PULLING OUT THE STOPS (Robert Kennedy, Canada). 25 minutes. Tonight (Thursday, May 26), 9:45 pm. Cumberland. Rating: NN
Local art fag Robert Kennedy attempts to get up close and personal for this muddled snapshot of pervy orch-pop faves the Hidden Cameras but comes up short. Shot largely in two chunks - the first around the Cameras' 2002 Ban Marriage bash, the second last summer during their Mississauga Goddam record release - Kennedy's video contains OK live footage, a bit of background and some thoroughly disappointing interviews.
What happened in the interim (massive lineup changes, a deal with Rough Trade, international buzz) remains a mystery, and he shies away from asking tough questions, relying instead on a montage of lame "How did you meet X?" responses. Kennedy seems confused about the nature of his project - is it a documentary or a concert film? - and fails to draw on the campy potential of either his edgier experimental background or the Cameras' own over-the-top aesthetic, resulting in an artless mishmash. Sarah Liss
THE NOMI SONG (Andrew Horn, Germany). 96 minutes. Some subtitles. Sunday (May 29), 2:45 pm. Isabel Bader. Rating: NNNN
Midway through Andrew Horn 's fantastic biopic, a former band member claims Klaus Nomi was "so unusual that if you weren't there from the beginning, you didn't really know him." This visually captivating and meticulously researched film (winner of the Teddy for best documentary at the 2004 Berlin film fest) takes you back to the beginning and beyond to unravel the phenomenon of the alienated German androgyne who reinvented himself as an operatic New Wave alien in the underground New York art scene.
Drawing on a trove of archival performance and interview footage, Horn captures the sweaty, coked-up vibe of late-70s/early-80s NYC club culture, contextualizing Nomi's stylized fusion of high art and punk rock and providing insight into the reclusive oddball's psyche. Though he follows a fairly conventional Behind The Music rise-and-fall trajectory, Horn's obvious love for and understanding of his subject makes The Nomi Song feel anything but typical. Sarah Liss
WHY THEE WED (Calixto Garingan, Canada). 50 minutes. Saturday (May 28), 5 pm. Varsity. Rating: NN
This NFB offering looks at a year in the lives of the eight same-sex couples who in 2003 successfully sued the BC government to secure the right to marry. They're lovely people in sweet relationships, but not terribly interesting. This makes for a film that would work really well in a high school classroom or as a tool for use by activists trying to convince a not very well-travelled audience that gay people are unthreatening, so allowing them to marry won't bring about the collapse of civilization. It's tame enough for TV, too.
The title Why Thee Wed is a perfect reflection of the tone of the movie. There's nothing here for queers engaged in a sophisticated discourse on the social meaning of marriage. Susan G. Cole