New York’s LGBT film festival NewFest turns 25

A friend of slain teen Larry King is seen in the documentary "Valentine Road." Credit: Lincoln Center
A friend of slain teen Larry King is seen in the documentary “Valentine Road.” Credit: Lincoln Center

The New York’s premier LGBT festival, NewFest was started in 1988. Things have changed, to put it lightly: witness the inclusion of a film (“Pit Stop”) where small town American gay men can survive without harassment from locals. The series isn’t without exposés of homophobia (“Valentine Road”), nor more than one film involving James Franco.

‘Interior. Leather Bar’
3 Globes
While no one was paying attention, James Franco has directed 20 films. His 16th will only raise more questions about the gay rumors about him. Part documentary, part fiction, it delves into Franco’s obsession with the missing 40 minutes of “Cruising,” William Friedkin’s notorious thriller set amid the gay leather bar scene of late ’70s Greenwich Village. He hopes to recreate the sleazy, often pornographic excised footage with a straight, married man as his tortured Al Pacino. This is a tiny film, only somewhat realized by design, and one whose main interest is no more than what it reveals about its maker. Sat., Sept. 7, 9:15 p.m. (Matt Prigge)

‘Kink’
3 Globes
James Franco produced this documentary about Kink.com, the largest producer of BDSM porn. The film aggressively emphasizes that the staff and models are healthy, well-adjusted people, even as scenes depict some rather rough sexual fantasies and practices. Director Christina Voros’ nonjudgmental film sheds some light on why these folks participate and make their passions public. She documents the directors and models rehearsing scenes, debunking myths and discussing issues of consent, empowerment and feminism. Like BDSM itself, “Kink” is not for everyone, but some folks will enjoy it. (“Kink” plays with the short “Tom’s Gift,” Todd Verow and Charles Lum’s terrific nostalgic look at a once popular cruising spot that was forced to close.) Mon., Sept. 9, 9:45 p.m. (Gary M. Kramer)

‘The Last Match’
4 Globes
This impassioned Cuban drama has the gorgeous, athletic Reinier (Reinier Diaz) having sex with male tourists to earn money for his family and girlfriend. Soon, he’s also engaging in a hot-and-heavy clandestine affair with his soccer buddy, Yosvani (Milton Garcia). Their romantic dreams of being together are, of course, thwarted by some bad decisions (and a contrived script), but until the heavy-handed ending, “The Last Match” is palpably sexy, sweaty and atmospheric. Wed., Sept. 11, 11 p.m. (G.M.K.) 

‘Love Me Not’
4 Globes
“She is my boyfriend. I am her girlfriend,” says the gay Dennis about his friendship-relationship with Aggie, a lesbian, in “Love Me Not.” This lively and quite lovely romantic comedy-drama by Chinese writer/director Gilitte Leung not only flips the script on queer desire, but recasts the leads at its midpoint. It’s a canny move to blur sexuality, fiction and reality, but ably succeeds because of the film’s heartfelt performances and visual panache. Sat., Sept. 7, 1:30 p.m. (G.M.K.)

‘Out in the Dark’
3 Globes
Respectable Israeli lawyer and closeted Palestinian grad student meet at a Tel Aviv gay bar, then gradually become entangled in each other’s messy lives. This terse, moody film does an admirable job of portraying the no-win situation that is being gay and Palestinian, and deserves credit for not pulling any of its punches. You can expect all forms of privilege to be questioned, as well as intelligent discourse and heightened emotional responses afterward. Mon., Sept. 9, 7 p.m. JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. (Jason Shawhan)

‘Pit Stop’
4 Globes
This subtle, shambly peek into the lives of two men, both processing the messy end of a relationship, is a nice, multiethnic look at the adaptive nature of queer desire in small town America, where there’s neither confrontational homophobia nor an organized queer community. Occasional moments of Jarman-like stylization prove very effective, and the performances (including indie wunderkind Amy Seimetz as a devoted ex-wife) are accomplished and complex, including the occasional musical interlude. Sat., Sept. 7, 7 p.m. (J.S.)

‘The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had with My Pants On’
3 Globes
While not exactly fun — lesbian Andy (writer/director Drew Denny) and her BFF Liv (Sarah Hagan) spend the film scattering Andy’s dad’s ashes across the Southwest — the peculiar “Pants” features some inspired set pieces. From a fireworks fight and a stylized film noir audition, to episodes of shoplifting and skinny-dipping, this semi-autobiographical road trip about female bonding (sans sex) is a curious misadventure. Although the film is uneven, Denny is captivating throughout — especially when she watches footage of her late dad projected on the side of a cliff. Sun., Sept. 8, 4:15 p.m. (G.M.K.)

‘Valentine Road’
5 Globes
This stunning documentary may just leave viewers speechless. “Valentine Road” chronicles the death of Larry King, an Oxnard eighth grader who wore heels and makeup, and the subsequent trial of Brandon McInerney, the classmate who shot him twice in the head. Alternating between the passionate supporters for both Larry and Brandon, “Valentine Road” shrewdly forces viewers to confront their own feelings toward juvenile justice issues and LGBT youth. Tues., Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m. (G.M.K.)

‘You and the Night’
3 Globes
“You and the Night” is a stylish and dreamy French import about the secrets and desires of seven strangers who bare their souls and bodies when they meet up for an orgy. The film is consistently stagy, intensely sexual and downright surreal — or all three, as when La Commissaire (Beatrice Dalle) whips the well-endowed Stud (Eric Cantona) in prison. The film ultimately descends into pretentious nonsense, but this wild film is worth a look for the curious queer cinephile. Sun., Sept. 8, 7 p.m. (G.M.K.)

NewFest 2013
Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center
10 Lincoln Center Plaza (unless otherwise noted)
Through Sept. 11


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.