Screening Room

New on the film fest circuit: ‘Song Lang,’ ‘Shiny Shrimps,’ ‘Burn the House Down’

The curtain will rise at Austin’s All Genders, Lifestyles and Identities Film Festival, formerly known as the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, ushering in it a plethora of queer films, new and old.

aGLIFF, now in its 32nd year, returns this August 22-25 (tickets, here!) to Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse and features outstanding films we’ve already covered this year, including: Queering the Script, Straight UpTrixie Mattel: Moving Parts, Gay Chorus Deep SouthBit and Seahorse will all compete for top honors.

But there’s also plenty of wonderful films we have not yet seen. So we’ve gone ahead and had a look at the upcoming screening slate to pick out the must-see films at this year’s festival.

Grab the popcorn and a calendar: Check out our screening list for this year’s aGLIFF.

Tongues Untied

Marlon Riggs’ seminal film—which combines narrative and documentary techniques—gets a revival to honor its 30th Anniversary. Tongues Untied focuses on the African-American gay male experience, combining poetry, personal recollections, staged scenes and music to share stories of life as a black, gay man, and the perils of that intersectionality.

Bedrooms & Hallways

Another retrospective, Bedrooms & Hallways will hopefully pick up more of a deserved following. The story tells of a lonely gay man in the UK who joins a self-help group to expand his social circle. There, he meets his ex-boyfriend’s ex-boyfriend…and the two begin a strange friendship. Are they drawn to memories of a man that got away? Or have they finally found something that has eluded them both? As a special bonus, Bedrooms & Hallways features some early performances by contemporary stars, including James Purefoy, Tom Hollander, Simon Callow and Hugo Weaving.

Dykes Camera Action

At the moment, women get to enjoy something of a Renaissance in film, with more female directors, writers and artists adding their stories to the richness of cinema. Dykes Camera Action aims to expand that tapestry by telling the stories of the lesbian filmmakers who changed the business, and the ladies pushing to keep up the fight. With interviews with noted filmmakers like Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman) and Desiree Akhavan (The Bisexual), Dykes Camera Action, mixes the humorous and the harrowing to tell the still-unfolding story of queer women in the movies.

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The Archivettes

Speaking of lesbians and queer erasure, meet Deborah Edle and Joan Nestle, the founders of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, a project dedicated to recording and investigating the contribution of lesbians to Western Civilization. With Edle and Nestle both aging gracefully, and with renewed hostility toward queer people, The Archivettes tells the story of a group in transition, and a pair of heroines determined to leave behind a legacy of pride.

The Shiny Shrimps

This French comedy tells the story of a champion swimmer who utters a homophobic slur on TV. To help salvage his image, he begins coaching a water polo team comprised entirely of some very gay men. More than just a typical sports movie, The Shiny Shrimps takes a fun look at male bonding across the hetero-homo divide, with some very big laughs along the way. We also think that a number of recent sports stars who have said some unkind words about queer people could do with a screening of this movie…not to mention coaching an all-gay team.

Song Lang

Song Lang has already picked up some very prestigious awards on the film festival circuit this year, including the coveted Audience Award at Frameline43. Set in 1980s Vietnam, the film follows the unlikely romance between a loan shark enforcer and a young opera singer. We should probably also note that said singer usually performs the female roles in operas, as was the Vietnamese tradition for centuries. The exploration of sexual and gender fluidity between the pair leads to some profound revelations, and could be quite an opera unto itself.

Burn the House Down

Drag ball culture is more popular than ever thanks in large part to shows like Pose. The documentary Burn the House Down examines the rise of ballroom culture in Paris, and how the combination of race, immigration, gender fluidity, and style have given rise to a new generation of queer artists. Much like Paris is Burning before it, Burn the House Down a unique, flamboyant culture on the brink of exploding.

aGLIFF returns this August 22-25 to Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse.