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Films about commitment

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by Nancy Koan

VITO is a tender and powerful look
into one of the most important voices in the birth of contemporary gay culture
and AIDS activism, Vito Russo. The film covers his early days of the New York
gay scene, with juicy landmark moments like Stonewall and Bette Midler
performing  at the Baths. Through his
great concern for community, we witness Vito’s becoming one of the most
important civil rights activists in the country As a film lover, his book The
Celluloid  Closet
 deals with the many unspoken portrayals of
gays in early films before the Code so naturally the film is loaded with great
Hollywood clips. It’s an archivist’s dream. As a template for political
organization and urgency, Occupy Wall Street will find much in this film to be
inspired by.

Director Jeffrey Schwartz of
Automat Pictures encourages Vito’s own family to speak so openly from their
hearts that by the end of the film, it is difficult to feel that you’re not
part of the Russo family.  Terrific
soundtrack from Miriam Cutler.

The film shows at New York Film Festival, Oct. 14 at
6 and 9pm and will be aired on HBO in 2012.

From a completely different POV, is GOD’s LAND, written and directed by Preston
Miller (Jones), tells the story of a group
of Taiwanese zealots who descend upon Garland, Texas with the promise of being raptured
up by a spaceship. Based on a true story, these white jump-suited strangers
wearing cowboy hats and boots, are endearing as they try to fit in and follow
their faith. The local media worries that they could pull off another Wako
resulting in decreased property sales, but these people don’t even own a gun—and
this is Texas. The members seem to actually care about each other and as the actress
Xiu Hou, playing the wife of the most recent inductee says to her much loved
husband: “I don’t have a vision, I’ll take yours.”

It’s
slow-moving (165 minutes) but the pace is important to understanding the
characters’ interiors and Mr. Miller has a great time shooting the strange urban
landscape, though much of it was apparently shot in Hicksville for a pittance.

The
film opens at the Quad on October 28.

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Written by nancykoan

October 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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