(Jean-Marc Vallée, Canada, 129 mins.)
I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions have an echo
And so much space.
-- Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy"
Funny, moving, and highly tuneful, C.R.A.Z.Y. trumps most gay coming-of-age films. Montreal writer/director Vallée pulls off the feat simply by painting an indelible portrait of an entire family, particularly the relationship between stern father and freespirited son, and not just the efforts by the latter to define his sexuality. He also sidesteps (or at least subverts) many of the clichés that have hampered the genre. Worth it for the sequence in the Catholic Church alone, in which Zachary (Marc-André Grondin)--the "Z" in C.R.A.Z.Y.--imagines the entire congregation singing along to "Sympathy for the Devil." Totally transcendent. In the end, it's their shared love for music that helps the David Bowie-loving Zac and Patsy Cline-worshipping Gervais (the fantastic Michel Côté) weather the storm that is their turbulent family life from 1960 to 1980. One of my favorite films of the festival.
Here's a list of the songs featured in C.R.A.Z.Y.:
Patsy Cline - "Back in Baby's Arms," "I Fall to Pieces," and "Crazy," Charles Aznavour (and Michel Côté) - "Emmène-moi" and "Hier Encore," Stories - "Brother Louie," Perez Prez Prado, King of Mambo - "Mambo Jambo," Pink Floyd - "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "The Great Gig In The Sky," David Bowie (and Marc-André Grondin) - "Space Oddity," the Rolling Stones - "Sympathy for the Devil," Roy Buchanan - "The Messiah Will Come Again," Jefferson Airplane - "White Rabbit," Timmy Thomas - "Why Can't We Live Together," Robert Charlebois - "Tout Ecartillé," Elvis Presley - "Santa Claus Is Back in Town," Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal - "Minuit Chrétien," "Carol of the Bells, and "Del Elisir Mirabile / Elisir D'Amore," and Chorovaya Akademia / Alexander Sedov - "Nine Sili Nebesniye / Ancient Echoes."
Egyptian: 6/16 at 9pm and 6/18 at 1:15pm.
(Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, USA, 90 mins.)
The Year of Peckinpah--The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Proposition, etc.--continues with this Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner. Granted, Quinceañera may not look like one of Sam's films, but it features one of his favorite actor/crew members, Chalo González (The Wild Bunch, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), as benificent octagenerian Tio Tomas. The longtime Echo Park dweller takes in 14-year-old Magdalena (Emily Rios) when she becomes pregnant and her part-time preacher father refuses to have anything to do with her. Together, Tio, Magdalena, and gay cholo cousin Carlos (Jesse Garcia) start to form a family when tragedy strikes again...and yet again. Still, the directors manage to pull a happy--or at least hopeful--ending out of their hat. They also gave me the opportunity to have a good cry. Though produced by Todd Haynes (Safe), Quinceañera plays more like a film by Jim McKay (Our Song) set to a reggaeton beat. Recommended.
Egyptian: 6/16 at 6:30pm and 6/18 at 4:30pm.
Directors scheduled to attend.