Time to get spruced up for the Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, beginning Fri., Oct. 14, and running through Oct. 23. Now in its 26th year, the festival offers 16 feature-length films, four programs of shorts, and opening- and closing-night parties.
The opening-night event includes two films, both adaptations of popular novels, with a party in between. The Night Watch (7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 14) is an ensemble melodrama, set during and after World War II in London. Love of all stripes -- gay, lesbian, straight -- is tested both by the chaotic events of the Blitz (two women work as ambulance drivers), and by social restrictions. This is a handsome, well-acted BBC production.
The night's second feature, Going Down in La La Land (9:30 p.m.), is from festival-fave actor-director Caspar Andreas (who plays a porno tweaker!). This time the action is in Hollywood, where a hopeful young hunk finds success in the porn biz, and -- perhaps -- love with a closeted TV star. Land isn't quite as much bitchy fun as Andreas' Manhattan-set romps, but it offers the usual parade of buff men in the buff, as well as cameos from Bruce Vilanch, Judy Tenuta and Alex Mapa.
The earliest days of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco are the focus of the sobering, but uplifting doc We Were Here (2 p.m. Sat., Oct. 15). In contemporary interviews, intercut with archival material, survivors explain how they turned into care-givers, nurses and activists. It was a terrifying, heartbreaking time, yet one that forged a powerful social and political community.
The Bronx-set drama Gun Hill Road (7 p.m. Thu., Oct. 20) tracks two concurrent journeys: the coming-of-age of transsexual teen-ager Michael, a.k.a. Vanessa; and the struggle of his tough-guy father (Esai Morales), just released from jail, to accept Vanessa's identity. It's a sympathetic portrayal that doesn't offer pat solutions.
Also screening the first week: Romeos (4:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 15), a German drama about a transman; the lesbian comedy Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together (7 p.m. Sat., Oct. 15); the man love-triangle of August (9:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 15); Longhorns (9 p.m. Thu., Oct. 20), a comedy about Texas frat boys sharing a cabin; and The Sleeping Beauty of East Finchley (7:30 p.m. Sun., Oct. 16), about a lonely middle-aged Englishwoman who joins a gay choir.
All films screen at the SouthSide Works. Single tickets are $8.50 (opening night is $30, closing night $15); passes and student discounts are also available. See www.plgfs.org for more information and the complete schedule.
The Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
Starts Fri., Oct. 14, through Sun., Oct. 23.
SouthSide Works Cinema