Frameline 43, Week Two

More (mostly) queer films from near and far, some about other (mostly) queer films.

Like a dollop of extra guacamole, the second week of the 43rd Frameline Festival is when things get tangy. Of local interest is Bob Ostertag’s Thanks to Hank, about the life and work of Bay Area activist Hank Wilson. In the 1970s and ’80s, he created many organizations that still exist today, and during the worst of the AIDS crisis he turned the Ambassador Hotel into an unofficial, unfunded, and utterly indispensable hospice.

Far more dubious achievements are celebrated in Jeffrey McHale’s You Don’t Nomi, about the strange saga of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls. McHale examines the misogyny behind the camera while taking the film’s eventual adoption by local drag culture as a net positive — but digging deeper would involve asking uncomfortable questions about the intersection of drag and misogyny, and we don’t do that in San Francisco. Showgirls itself has long gone from wired to tired, so far more vital is Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen’s Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, about queer actor Mark Patton’s experiences starring in, and then living down the homophobic backlash to, Jack Sholder’s little-loved A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Consumer warning: Nomi and Nightmare feature varying quantities of Peaches Christ, described by Frameline as “a local icon” and “the one and only.” Uh-huh. Sure.

Now playing at the Castro, Roxie, and Victoria theatres.

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