Inside Out celebrates 30 years with 18 queer classics

The LGBTQ film festival's Queerly Beloved screening series will run throughout March at the Paradise Theatre


Inside Out is celebrating its 30th anniversary this spring – and to get Toronto audiences properly worked up about that, the festival has lined up a month-long retrospective of LGBTQ cinema at the Paradise Theatre.

Over the month of March, Queerly Beloved will screen 18 titles defined as “independent and influential queer films,” supporting them with curated Q&As and live events to be announced. The program spans almost a century, from Richard Oswalt’s 1919 silent Different From The Others (March 15, 8 pm) – the first film to feature openly gay characters – to Barry Jenkins’s Oscar-winning 2016 breakout Moonlight (March 18, 6 pm).

An impressive range of genres is represented: the kitchen-sink drama of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1975 Fox And His Friends (March 2, 7:30 pm), the smouldering romance of Donna Deitch’s 1985 Desert Hearts (March 28, 2 pm), the neo-noir of the Wachowski sisters’ 1996 Bound (March 4, 9 pm), the slow-motion farce of Ang Lee’s 1993 The Wedding Banquet (March 31, 6 pm). There’s even a musical, in the form of John Greyson’s deliberately discordant 1993 Zero Patience (March 3, 6 pm).

A host of documentaries drop in on key moments in queer history: Frank Simon’s The Queen (March 1, 7 pm) looks at America’s drag scene circa 1967 Jenny Livingston’s Paris Is Burning (March 8, 7 pm repeats March 10, 11 am) drops in on Harlem’s drag balls in 1990. And Matt Wolf’s Wild Combination: A Portrait Of Arthur Russell (March 6, 9 pm) looks at the life of the classically trained cellist who became a fixture in New York’s avant-garde scene. (The Wild Combination screening will be followed by a performance of Russell’s songs in concert by The Holy Oak Family Singers.)

Drunktown’s Finest (March 10, 6 pm), the 2014 feature debut of trans filmmaker Sydney Freeland, follows the intersecting lives of three people on a Navajo reservation. Jacqueline Audry’s Olivia (March 8, 4 pm), a black-and-white French drama from 1951 starring Claire Olivia as a new student at an exclusive finishing school who finds herself torn between the headmistress (Edwige Feuillère) and another member of the faculty (Simone Simon).

Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman is the first feature directed by a Black lesbian.

And there’s a rather daring double bill (March 19, 8:30 pm) pairing Yann Gonzalez’s 2018 thriller Knife + Heart – set in the gay-porn industry in the late 70s – with an actual product of the time, Dietrich de Velsa’s 1980 travelogue Equation To An Unknown, presented in a new restoration. (Gonzales credits de Velsa’s feature as an inspiration for his movie.)

Rounding out the program are Céline Sciamma’s gender-conscious 2011 drama Tomboy (March 14, 2 pm), Sean Baker’s 2015 trans sex worker drama Tangerine (March 24, 11 am and 9 pm), Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 Hollywood-history meditation The Watermelon Woman (March 16, 6 pm) – the first film directed by an out Black lesbian – and John Cameron Mitchell’s 2006 dramedy Shortbus (March 23, 7:30 pm), which will be followed by a Q&A with star Sook-yin Lee.

Tickets ($14 for ground floor, $21 for premium balcony with table service) are on sale now. For the full schedule, visit the Paradise website.

@normwilner

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