Thursday 29 October 2015

TIQFF - 2nd edition

Thursday, 29th October 2015

TQIFF this week. Taipei Queer International Film Festival. The second edition. This year is attracting even more people. Jay is very happy, although it is a neverending task to get people interested and compel them to attend one, if not more screenings.
Tonight’s film was Tiger Orange, am American film which received people’s attention as it stars Frankie Valenti, formerly known as Johnny Hazzard, an adult film performer who got his years of fame in the mid-naughties. His performance was surprisingly accurate and well handled, for a film which story was fairly predictable. The simplicity of the plot and the good casting made for a very enjoyable film. Now the question that lingers on many people’s mind, and certainly Frankie Valenti’s is regarding the future of a former gay porn-star. I remember that play I saw in 1996 at the Actors Playhouse in New York, an off-Broadway venture which success grew with the years: Ronnie Larsen’s Making Porn which featured then hot former straight, gay-for-pay porn actor Rex Chandler. The play itself wasn’t that great, too clumsy and self indulgent, but was some sort of path of salvation for some adult film performers who wanted to go ‘legit’. Maybe as a result of my catholic upbringing, I have always been wishing for those performers to find that salvation. Actually, if I have to dig a little deeper, it would be more accurate to say that I have always sided with the outsiders, people who are ill-perceived by the others (as I have been as well) and would always look for the that one unknown aspect of their lives that would prove the mass wrong.  
Frankie Valenti’s performance in Tiger Orange may earn him more film offers as he displays genuine acting potential. I do hope he will be able to cross that line and prove that one’s past does not necessarily define one’s future.
Still related to (gay) porn, the documentary about Chuck Holmes, the founder of the now infamous Falcon Studio which provided joy to many men across the globe and ‘helped’ change and redefine people’s perception – or self-perception of the gay man. Though interesting, the documentary was written and filmed in a very standard way, which didn’t make it very compelling to watch.
Even less compelling was The Second Life of Thieves, by Malaysian director Ming Jin Woo. The idea was interesting: the same story told from two different points of view, something that has been done many time, since Rashomon. However, that story is told by a former lover, and the lover’s daughter who each has a different perception of memory of the events. This could have been enough to make a film, however, the director injected a subplot about the murder of a Burmese girl, some hints about the corruption of the Malaysian government. Cinematography is good – the silent moments and landscape would have been enough to express the full scope of the emotions. Unfortunately, the film seemed to go in all directions – Ming Jin Woo admitted that the original story was different and the film morphed into something different in the course of the shooting. There were some touching moments and some of the actors blew life into their characters, in spite of the chaotic directing.  

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