El Niqo Pez

Inside Out 2009, Ever so Fabulous

Inside Out turns 19 this year, with a solid lineup celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans films and filmmakers. Expect coming of age stories, foreign dramas, crime capers, and pointers on surviving the holidays - an eclectic bunch of (mostly) indie films with a queer twist.

The Toronto LGBT Film and Video festival launches its 11-day run tonight with a Swedish entry, Patrik, Age 1.5 at the Bloor Cinema. This very PG family drama has the most predictable plot that I've seen in months, but some colourful characters and sincere moments are enough to make the film worthwhile. Göran and Sven move to the suburbs and, due to an administrative error, end up with a delinquent 15 year old instead of the infant they had expected to adopt. The mix-up calls into question their plan to start a conventional family and when Göran decides to step up, Sven steps out. After the screening, take your ticket stub to the Bata Shoe Museum to get into the opening night gala party for free.

The festival continues with the world premiere of Make The Yuletide Gay on May 17th at the Isabel Bader Theatre with writer/director Rob Williams in attendance. Adamo Ruggiero co-stars in this light home-for-the-holidays coming out story. The Degrassi actor hosted Inside Out's media launch event a few weeks ago. For a darker dose of comedy, check out Drool later on the same evening. In this movie Anora (Laura Harring from Mullholland Drive) meets a new neighbour and the pair ends up on a Thelma and Louise-like adventure with her bratty kids.

As with any festival of this size, it's impossible to love all of the selections. I could have done without New Wave, a French film where an unlikely friendship forms between a punk kid and a farm boy. I'm also lukewarm on the film adaptation of J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace, although it is a gripping story and John Malkovich is excellent in the lead. Maybe it's because it didn't quite measure up to the novel.

The Fish Child (El niño pez) is my festival recommendation for anyone into Argentina, lesbians, or dreamy mysteries. Lucía Puenzo's follow up to XXY is Inside Out's closer on May 24th at the Bloor Cinema. It centers on Lala, a teenager from an upscale Buenos Aires suburb, who wants nothing more than to run away with her Paraguayan maid Ailin. The lovers steal enough to make the move, but their plan gets abruptly sidetracked.

In the week and a half ahead, Inside Out will also present full doc and shorts programmes, panel talks, parties, plus a lot more films that I haven't previewed.

Inside Out runs from May 14th to May 24th, visit the festival website for venues and show times. Tickets are available at 2 Carlton St., online, and at the screenings.Still from The Fish Child.

Patrick, Age 1.5 Trailer:

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