Wicked Queer returns with a thoughtful and thought-provoking lineup


The 33rd annual Wicked Queer: Boston LGBT Film Festival kicks off this weekend and runs through April 9 with more than 120 features and shorts to be screened at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Emerson’s Paramount Center, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Brattle Theatre. Here are just a few highlights from their characteristically expansive program.

Saturday afternoon at the MFA brings “The Guys Next Door,” a huge hit at last year’s IFFBoston co-directed by local filmmakers Allie Humenuk and Amy Geller. A real-life “Modern Family,” the documentary spends three years following a gay married couple and their relationship with the woman who was a surrogate for their two daughters.

Because nobody else possibly could, Scott Townsend stars as himself in “Thirsty,” a biopic tracing his journey from Cambridge public housing to Provincetown stardom as Cher impersonator Thirsty Burlington. Director Margo Pelletier shoots the saga as a splashy, candy-colored musical, with young Cole Canazo and Jonny Beauchamp playing Scott as a young boy, struggling with a slippery gender before finding his (or is it Cher’s?) voice. Thirsty Burlington and producer Lisa Thomas will be at the Brattle screening on April 8.

Billed as a prequel to the 1984 documentary “Before Stonewall,” director John Scagliotti’s “Before Homosexuals” is a visual history of same-sex desires in pre-20th-century art. From what really went down between Alexander the Great and Hephaestion to Michaelangelo’s love poems, the film aims to enlighten loves that textbooks have too often erased.

Director Travis Mathews, who with James Franco helmed the 2013 “Interior. Leather Bar” is back with another sexually charged provocation. “Discreet” stars Jonny Mars as an abuse victim turned drifter who returns home to some surprises in his Trump-crazed Texas hometown. Mathews will be at the Brattle’s Friday night screening.

In association with the Museum of Fine Arts’ ongoing repertory series On the Fringe: American Cult Films of the 1980s, next Friday night is a newly restored 35 mm print of director Lizzie Borden’s notorious 1983 mock documentary “Born in Flames.” Set in a dystopian future where a peaceful socialist revolution did nothing to quell the battle of the sexes, Borden’s film follows a group of radical black lesbians forming a Women’s Army in the streets. Co-star Jeanne Satterfield will lead a discussion following the screening. You will have questions.

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