I went to the Connecticut Out Film Fest last Wednesday night for a double bill of chick-chick flicks:
A Different Kind of Love
Dir. Martin Dolensky, 2010, Czech Republic, 61 min
Dir. Jesús Garay, 2009, Spain, 92 min
I liked them – particularly Eloise’s Lover (scene pictured here) – but found them frustrating. Then I noticed that both films were directed by men. It explains a lot, particularly in the Czech film.
Here are some tropes the two have in common:
- The “established” lesbian, the one who is out and comfortable with her identity, has long hair in an unconventional style. (You know, not so unconventional as to be short.)
- Beginning to come out will leave you alienated from your mother or your kids (depending on which is featured in the plot), and definitely from your peers.
- People will think you’re a perv, or will have awkward conversations in which they assert that they’re fine with it but warn you that everyone else will think you’re a perv.
- Hooking up after having a crush seems to result in assumptions that a relationship will develop.
- There’s no happy ending.
I can think of a lot of things that annoy me about the Czech film. Eva’s talking-head scenes gave away plot points so that other scenes didn’t have to do the storytelling as clearly. Daniella, the younger teacher, seemed to function as an adult, and she was supposed to be the one experienced with same-sex relationships; but when it came to dating, she had absolutely no capacity to think ahead or make rational decisions. (Getting it on in her classroom after school? Renting an apartment without even talking to the woman she wants to share it with? Not realizing that a woman with two kids will always have those two kids? If she’s that much of a moron, make her consistently a moron.)
The storytelling in Eloise’s Lover, fortunately, made a great contrast. With the way it cuts back and forth between the hospital and earlier scenes, you only sort of know where it’s going, and without knowing at all how the characters got there and how it ends. The characters made sense, and some lovely acting (Asia’s mother!) added depth. But the way the camera lingers on Eloise and Asia, particularly when they’re swimming and floating, just screams, “A man made this movie!”