FLGLFF: The Way He LooksThe Way He Looks
(Friday, October 17 at 6 p.m. at the Classic Gateway Theatre, 1820 E. Sunrise Blvd.)

Leonardo is a sixteen-year-old who has lived a very structured life. Blind since birth, his experiences have been narrowly confined by his parents and his well-meaning yet stifling best friend Giovana. When a new student enrolls in their high school, he is going to give Leo the chance to experience so many different worlds. This new student, Gabriel, represents fun and excitement to Leo. Giovana, left out in the cold, is upset at receiving the cold shoulder and doesn’t know how to properly express her frustration, taking it out on her friend and on Gabriel. Gabriel, however, figures out that his feelings of friendship toward Leo actually amount to more. Can Leo repair his relationship with Giovana and will he notice that Gabriel a romantic relationship with him?

This story unfolds so seamlessly that I was surprised that the end of the film came so fast. In his quest for independence, Leo learns who his true friends are and also learns about love, something he was afraid he would never experience. He was indeed able to move forward and become more confident, all the while maintaining the trust and loyalty in his best girlfriend.

Country: Brazil

Written and Directed by Daniel Ribeiro

Cast: Ghilherme Lobo as Leonardo, Fabio Audi as Gabriel, Tess Amorim as Giovana

FLGLFF: XeniaXenia
(Friday, October 17 at 8:15 p.m. at the Classic Gateway Theatre)

Danny is a fun-loving, cute and bubbly teenager from Crete, who loves his iPhone and his pet rabbit. He travels to Athens to tell his estranged brother, Ody, that their mother passed away. After dealing with tension and issues from the past, Ody reveals that their mother, an Albanian, lost her residence permit, therefore they are also without papers. To be able to stay in the country and eventually apply for Greek citizenship, they start on a quest to find their absent father. This quest takes them on a trip across the entire country and brings the two brothers closer together.

Immediately you take a liking to the main characters, especially Danny, and even though him and his brother had differences, they pick up right where they left off. One important motif in this film is music, specifically the music of Italian singer Patty Pravo. It is featured in multiple scenes with many characters and her music seems to cement the familial bond not only the brothers share, the the bond they shared with their deceased mother. There’s even a surprise at the end of the film involving Pravo; watch and see what it is!

Country: Greece

Written by Panagiotis Evangelidis and Panos H. Koutras

Directed by Panos H. Koutras

Cast: Kostas Nikouli as Danny, Nikos Gelia as Ody, Aggelos Papadimitriou as Tassos

FLGLFF: Easter BoysEastern Boys
(Friday, October 17 at 9 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE 6th St.)

In this film, a middle-aged professional, Daniel, can’t help but notice a young man who hangs out in front of the train station. Thinking he is a prostitute, he invites him over for an encounter the next day. However, he gets more than he bargained for when a group of ruffians help themselves to expensive things in his apartment. He later learns that the young man, Marek, is from Chechnya, as are most of the people in the gang he runs with. They are all illegal immigrants and stick together for survival. Over time, Daniel and Marek confide in one another and Marek reveals his true identity. What started out as a sexual relationship turns out to be much more, as Daniel vows to protect this innocent young man at all costs.

This film is an artistic masterpiece as well: I was definitely impressed with the first ten minutes, in which no dialogue is spoken but the entire film’s trajectory is laid out. The scene involving Marek and the fireworks, which triggers his PTSD, is also moving.

Country: France

Written and Directed by Robin Campillo

Cast: Olivier Rabourdin as Daniel, Kirill Emelyanov as Marek/Rouslan, Daniil Vorobyov as Boss  

FLGLFF: F(l)ag FootballF(l)ag Football
(Saturday, October 18 at 5 p.m. at the Classic Gateway Theatre)

This documentary chronicles a year in the life of some of the people and teams that make up the National Gay Flag Football League. We meet Wade Davis, a former NFL player, who wants to lead his New York City team to win the “Gay Bowl” after winning it three years in a row but stumbling last year. We also meet Cyd Zeigler, who moved from New York to Los Angeles and helped their team win their first Gay Bowl. Finally, we learn that the paths of these teams lead to Phoenix, where the next Gay Bowl will be held, and we meet the Phoenix team, whose players work hard and play hard.

One interesting aspect about this documentary is that we learn lots of backstory about Wade, Cyd, and many other players. We learn why they gravitated toward football, why they feel more at home on a field and not in another traditional gay meeting place, and how this sport impacted their lives as gay men. I personally liked hearing many of their coming out stories. It helped me to better understand how some gay men live and thrive in the competitive, hyper-masculine world of sports.

Country: USA

Directed by Seth Greenleaf

Cast: Wade Davis, Cyd Zeigler, Jared Garduno, and others (as themselves)