Reelout calls a wrap on festival's 19th year

We concude this year's Reelout coverage

The Fabulous Life of Allan Carr was one of the film's in this year's festival. 

Gays of Our Lives: Shorts Program

On Feb. 8, Reelout’s Gays of Our Lives shorts program brought nine mostly uplifting short films to The Screening Room.  

“Rebirth,” the second film in the program, jumped back and forth between the male protagonist’s life as a doctor and a drag queen. The short was moving and emphasized that there’s no “right” way to approach identity, as it explored the struggles and complexities of the main character.

“Rusalka” was also a festival favourite, as it presented a queer retelling of The Little Mermaid. The silent film features a drag version of villain Ursula and follows a merman on his quest to get legs and follow his love to a bar — only to find him with another man.

Another standout from the program was “The Daytime DoorMan,” a Brazilian short that chronicles the friendship and eventual partnership of a tenant and his building’s doorman.

There’s nothing fancy or dramatic about the film, but its ability to capture the small intimacies in the men’s relationship is truly captivating.

An honourable mention from the Gays of Our Lives program was titled “A Bed Day,” a five-minute film shot on an iPhone that jumps through a day that two boyfriends are spending together in bed. The film perfectly captures the feeling of a quiet day spent alone with a partner.  

One of the more serious films in the program was “Get the Life,” which follows a trans boy as he has to tell his boyfriend he’s pregnant and doesn’t want to keep it.

The protagonist’s struggle is an experience audiences don’t normally get to see, and grounded an otherwise light-hearted showing.  

The program’s use of humour was a welcome addition to the festival, made more poignant by the addition of “Get the Life.”

The Fabulous Life of Allan Carr

Thursday night at Reelout also featured “The Fabulous Life of Allan Carr,” directed by Jeffrey Schwarz.

This documentary chronicles the life of Allan Carr, a successful movie producer who grew up in the Midwest and moved to Hollywood with hopes of bringing back the golden age of cinema.

The film is comprised of interviews with celebrities Carr worked with, entertainment journalists and his friends as well as long clips from TV interviews he’d done throughout his career.

The resulting portrait of Carr is a life filled with extravagant parties and amazing cinematic successes mixed with hidden inner demons.

For one, the film explores how Carr never came out publicly but was often described as “flamboyant” and was generally considered to be homosexual.

This film was often humourous but generally followed a somewhat overdone “underdog” documentary script.

Although Carr did have real struggles, the film tried too hard to make the audience feel like he was the underdog who could never catch a break. The reality is, he was a rich, cis, white man with a lot of power and influence in Hollywood.

The documentary was entertaining but didn’t give much perspective on queerness, focusing instead much more on Carr’s triumphs and failures in the movie industry.

 

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