A conversation with filmmaker Marcelo Gutierrez
Over the course of the last two years, New York-based filmmaker Marcelo Gutierrez, a queer visual artist originally from Colombia, created a short film — Tender Roses for Tough Climates — that explores what it means to be a contemporary romantic through his own personal experiences.
Within the film’s three distinct acts, Gutierrez studies — through intimate poetry and quixotic visuals that sometimes illustrate but always elevate the overall theme — three discrete takes on romanticism. In the first act, a childlike, but wise, soul ponders the idea and significance of childhood imagination. Within the second act, an aspiring actress practices the same iconic line from Titanic over and over — “I’m through being polite, goddamn it…now take me down!” — landing somewhere between romanticized inspiration and delusion. The third and final act traverses the romanticism of falling into a fleeting love and giving yourself over to it wholly despite knowing it’s not destined to last.
Tender Roses for Tough Climates is a film that grows on you over time — at least, that was my experience with it. The first time I viewed it, I was entranced by the visuals — almost to the extent that I didn’t notice much else. Yet, I returned for more. The second time I viewed it, I did so with my eyes closed so that I would only notice the poetry. It was at that point that I realized how fucking beautiful and relatable TRFTC is. Then I watched it again — this time with my eyes and ears both open — and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. …
When I was kid I saw Pulp Fiction for the first time. I was in 9th grade, at a new school and I had no friends. I loved the movie so much that I recorded it onto a tape. I would listen to the audio from the movie on my walkman. I remember the first week at the school they had a swimming competition. The whole school had to go and watch the swimmers race. I was sitting on the bleachers alone when a kid asked me what I was listening to “it’s Pulp Fiction” I replied. “The soundtrack?” he asked “No, the whole movie. Wanna listen to it?” Needless to say, I didn’t make a friend that day. But looking back I realize that I would totally be friends with that kid. He’s awesome. I mean, that’s a pretty serious movie-nerd move to listen to a bootlegged audio-only version of a film you love on your walkman, at school sports event. This Wednesday, May 24th, is a chance for all you other Pulp Fiction fans to see the movie on the big screen at Brooklyn Bazaar, and best of all, it’s free! The venue’s restaurant and bar will be “open before, during and after the movie!” So eat, drink and enjoy Tarantino’s 1994 classic. My 14-year-old-self is so fucking excited for you!
This event is sooooo up my alley! Sofia Coppola’s 2006 retelling of the life of young Marie Antoinette, played by Kirsten Dunst (in Converse Chuck Taylors) is, in the words of A.O. Scott “A thoroughly modern confection, blending insouciance and sophistication, heartfelt longing and self-conscious posing with the guileless self-assurance of a great pop song.” Each ticket to this event gets you “a champagne cocktail and decadent puff pastry from Ladurée, the same french bakery that provided the pastries featured in the film!” I mean, what else could you ask for? While $32 is a little pricier than your average movie ticket, I would say it’s well worth it for pastries and a cocktail. At time of writing all advance tickets have sold out, BUT they will be selling tix at the door 30 mins before. My advice: get there 40 mins before to make sure you can grab one. Get on it. Je vais te voir là bas!
We’re super excited about this year’s iteration of Mix NYC, the enlightening queer art festival that takes place in NYC each year. This “film forward” iteration “prioritizes the visions and labors of undeserved and underrepresented femme communities, trans communities, and communities of color. That’s right kids, we’ve curated BAD ASSED films for your tender queer hearts to give you all the psychic courage you need to stand up and resist tyranny in these harrowing times.” It all takes place at The Dreamhouse, which is the newish space at the Spectrum in Ridgewood. Opening night happens at 8:00PM on February 2nd and features a slew of short films on topics as broad as “AIDS, alienation, disconnection, the urban landscape, condoms, bedbugs, hustling, sex toys of every description and cellphone apps.” Apparently these are all the things that “keep queer people apart and bring us together.” The screenings continue each night until Feb. 5th. There’s too many films to list, but trust, it’s an amazing selection of queer stories being told. Click here for tickets!
The Metrograph cinema is one of those places that I don’t want anyone to know about, but I also want to support just to keep it open. Which is why I want to tell you about their current film series, ‘Based on a Book by Patricia Highsmith,’ as you may have guessed, pays tribute to the 20th century writer known for her well-drawn portrayals of psychologically damaged characters. You may know some of the films based on her novels. There’s Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Todd Haynes’ Carol, and Hitchcock’s Strangers On The Train. These, plus Purple Noon (René Clément), The American Friend (Win Wenders) and The Cry of The Owl (Claude Chabrol) will all be screened as part of the series. Highsmith’s “stories are gripped with unspoken desire, lucid about the role of class in international society and helped define the modern suspense-thriller. Although Highsmith was often leery of the films made from her books, they’re truly important outgrowths of her lasting influence.” I would go for no other reason than to see the theater, it’s really beautiful. But these great films are of course soooo worth seeing.
I adored this film. Directed by Mike Mills, (who I just discovered has a baby with Miranda July) 20th Century Women is set in the late '70s in San Diego, California. The main character, played by Annette Bening, is a single mother to a young teen boy played by Lucas Jade Zumann. Trying to raise him right, the intellectually curious mom enlists a free-spirited young woman played by Greta Gerwig, who rents a room in their house, and has recently recovered from cervical cancer, plus one of the boys childhood friends, played by Elle Fanning, to help her raise the teen. Billy Crudup plays another tenant in the house who seems to pay rent by helping renovate the dilapidated old mansion. 20th Century Women is funny, thought-provoking, and my only wish after leaving the theater was that I could go back in and spend more time with these characters. It’s the kind of film that would make a great TV series, especially in today’s world, where showrunners are given maximum freedom to bring their creative visions to life. During last Sunday’s Golden Globes I was hoping that Annette would win the award for best actress in a comedy or musical. Unfortunately she didn’t come away with a Globe, but don’t be too upset. As I’m sure her character might say about awards, they are nothing more than a scam invented by the bourgeois to reaffirm the notion that their tastes are superior to everyone else’s. Resist! And go see this film.
A Sci-Fi Doc where HIV never existed.
One of my friends sent me the trailer for ‘FATHERS: Sex & Politics if AIDS Never Happened’ with the caption from the film’s Indigogo page: “what if Mapplethorpe got into a Twitter feud with a Kardashian?” I about lost my shit at the thought of all the ‘what ifs’ that seem to be at the core of this film. Fathers is sci-fi documentary directed by San Fran queen, Leo Harrera, whose 50 years of faggotry in 5 minutes, The Fortune Teller, stunned us back in 2013.
The film is set in an alternate universe where the AIDS crisis never happened. Where would our queer artists and activists be? What if Keith Haring was still around? What if Robert Mapplethrope was still putting on shows downtown? What if Sylvester was still around? What if [Insert Gay Icon Who Died of AIDS] was still on this planet?
Harrera describes the film as “Looking meets Black Mirror meets Beyonce’s Lemonade.” Y’all, I’m sold. The film will use computer-generated imagery, historical and live-action footage, and staged news reports. It imagines the influence of our lost generation, telling a story about the culture of celebrities, global LGBT injustices, and HIV stigma.
“The tools we have to combat HIV will give us the privilege of keeping our queer artists, but the injustices of AIDS should always live in our collective memory and, more importantly, in our imagination. It’s the only way that we can find creative cures to the damage it caused to our culture and harness the power it gave our community to join against political forces that threatened our lives, now more than ever.” – Herrera
This is epic. …
Remember when this film first came out? It was such a carry. Not only was it the last film by the iconic Stanley Kubrick, but it also featured Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who at the time were married, plus there was an orgy scene. There was so much controversy around the film before it was released. When I saw it I remember thinking, that’s it? It all seemed pretty tame to me. Like all Kubrick films, it takes multiple viewings to see all the hidden nuance and visual metaphors. This Friday is my chance to give it another go, as it is being played in 35mm at midnight at the Nitehawk cinema in Brooklyn. It’s part of their Cinema’s Holiday Spectacular series. Bring a date, or go alone. If the macabre masked orgy scene gets you all hot and sweaty then after the film you can head on over to Gio Black Peter’s American Whorer Party: Apocalypto. For tickets email here. It’s an end of the world, anything goes party in a dungeon. I can’t think of anything more fitting to attend after a screening of Eyes Wide Shut. Tom Cruise would approve!
The Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, who is now known simply as Almodóvar, is one of the most influential directors of the last three decades, I mean if you haven’t seen any Almodóvar films, please stop reading this and go watch one of his films right away. “Almodóvar has constructed a colorful universe inhabited by offbeat characters, fluid sexual and gender identities, and complex and singular women.” This new exhibition at MoMA features all his feature films (wow!) and coincides with the release of his latest, and 20th film, Julieta. The whole thing has been organized by Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, and La Frances Hui, Associate Curator, Department of Film and it is made possible by the Spanish luxury fashion brand Loewe. It’s happening all week long so check the website for the full list, but coincidentally this Thursday, December 8th, they are showing two of my favorite films: Tacones Lejanos (High Heels) and La Mala Educación (Bad Education — pictured). They’re on at the same time, but you can’t lose seeing either. I recommend you go see as many of Almodóvar’s films as you can! They’re all been shown on the big screen. What a treat!
This is a super cute thing to do the day after Thanksgiving for those of you who are staying in the city. Videology Bar & Cinema is hosting two screenings of the Sofia Coppola film Lost In Translation. Starring a seventeen-year-old Scarlett Johansson (she plays a newlywed a few years older in the film) and a charming as always Bill Murray, Lost in Translation is about strangers who meet in a foreign land. Both characters have jet lag and can’t sleep so encounter each in their hotel bar late one night. Through the course of a week they develop a warm bond and help each get out of their respective ruts. For anyone who loves Japan, or melancholic comedies, this is a screening not to be missed. Best of all you can watch the film while sipping on a glass of Suntory Whiskey. For those who haven’t seen the film, Bill Murray’s character is in Japan to film a commercial for the whiskey brand. Sofia got the idea for this from an actual commercial her father (Francis Ford Coppola) had filmed years ago for Suntory at their home. Be quick to grab a ticket as this will likely sell out in no time. “Lip my stocking! Lip my stocking!”