to-toe with anything Beverly Moss could host. (That’s one for all the Abigail’s Party fans out there.)
This larger-than-life and luridly colourful film from Italy defies summary, with its dragtastic exploration of suburban married life. It’s camper than a row of pink tents and makes the average Almodovar film look like Tarkovsky’s Stalker. (Yeah, I went there with the obscure film reference.)
Just Friends (Gewoon Vrienden)
Who doesn’t like a rom-com? Okay… some of you don’t like rom-coms. But for those that do, Just Friends is a must. Med student Yad quits his studies in Amsterdam and heads back to his hometown, where in his job as carer to an elderly woman he meets a handsome stranger, and before you can say “Why do so many people hate Love, Actually… like, what’s their problem?”, love blossoms.