ImageOut There! Series

Now in its ninth edition, our ImageOut There! Series has already built a reputation that goes beyond the boundaries of Rochester. People are emailing or messaging titles to look for and things to watch. Of course, everyone has a different interpretation of what “out there” is or should be. This year, I have watched my fair share of lesbian vampires, queer ghosts, gay zombies, and all sorts of murderous homos. But I’m not just looking for the next queer monster du jour or for incredible bloodbaths in movies. Out There! films shall and will always be of substance. Maybe a strange substance but substance nonetheless.

It’s actually amazing that the five films in this year’s sidebar are all love stories. Okay so maybe some of them are not reciprocated love but more like obsession. It’s still about love. But that’s not the point. I’ve chosen the following films to be highlighted here because of the boldness and bravery in their storytelling. You’ll know what I mean.

Paris 05:59: Théo and Hugo is getting a lot of attention for its opening 18 minutes of graphic sex set in a dungeon orgy in a sex club. Once that is over, the attention of the audience continues to be captivated by a budding romance (and sure, a little more nudity) that is already experiencing its first bump. What’s fascinating is their story is actually presented on screen in real time. Yes, even the sex club scene is presented in real time. The film won an Audience Award in Berlin. But Berlin loves its sex dungeons.

Another winner in Berlin, a Jury Awardee actually, is Tomcat (Kater), an examination of how a seemingly perfect relationship goes from ideal to disastrous, all because of a single incident. The handsome couple are always having garden-variety sex except that one time when a friend and co-worker is watching them go at it, not even an arm’s length away. There is a copious amount of male frontal nudity and some instances of violence.

Closet Monster is centered around Oscar Madly, a high school senior who is still haunted by a violent sex crime he witnessed as a very young boy. It was so traumatic that it even manifests when he’s masturbating. But meeting a hot twink at a part-time job may be able to divert the nightmares away. Fantasy segments are used a lot to present the narrative, including employing a talking hamster (Isabella Rossillini) as Oscar’s voice of reason. Quirky enough?

With its young stars breaking into song and dance randomly, it’s easy to dismiss One Kiss as a “Glee” copycat. But don’t make that mistake as no matter how quirky this film gets, it is definitely one of the best ImageOut has to offer this year. The actors are charismatic which makes the ripped-from-the-headlines twist towards the end even more surprising and heartbreaking.

Girls Lost uses magical realism to tell the story of three girls who transform into boys when they partake in the juicy nectar of some magical plant. Basically a statement on gender politics, the filmmaker is able to make the film interesting and poignant even after the initial excitement about the magic wears off. Good special effects!

So I hope you’ll enjoy this year’s sidebar. Be adventurous and catch an ImageOut There! screening.

~ Michael Gamilla
Chair, ImageOut Programming


Program 11: Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo
Saturday, October 8, 9:15 PM
Dryden Theatre
Program 15: Tomcat
Sunday, October 9, 3:15 PM
Little Theatre 1
Program 17: Closet Monster
Sunday, October 9, 6:00 PM
Little Theatre 1
Program 21: One Kiss
Monday, October 10, 8:30 PM
Little Theatre 1
Program 34: Girls Lost
Saturday, October 15, 2:00 PM
Dryden Theatre