2007 Year in Review: Movies

 
 

Compared to the polished tone of Puccini and Gray Matters, Itty Bitty Titty Committee was a brazenly lo-fi film, a slyly subversive, punk rock love letter to radical feminist groups and the riot grrl lifestyle. Directed by Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader), the movie starred Melonie Diaz as Anna, an awkward 18-year-old working in a plastic surgery clinic. Unhappy with her life, her body and being rejected from college, she meets Sadie (Nicole Vicius) of the CIA (Clits in Action), a radical feminist group, and tumbles down the feminist rabbit hole.

She joins the CIA as they rally against the patriarchy, fall in love with one another, and squabble, though not necessarily in that order. On top of being anarchic and hilarious, Itty Bitty also holds the distinction of being one of the few films about radical feminism that doesn’t take itself seriously, preferring to poke gentle fun at the youthful sincerity of its main characters.

One longtime staple of queer cinema — the coming-out story — also featured prominently in 2007. The prevailing tone was decidedly upbeat, a welcome change for a subgenre known far and wide for melodrama and serious angst.

Nina’s Heavenly Delights, which was recently released theatrically in select cities, spiced up LGBT film festival screens as an excellent — if not exactly groundbreaking — movie from out director Pratibha Parmar. The film, about a Scottish-Indian woman finding love and family acceptance, follows title character Nina Shah (Shelley Conn), a closeted lesbian, who is called back home to Scotland after the unexpected death of her father.

Nina and Lisa

When she sees an opportunity to save the family’s restaurant in a "best of the west" curry competition, she unexpectedly falls for Lisa (Laura Fraser), her brother’s girlfriend and new co-owner of the eatery. Though the movie does spend a great deal of time working the somewhat formulaic coming-out and family acceptance story lines, the visuals are fresh, the romance is exciting and sweet, and the overall experience is delicious.

Love My Life, which was recently acquired by U.S. distributor Wolfe Video, focused on young Ichiko (Rei Yoshii) as she cavorts with her girlfriend (Asami Imajuku) and comes out to her father, only to discover that he has actually been living as a closeted gay man for all of her life.

Hailing from Japan, the film is a wonderfully refreshing, if occasionally saccharine, meditation on family life and acceptance and finding one’s own path to happiness. Like Itty Bitty, the piece is driven by a busy musical score and visual style, and it features a tumultuous, ultimately happy lesbian romance at its core.

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