Sunday, June 16, 2024

A New Tale, Same City and X Rated Movie Highlight San Francisco Film Festival

The 60th San Francisco Film Festival kicks off April 10 and there are several LGBT (and gay-friendly) titles of note.

First and foremost, there is a screening of the only X rated movie to win an Oscar. Not only did it win, but it was Best Picture.

Midnight Cowboy

The festival will feature a 50th-anniversary screening of “Midnight Cowboy”, 1969’s Best Picture and when it came out it was rated X.

By today’s standards, it’s only a PG13, maybe R, but back in the day a story about a male hustler was provocative and, at the time, X rated.

“Cowboy” isn’t really gay. Jon Voight plays an equal opportunity hustler, sometimes gay per pay.

He and Dustin Hoffman (who has his own hustle going on), give award-worthy performances and worth checking out.

Then there’s the highly anticipated reboot of the mini-series “Tales of the City” in which Mary Ann, Michael the Mouse and Mrs. Madrigal return to their San Francisco setting – which is perfect for a film festival in SF!

Laura Linney and Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis are back in their memorable roles along with some new characters, including one played by Ellen Page. Unlike the first series, these are brand new stories, not based upon Armistead Maupin’s acclaimed novels (even though Maupin had his hands in the project).

Tales of the City

“Booksmart” looks to be the laugh riot film of the spring season. It’s screening at the festival is more a sneak preview of its theatrical run starting May 24.

Actress Olivia Wilde makes her feature directorial debut in this film about two college bookworms who realize they spent a lifetime getting smart, but really not had time to enjoy their journey. Taking a page from “Auntie Mame,”  the girls decide to “live live LIVE!” and make a lifetime of adventure – and experimentation – all in one night.

On the documentary side, there’s a movie called “Ask Dr. Ruth”. For people of a particular age, Dr. Ruth was a household name and deemed the queen of sex advice. For a petite, sweet looking woman, it would be shocking to hear the subjects she’d address and the casualness of what were then taboo topics.

The documentary doesn’t retread her fame from days gone by; instead, it takes a closer look at the woman behind the notoriety, including her being a Holocaust survivor.

“Bloodroot” is a documentary that’s also during a challenging time for LGBT folk: the1950s. Two women, both successful in their “straight” life, leave their comfortable lives for true love with each other. Sounds simple today, but in the ’50s, it was trailblazing and bold.

Jumping from the 1950s to 1970s, we have “Halston”, a documentary of one of the most famous fashion designers of the time who not only dressed Hollywood but partied with them at places like Studio 54. His clients and friends were Hollywood’s A-list: Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, Jackie O and Andy Warhol.

But when you’re set up on a pedestal, the fall is hard and far below as  Halston’s empire suffered greatly thanks to Wall Street investments. We see the highs and lows of a design genius in this informative feature.

The festival runs April 10-23. To catch these and other shows, go to

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Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for and contributes to as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."

Kevin M. Thomas has 157 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin M. Thomas

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