With over 24 feature films on offer, Mambaonline takes a look at some of the highlights of the 2006 Out In Africa International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. This will be updated regularly, so keep coming back!


Dir. Ducastel & Martineau • France • 105 min • 35 mm • 2002

This sweet film tells the tale of a family on a life-changing holiday on the Riviera. Each one must come to terms with who they are and what they really want – and things are often not what they seem. There’s the 17 year old son that may or may not be gay (who’s brought his definitely-gay friend along), a gay plumber, a cheating mother and a father that’s struggling to deal with all this. It’s an unusual mix of drama, comedy and the occasional musical number, but it’s ultimately rewarding thanks to great performances all around. An enjoyable – and very French – film that isn’t too demanding. Bring the whole family! Directors Jacques Martineau and Olivier Ducastel are guests of the Festival.

• Overall rating out of ten: 7

• Flesh factor out of ten: 3


Dir. Mr. Pam • USA • 95 min • Digital • 2005

A feature length documentary – or ‘pornomentary’ – that will probably be the hit of the festival for no other reason than the amount of naked skin on display. It’s not a terribly bad film per se, but this look at the behind-the-scenes making of the hit porn cowboy flick BuckleRoos offers very little that’s new. We get to meet the stars, the crew and experience the quirks and travails of making an adult film – but there’s no real insight into the experience, even though it’s filmed by a woman, (which could have offered an interesting perspective). It doesn’t help that the shoot itself is one big love-fest with very little drama or conflict to shake things up. If you’re fascinated about how porn is made or just want to get a fix of naked hotties with impressive penises, then check this out. Otherwise, just get the porn film.

• Overall rating out of ten: 5

• Flesh factor out of ten: 9


Dir. Travis Reeves • Scotland • 92 min • Digital • 2004

In keeping with this year’s focus on transgender themes, this documentary is a well-crafted, if somewhat slow-paced, account of singer/songwriter Ruth’s transition into Simon de Voil. Its strength is really Simon himself, who is an engaging, honest, intelligent and appealing subject who could well make you rethink your opinions on people who suffer from gender identity issues. Simon must grapple with a major trade-off of becoming a man: losing his singing voice (thanks to testosterone injections) which adds another level to his moving and empowering transition. It’s an intimate look into a brave and likable individual’s personal journey of becoming who he really is.

• Overall rating out of ten: 7

• Flesh factor out of ten: 1


Dir: Christopher Munch • USA • 74 min • Digital • 2004

I have to admit that the thought of watching a film about two incestuous brothers didn’t appeal to me, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to watch Harry and Max. I found this gentle story of brothers without boundaries – one younger than the other – to be challenging on a number of levels. There is the conflict it sets up in the viewer of voyeuristically watching two appealing young characters who are mutual attracted to one another, yet being aware of the fact that they are meant to be brothers. The film also manages to evade looking at the issue of incest from a moralistic perspective; and instead focuses on how our need for love evolves as we mature. In fact it’s almost entirely un-sensational in its handling of taboos: incest and even paedophilia. Harry and Max has many problems – including often awkward dialogue and student-film style motivational exposition – but I found it engaging and worthwhile nonetheless.

• Overall rating out of ten: 7

• Flesh factor out of ten: 4


Dir: Paul Etheredge Ouzts • USA • 85 min • 35 mm • 2004

As a fan of horror films, Hellbent gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up from me for the mere fact that it’s the first, as far as I know, gay slasher film. The tale of a group of five gay friends who must survive a very buff leather-clad psycho in the midst of a Halloween carnival, it serves up the requisite slicing and dicing of horny sexy young things. However, apart from subverting the genre with its gay slant, the film doesn’t take the experience much further. With a little more self-aware humour, snappier dialogue, sharper delivery and a more dynamic pace, it could have been a much better film of its kind. The actors will most likely never get to walk the Oscar red carpet, but they’re all quite hot and very likable; I actually found myself wincing when the characters meet their messy fate.

• Overall rating out of ten: 6

• Flesh factor out of ten: 3


Dir: Ilil Alexander • Israel • 52 min • Digital • 2004

A quiet, insightful documentary about a group of Israeli lesbians who strive to live within the conservative and unforgiving religious world they find themselves in. One is married and wrestling with forbidden urges, while another has arranged with her husband to have a girlfriend on the side. Finally, an out lesbian couple plan to unite in a religious ceremony. They all struggle to reconcile their religion with their conflicting needs and sense of identity. It’s a powerful and fascinating little film, which is both hampered and made intriguing by the fact that we never clearly see the faces of a number of the subjects. At its core, it questions how far we’re prepared to go in continuing to function within a religious structure in which one’s very identity is rejected and invalidated. Keep Not Silent presents no solutions, rather simply the realities which these women must face.

• Overall rating out of ten: 7

• Flesh factor out of ten: 0


Dir: John L’Ecuyer • USA/CAN • 90 min • Digital • 2004

Based on the true story of Marc Hall’s 2002 battle to take his boyfriend to his Catholic high school prom, Prom Queen is a fun recounting of the experience of taking on the education and legal systems and the media. There are a few missteps in the performances, primarily from Marc’s boyfriend, Jason, and the film doesn’t flow as well as it could. The fact that there is no depiction of intimacy between blue haired Marc and his boyfriend – except for one short kiss towards the end – stands out as slightly suspect. There’s a sanitised sensibility to the whole thing, but it’s full of good intentions and is ultimately sweet and uplifting.

• Overall rating out of ten: 6

• Flesh factor out of ten

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend