The UW-Madison’s Reel Love LGBT Film Festival, now in its fourth year, is still the only Wisconsin film festival (and one of the few campus-based festivals nationwide) exclusively devoted to films with gay, lesbian and transgender subject matter.
The free, 15-film festival runs Thursday through Sunday at the Union South Marquee Theatre, 1308 W. Dayton St. Once scheduled in the fall, the festival has moved to the spring this year, but is otherwise another terrific collection of new films, including many Madison premieres, that show the wide range of LGBT filmmaking out there. Whether you like broad comedies, tender dramas or hot-button documentaries, they’re represented at this festival.
“Appropriate Behavior” has its Madison premiere at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21 at the UW-Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave. R, 1:30, three stars out of four.
Desiree Akhavan’s debut feature “Appropriate Behavior” intertwines a couple of hot-button issues — gay rights and the rights of women in Middle Eastern cultures. But anyone expecting a somber “message” film about gay rights are firmly laid to rest in the opening scene, when Shirin (Akhavan) moves out of the apartment she and her ex-girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson) once shared. She angrily takes a box that she had once given to Maxine as a present and throws it in a dumpster — a strap-on dildo.
Movie-wise, we’re languishing in the doldrums right now between the summer blockbuster season and the fall awards season, which is why the hottest movies at the multiplex right now seem to be old movies like “Ghostbusters” and “Forrest Gump.”
But one of the many virtues of living in a college town is that the on-campus series are firing up right now. While the Union South Marquee has second-run showings are more mainstream fare, it’s the UW-Cinematheque that really has movie lovers ready for fall. The series, which screens films for free Thursdays through Sundays at its home base at Vilas Hall as well as at the Marquee and Chazen Museum of Art, has a terrific lineup of Madison premieres, classic series featuring great directors and actors, series built around genre (horror) and theme (World War I), and other movies that are just plain fun to see on the big screen.
Before the screening of her film “Appropriate Behavior” Tuesday at the Prospector Theatre, writer-director-star Desiree Akhavan was near tears. “I just wanted to be honest about things you’re not supposed to talk about in my world, or in Utah.”