I’ve found a new love.
Not the people-type love, dudes. I’m talking the love of things.
No, not that kind of love either. Perverts.
No, the love I’m talking about is the new-found love I now have for small independent movies and small-scale documentaries, courtesy of my cousin, the Babbling Brook. The BB is the founder of a wonderful film festival called the Key West Film Festival and it’s wonderful.
For any number of reasons. The most obvious being the first two words of its name: Key West. D’uh!
Yeah, the KWFF takes place over five days and is situated in the heart of Key West, on or just off of Duval Street at the historic Tropic Cinema and a few other places around town.
I never in my life conceived that I would not only go see 12 movies in three days while on vacation in Key West of all places, but I did do just that. And I loved it.
Even though my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Seeing More Movies In Three Days Than She’s Seen In The Last Year, and I were only able to make three days of the festival, we saw 12 movies. And, for the most part, they were just outstanding.
The best features, I thought, were the documentaries. I saw some really amazing documentaries that took me into worlds I’d never imagined.
For instance, there was the showing of Mr. Angel, about porn star and transgender activist Buck Angel. He was born a genetic female, but came to realize that not only was she a lesbian, she also was a man. So she began testosterone treatments and other steps, including the top half of her gender reassignment surgery into a male.
He then turned himself into a hulking, muscled-out, goateed, shaven-headed icon of masculinity, with one slight difference: He kept his vagina in perfect working order. Yeah, dudes. Think on that for a while.
As you might expect, the movie brought out a lot of discussion when it was over. I was of the opinion that his porn career was, for the most part, fueled by his desire for people to desire him just as he was, to receive reassurance that he was not an “oddity.”
Mr. Angel was, in other words, the perfect documentary that informed us of something we’d never known and also provided fodder for long and fruitful discussion.
Bending Steel, on the other hand, did not provoke discussion. Instead it provoked cheers; loud cheers from the entire audience. The documentary told the story of a shy, reclusive New Yorker who decided he wanted to become a performing circus strongman.
You know the type. The dudes who get up on stage and then set about bending solid-steel objects. This little man had that desire. He also had a pathological fear of being in front of crowds and wasn’t all that big.
I’m telling you, this documentary was just astoundingly good. We laughed. We cried. We growled in anger. And we all cheered and screamed and almost jumped for joy near the end. This was an hour well spent.
There were more good movies than I have time to talk about here, dudes and dudettes. Suffice to say, I’ve definitely come to the realization that film festivals aren’t just about showcasing snooty, subtitled foreign films that no more than 17 people would ever see (even though there were several of those). They can be a wonderland full of amazing people with fantastic stories to tell and a place for you to listen.