Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Tara Brady guests with notes on the Queer Palm

Here are the contenders at this year’s LGBT corner. Any minute now…

Fri, May 20, 2016, 22:13


Six years ago, Gregg Araki’s Kaboom took home the inaugural Queer Palm from the Cannes Film Festival. Since then, the independently sponsored prize for selected LGBTQ  films has expanded into a programme of events, including a Queer Film Market and night time “activities” at Le Vertigo, “the official queer and open-minded club in Cannes”.

The sidebar event now publishes its own festival magazine, Clap. The 2016 edition celebrates such recent queer titles as Tangerine, The Danish Girl and Freeheld, and lists this year’s prize contenders, as determined by a jury comprising  the French film-makers Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau (jury presidents), French filmmaker and actor Émilie Brisavoine, Brazilian festival director Joao Federici, and French journalist Marie Sauvion. 

And the Queer Palm contenders are:

Apnea (Apnée). Dir Jean-Christophe Meurisse: Three chums – Céline (Céline Fuhrer), Thomas (Thomas Scimeca) and Max (Maxence Tual)  blunder around Corsica playing pranks on bourgeois types in this anarchic, improvised comedy.

Aquarius. Dir Kleber Mendonça Filho: Dona Clara (Sonia Braga), a retired, widowed music critic, is the last hold-out against a property development company.

The Dunce (Le Cancre). Paul Vecchiali: The 86-year-old director plays a variation of himself in a drama that sees a film veteran pining for his lost love Marguerite (Catherine Deneuve), while ignoring his son Laurent (Pascal Cervo).

The Dancer. Dir Stéphanie Di Giusto:  Loie Fuller (Soko) is the toast of Paris’ Folies Bergere in the late 1800s, when she is seduced by the young and devious American dancer Isadora Duncan (Lily-Rose Depp).

Divines. Dir Uda Benyamina. Dounia (Oulaya Amamra) is a banlieue badass hoping to make it as a petty criminal. Features the line: “You got clitoris. I like that.”

Fiore. Dir Claudio Giovannesi.  Daphne (Daphne Scoccia) finds love and a new found maturity in an Italian juevenile correction facility.

The Handmaiden. Dir Park Chan-wook. The Old Boy director transports Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith to 1930s Korea.

The Neon Demon. Dir Nicolas Winding Refn. Jena Malone and Elle Fanning star in this grotesque satire on LA body facism, the only Queer Palm contender to feature necrophiliac lesbian sex. 

Raw. Dir Julia Ducournau. 16-year-old Justine hails from a family of vegetarian veterinarians. On her first week of vet school, she strays from the family ethos and consumes meat. Dire consequences follow.

Staying Vertical. Dir Alain Guiraudie. A filmmaker attempts to raise a child alone when his shepherdess lover abandons him.

Les Vies de Thérèse. Dir Sébastien Lifshitz. Documentary portrait of the militant feminist Thérèse Clerc as she attempts to  ”be happy right up until the end” in the face of terminal illness.

Willy 1er. Dir by Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma, Marielle Gautier and Hugo P. Thomas. A 50-year old man moves out of his parent’s house for the first time after the death of his twin brother.

On Saturday night we learn the winner is Les Vies de Thérèse. A more imaginative choice that last year’s Carol.