21 films explore gay stories Favorites: A few acclaimed films and several lesser-known entries appear in Baltimore's Queer Film and Video Festival.

Film Ann Hornaday

May 29, 1998|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN FILM CRITIC

The first edition of Baltimore's Queer Film and Video Festival will feature some familiar names: "Leather Jacket Love Story," Rondo Mieczkowski's romantic drama about two mismatched men who find love in the Silver Lake suburb of Los Angeles, has been a favorite on the festival circuit recently, and Cheryl Dunye's "The Watermelon Woman" and "Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer's End," about the late author and activist, were both acclaimed when they were released in theaters in 1997.

But the festival's founder Chris Lines notes that 18 more films will be featured in the week-long series.

"The entry film I'm really excited about is a short documentary called 'Beauty Before Age,' " he says. "It's about the issue of the older gay man and the younger gay man and and I think not only does it apply to [the gay] community but it applies [to the community] in general."

Lines, a graduate student in film at Towson University, put out a call for entries to the festival last winter and received 25 submissions. In addition to "Beauty Before Age," he recommended the short film "Curiosity" by Leslie Rohland ("It's about discovering your sexuality and it's a lot of fun") and Austin, Texas, filmmaker Kyle Henry's "American Cowboy," about gay rodeo star Gene Mkulenka. Four films by local directors will be shown: Lines' "Acceptance," Laurie Hiris' "You Are Here," and two short films by Kate Schaffer, "I Remember Her" and "A Lesson in Etiquette."

Baltimore's Queer Film and Video Film Festival opens Thursday night with a party at the Club Charles, followed by screenings of "Leather Jacket Love Story" and "The Watermelon Woman." The festival will continue through June 11 at the Charles, Orpheum and the Maryland Institute, College of Art. Admission to "Cafe Lavender" and the opening night films is $15. For information about the schedule and how to obtain festival passes ($30), call 410/433-1395.

Dreyer double feature

The Orpheum in Fells Point brings in a double feature of films by the Danish director Carl Theodore Dreyer on Monday. "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (1928), starring Renee Falconetti as the doomed French visionary, is commonly held to be Dreyer's masterpiece and one of the most important movies ever made. The film, which Dreyer based on original testimony from Joan's trial, inspired Jean Cocteau to note that it "seems like an historical document from an era in which the cinema didn't exist."

The Orpheum will also show "Gertrud" (1964), Dreyer's final film about a woman who forsakes the men in her life for an existence of complete isolation, which is acclaimed for its stark, minimalist style. The Dreyer program will run Monday through Thursday, and will return for four days on June 11.

That's MISS Stanwyck to you

The Charles Theatre continues its B-Films series tomorrow with a screening of "Forty Guns" (1957), Samuel Fuller's characteristically over-the-top Western starring Barbara Stanwyck as a vengeful ranchwoman going mano-a-mano with the local sheriff. Bursting with Fuller's signature muscular brio, "Forty Guns" features Stanwyck at her brassiest. No doubt about it, the dame had huevos. Don't miss this chance to see a film

that is unavailable on video. "Forty Guns," along with the short film "The Bulleteers" (1942), will be shown tomorrow at 11: 30 a.m. and again Monday at 7: 30 p.m. Call 410-727-FILM for more information.

'All Quiet' restored

One of Hollywood's all-time greats finally gets the treatment it deserves, with the unveiling on AMC of the restored version of Universal's 1930 masterpiece, "All Quiet on the Western Front."

What may have been the first truly great film of the sound era, "All Quiet" adapts Erich Maria Remarque's novel of German youth disillusioned, if not destroyed, by the realities of World War I. The film masterfully portrays the gung-ho enthusiasm that was initially generated among the masses, as well as the grim despair that set in when the reality of war -- the trenches, the death, the deprivation -- became all too clear. Probably no film until 1978's "Coming Home" conveyed its anti-war message so movingly.

The film has played on TV before but this restored print does away with nearly 70 years of accumulated dirt, bad cuts and inferior sound, and will enable a new generation of film lovers to see the film as it was intended. You'll even get to see more of it, as the film has been restored to its original dimensions. For instance, what for years appeared as one soldier digging out a trench now appears as three soldiers bailing water out of one.

The print, a years-long project by the Library of Congress, gets its world premiere as part of AMC's annual Preservation Film Festival. The cable channel contributed some of the proceeds from its earlier festivals to the restoration effort.

"All Quiet On the Western Front" makes its debut at 12: 45 p.m. Friday, with additional showings at 9: 30 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Pub Date: 5/29/98

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