Movie Man-Child

In the prologue of the documentary Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, a voice approximating that of the eponymous ecstatic trickster recounts his boyhood visitation from an angel, imparting intuition, articulation, and merriment, by which the poetics of life-celebration are made. “If I followed the game sharply enough,” he recalls, “I could be a useful spokesman for Big Joy.” Well, it worked. As a San Francisco poet and filmmaker, Broughton became a movie man-child in the best possible way modeling what's described in this spirited portrait as “a golden secret of West Coast Bohemia” by one well-known rememberer, and “a pure kind of California magic” by another. Big Joy is but one offering at this year's Frameline, still Earth's largest queer cinema showcase, whose dozens of other films range in scope from all the latest James Franco experiments to the long-anticipated movie of Michelle Tea's book Valencia — itself a festival-mosaic of sorts, with 21 different filmmakers participating. But the spirit of Broughton seems to preside over it all, like an affirming experimental angel. When in doubt, he once said, twirl.

June 20-30, 2013

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