Archive for June 26, 2007

Movie Review: El Calentito

El Calentito

Las Sioux

Director: Chus Gutierrez

Starring: Veronica Sanchez, Juan Sanz, Lluvia Rojo

Spanish release: 2005

I saw this movie at San Francisco’s Frameline last week at the Castro Theater. Frameline is San Francisco’s annual lesbian, gay, queer and transgender film festival. (There’s hardly anything addressing a bisexual audience.) An organ player rose up from a pit in front of the screen and entertained the audience just before the showing.

I don’t go to the theater much. Tickets are expensive and i feel bad when i see a movie that sucks. Movies that i do go to el cine for: those with great visuals and/or when music is an important part of the story.

It’s 1981 and nightclub scene in Spain is shaking as people find themselves freer to express their individuality, a quality long suppressed under Franco’s dictatorship. El Calentito is one site of rebellion, where youth party to punk rock, score hits, and well, score. But not Sara. She lies plastered on the floor of the restroom after witnessing her boyfriend making out with another woman. Rescued by Carmen, one of Las Siux, an all-women punk rock band one singer short of a trio, Sara is convinced to fill in at a record label meeting. You pretty much can guess what happens for the rest of the movie – except for some characters’ reactions to martial law when military fascists stage a coup.

El Calentito reminds me of an Almod√≥var movie, but with fewer plot twists. Chatty transexuals? Check. Lesbian/gay side character? Check. Controversial Catholic sexual imagery? Check. Linear plot, unimaginative lyrics, a few tired metaphors; but historically interesting and very high energy, El Calentito is a good popcorn sort of movie. It just might have you jumping up and shouting “¬°Libertad!”

Anime Review: The Place Promised in Our Early Days

Screen captures of Place Promised in Our Early Days

Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho/ Beyond the Clouds, The Promised Place

Aka The Place Promised in Our Early Days

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Japanese Premiere: Nov 2004

US Premiere: May 2005

“I always have a feeling that I’m losing something” – Sayuri Sawatari.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days is a blend of romantic fairy tale and science-fiction set in a parallel reality of post-WWII Japan. In this reality, Japan is split up, with one section controlled by “the Union” and the other controlled by the United States. An everpresent mystery is the role of a tower that stretches as high up as far as the eye can see, designed by an engineer with a crucial relationship to one the main characters.

As the story begins, two junior high boys, Takuya and Hiroshi, are making plans for the summer. They spend much of their time rebuilding an old airplane that they discovered using money, parts, and advice from their summer job at a munitions plant.

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