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What to see at the 2013 Inside Out Film Festival


Sex, style, and subversion feature in this year’s Inside Out Film Festival, the 10-day long celebration of LGBT community and culture. Films created by and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people kicks off tonight, as its 20-plus year legacy continues.

Scores of films are shown across the week, from shorts to documentaries and even an HBO simulcast of a much-anticipated feature. Here are some of our top picks for this year’s festival.

In the Name Of
If you miss the opening night film, you’re in luck, as a surprise screening has been added on the last evening. Telling the emotionally-compelling story of a man of faith struggling to bridge the gap between his faith and his nature, In the Name of is smart, critical, and powerfully evocative.

Behind the Candelabra
This is Stephen Soderbergh’s last film. Maybe. The famed auteur announced his retirement earlier this year, and I am one of the many people saddened by this revelation. Nonetheless, his last film will be shown at a free screening during the festival, simulcast with HBO, for who the film was made. Starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra follows the tumultuous and passionate relationship between Liberace and his younger lover during the 1970’s.

Peaches Does Herself
Debuting at the festival and appearing in June at Bloor Hot Docs, this artsy, musical, bizarre pseudo-documentary film inspired by the notorious artist’s one-woman show. A Toronto native, Peaches transsexual opera is a spectacle that is hard to describe, and for some may be hard to watch. Shocking and sexual, it’s a cinematic experience that needs to be seen to be believed.

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
The closing night film is an intimate and illuminating documentary about the famed writer, peering into both her professional and private life. A woman who introduced much of the world to salacious sexuality, Walker was an activist who has fought against racism and sexism, often at the same time. Filled with interviews from famous storytellers and artists, such as Danny Glover and Stephen Spielberg, Pratibha Parmar’s doc is gripping.

For those seeking something a more intimate, fictitious narrative, this Australian entry by a first time director is touching, telling a universal story about a women who gets in over her head, in more ways than one. Being an avid swimmer makes for the perfect metaphor of a young, attractive, ambitious woman who finds her life increasingly overbearing. As pressure mounts with friendships, lovers, work, and school, she retreats into literally and symbolic recesses, seeking comfort and escape with drugs and sex. A familiar tale told with sex and style, Submerge is telling tale.

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.