But the film also plays various tensions that exist in a more universal sense. Community and individual, desire and duty, morality and fulfillment, tradition and modernity.
Coming-of-age stories are often about discovery as characters emerge from childhood. They often harken back to the story of Eden, as Adam and Eve eat forbidden fruit and their eyes are opened to see and experience the world in new ways.
God’s Own Country will no doubt be compared to Brokeback Mountain. The easy comparison crossed my mind as I watched the screener for this film. But the dynamics of this relationship bring an entirely different feel to this love story.
It can be hard enough being a teenager, but for Ray it is complicated by being transgendered. At the beginning of the film he tells us his birthday wish each year is always the same: to have a boy’s body.
While we might look at Chiron’s life and see the various influences that pushed him, we know that in the end it is Chiron who is ultimately responsible for who he is and who he is yet to become.
In New York City, young LGBT people of color may take part in the Kiki scene. This has been chronicled by Sara Jordenö in her Spirit Award nominated (for “Truer than Fiction”) documentary Kiki.
The Handmaiden takes us on a twisting road of deceptions, double- (even triple-) crosses in a crime drama that straddles worlds.
As the Newport Beach Film Festival comes to an end, I need to give kudos to the staff and volunteers for their wonderful work in making the festival a outstanding event.