By Dan Allen
Outfest returns to Los Angeles tonight for its impressive 34th edition, with a huge lineup of more than 160 films from 19 countries — plus scores of parties, panels, red carpets and other special events — all lasting for 11 days, through July 17. World premieres at Outfest 2016 will include the new female Ghostbusters reboot (two days before its release in theaters), and a slew of iconic classics will also screen (like the world’s first-ever gay feature, the 1919 German film Different from the Others). Here are our picks for the 8 must-see new dramas and comedies at this year’s Outfest:
James Franco is back in yet another gay-themed movie, this time the real-life story of actor Brent Corrigan (a.k.a. Sean Paul Lockhart), whose meteoric rise as a young porn star caused a pair of rival producers to try to land him by any means necessary. Justin Kelly directs (as he did for last year’s I Am Michael, also starring Franco), and Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald costar.
Paris 05:59: Theo + Hugo
Literally starting with a bang (an extended and very raw scene at a sex club), this French film from longtime directing pair Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau follows Theo and Hugo as they wander the streets of Paris and face a major crisis in the early morning hours after their steamy hookup.
Another French gem, this time for les femmes: In 1971, country girl Delphine flees the farm for Paris, where she meets and falls for older bisexual radical feminist Carole. When a family emergency calls Delphine home, Carole follows, and the two try to make a go of provincial coupledom.
And still more French excellence: From master director André Téchiné comes this tale of two very different smalltown teenage boys who appear on the surface to despise each other, but whose fierce anger only masks a deep longing.
Headlining Outfest’s Opening Night Gala is the directorial debut of actress Clea DuVall, a witty dramedy about four 30-something couples (including DuVall and Natasha Lyonne) who gather at a house in the country so that three of the couples can secretly ambush the fourth with relationship advice.
Closing Outfest this year is this semi-autobiographical story from director Chris Kelly, about a big city comedy writer who, with his career and relationship already on the skids, returns to Sacramento to help care for his dying mother (Molly Shannon).
LA’s own Koreatown is the backdrop for this coming-of-age tale of young David, who takes a job in a local spa to help support his struggling immigrant family, and winds up discovering gay hook-up culture and his own sexuality.
Looking: The Movie
It’ll debut on HBO on July 23, but meanwhile you can catch this feature-length wrap-up of the cult gay TV series Looking at Outfest, as Patrick returns to San Francisco and is reunited with Richie, Dom, and the rest of their big quirky queer clan.
Stay tuned: Tomorrow we’ll look at Outfest 2016’s fab lineup of must-see documentaries.