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By Romeo San Vicente
cut/ Gus Van Sant. Photo: Denis Makarenko
Gus Van Sant to deliver ‘When We Rise’
So Roland Emmerich’s “Stonewall” might not have gotten its history lesson across as effectively as planned. OK, fine, it was a disaster. But now another LGBT narrative history project is in the works, the eight-hour ABC miniseries “When We Rise,” from director-producer Gus Van Sant. He’ll reunite with “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black for the series, which will cover the personal stories and political struggles of a large group of LGBT activists. No word on the time-span the series will cover, or if it’s going macro or micro, but because Stonewall’s failure hovers over it like a too-white storm cloud, they’re already making sure that the press releases talk about its diversity. And that’s good. No one project will be all things to all people, but setting the record un-straight involves listening to every kind of queer story. Cautiously optimistic on this one.
‘Sick’ will make you angry all over again
You don’t have to have devoured all of “Making a Murderer” to know that injustice served to the powerless is a rage-making proposition. And for all the progress enjoyed by the LGBT community in recent years, it’s still a scary world out there for too many queer people, especially young people and those outside Northern Europe and the United States. So here comes the infuriating documentary “Sick (Bolesno).” The Croatian film from director Hrvoje Mabic tells the story of 16-year-old Ana, whose parents put her in an institution for five years to cure her of lesbianism. As a young adult, she is paranoid and depressed, involved in a relationship that might not be good for her, and suing her parents. Harrowing stuff, to say the least, but still vital viewing for anyone who thinks that marriage equality was the last battle. Look for “Sick” to make film festival rounds this year, and don’t be afraid to encounter its sadness.
Saffron Burrows, from the ‘Jungle’ into the ‘Night’
Its Golden Globe wins might be the first you’ve heard of “Mozart in The Jungle” (it’s OK, there’s just too much TV to watch out there, new Golden Age, etc.), but like us you’re probably binge-watching it right now. Bisexual actress Saffron Burrows (married to “Ellen” writer Alison Balian) is one of the stars – her character will be having a secret affair with Gretchen Mol this season, so enjoy that – and she’s got another project upcoming with fellow queer actor Russell Tovey. The indie feature is called “Night of the Lotus”; it’s from filmmaker Henry Mason and writer Thomas Martin, and it revolves around a young woman (Adelaide Clemens, “The Great Gatsby”) suffering guilt over the death of her new husband. She then lives out the honeymoon she never had with a stranger she meets on a train. Look, you have to use the tickets or you lose them.
Anne Heche, Sandra Oh, Alicia Silverstone have a ‘Catfight’
Writer-director Onur Tukel just wrapped a lesbian brawl. It was for the filmmaker’s latest feature, “Catfight,” which stars Anne Heche, Sandra Oh and Alicia Silverstone. Oh plays wealthy housewife Veronica Salt (hat-tip to Willy Wonka, obviously), whose life-long rival, played by Heche, meets her again at a birthday party. The sparring begins. They’re making a big deal out of the “intense” fight scenes, which is great, of course. And there’s also a plotline about war in the Middle East, even though we’re not quite sure how that fits into the “Dynasty”-style beatdowns. Bottom line: Silverstone plays Heche’s girlfriend and we’ve loved her since “Clueless” and that’s pretty much enough for us to want to see this one. In post-production now, look for it at better LGBT film festivals before its proper release later in the year.