Reel World

Show Me Love; Like Water for Chocolate; Lust for Life

Show Me Love
Writer/director Mary Guzman had a "Eureka!" moment in the shower. Since beginning the street-wise Latina lesbian romantic fable Desi's Looking for a New Girl, in the Mission and Castro in 1994, Guzman had shot and edited in spurts as money trickled in from grants, minidonations, and her own jobs. But she was weary of running into people on the street who'd served as extras or chipped in a couple of bucks and hearing the good-natured query, "Are you going to finish the movie?" Guzman admits to thinking, "I'll just move. I won't tell anybody."

That moment passed, of course, but Desi's hasn't. Yes, fashions have changed and lead actress Desi del Valle wears more plaid than someone would now. "People tucking their T-shirts into their boxers -- that's over," Guzman acknowledges with one of her frequent laughs. "But Desi's sidekick [played by Yesina Aguirre] is wearing classic butch wear, and that doesn't go out of style." Along the way, the leads made major sacrifices for continuity's sake: Aguirre had her eyebrow re-pierced while del Valle graciously got her hair cut short again (and again).

Desi's Looking for a New Girl sprang from Guzman's exuberance at screening her short, After the Break, at the S.F. International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival in the early '90s. A feature was obviously next, she thought. Guzman chuckles at her younger self and says, "Somebody should talk to people at that moment." Guzman gets the last laugh when Desi premieres at the Castro at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 16, in this year's fest.

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Like Water for Chocolate
Trailers for documentaries that never mention the d-word are routine, but now the gutless hypocrites at Miramax are pulling the same subtly misleading scam with foreign films. Pay close attention to the trailer for Jose Luis Cuerda's The Butterfly , which contains nary a word of Spanish nor a single subtitle. A generic male voice-over peddles empty, soothing platitudes that add up to "date movie." I, for one, am fed up with hearing how much the Weinsteins love foreign films while they scour the globe for feel-good picture postcards like Cinema Paradiso, Il Postino, and Life Is Beautiful.

Lust for Life
Hong Kong filmmaker Fan Ho, now living in the South Bay, first made his mark as a photographer in the '40s. Forty of his fabulous black-and-white images are at the Mill & Short Gallery (555 Sutter) through June. ... Rising local talents Cauleen Smith (I Am Furious Black) and Tom E. Brown (Pushing Dead) are up at the Sundance Institute's Filmmakers Lab, a haven for intensive mentoring and development. ... Showtime will produce a third miniseries, Armistead Maupin's Further Tales of the City, gleaned from the S.F. writer's 1970s serials. Parker Posey joins stalwarts Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis for what's become an exercise in pre-AIDS (and pre-$1,500/month studios) nostalgia. Shooting is slated for Montreal. ... Groove broke the record for advance ticket sales at the Embarcadero Center Cinema (set by anime buffs bowing to Princess Mononoke), where it's on two screens. Rave on, it's a crazy feeling.

foxonfilm@yahoo.com

Michael Fox is host ofIndependent View, which airs Fridays at 10:30 p.m., Saturdays at midnight, and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. on KQED (Channel 9).

 
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