The festival closed on a refreshingly light-hearted note with the dramedy Cloudburst, starring Academy Award winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker. They portray Stella and Dottie, respectively, an elderly lesbian couple who have been together for 31 years. After Dottie’s granddaughter puts her in a nursing home, Stella liberates her with the intention of escaping to Canada where they can be legally married. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker, the “dancer” Prentice, who has family issues of his own to deal with. Dukakis is especially brilliant as the more masculine of the two (in one scene being mistaken for a “sir” at a diner) whose intensely foul mouth left the film’s other characters in awkward discomfort while we, the audience, howled with laughter.
Mostly, it was pleasant to view a film in which the fact of Stella and Dottie’s homosexuality was not the central conflict. Many of the films are about the struggles inherent in being gay, which is important to portray but can be emotionally draining. Cloudburst, on the other hand, was a story in which the love between these two women was not an issue – it’s just a fact. Love is love – and that’s how it should be.
This is why LGBT film is so important. Movies are a great vehicle to reach audiences with stories, messages, and affirmations of what is good and right. We are quickly approaching a day when being gay or transgendered will no longer be seen as an aberration, and when love will be recognized as love no matter what form it takes.
In the meantime, while the next festival is a full year away, the committee will be presenting an LGBT film series which is to screen at the University of Louisville Floyd Theater in October. Details have yet to be announced, but updates will be forthcoming.
Images: LGBT Film Fest Facebook page
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