I stick around to see a 6 p.m. screening of "I Do,"
a passion project by Gary Saperstein and Mark Vogler of Out in the Vineyard
starring screenwriter/actor David W. Ross as a hunky British
photographer's assistant who has to choose between a sham green card
marriage or leaving the U.S. permanently to live with his lover in
Spain. The attractive cast includes Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Ross's lesbian
best friend and Alicia Witt as his sister-in-law, and, in a delightful
surprise for me, my friend Mickey Cottrell in a star turn as Ross's wise
older pal. As I leave, I tell Saperstein and Vogler that it's a pity
that the budget couldn't stretch to include shirts for its leading man.
I wander over to the Sebastiani Theater, the most comfortable and
venerable screening venue, for "Mia," a first film written and
directed by a young Argentinian actor, Javier van de Couter, with the
120,000 euro prize he won in a screenwriting competition. I
wish there were more people there, because it's the discovery of the
festival for me so far: a transgender woman who lives in the endangered
Pink Zone, a squatter's slum largely inhabited by other transgendered
women, who stumbles across a journal written by the dead Mia of the
title while picking up cardboard to sell at the recyclers, and becomes
entwined with Mia's young daughter and widower.
The film is delicate
yet compelling, well-acted, convincingly sentimental without being
maudlin. I'm especially taken with the two lead actresses, Camilla Sosa
Villada, as the transgender Ale, and Maite Linate as the young Julia.
Camilla Sosa Villada manages to incarnate both
Julie-Andrews-as-Mary-Poppins-the-ideal-nanny and Audrey-Hepburn-as-Eliza-Doolittle-transformed
without being saccharine. When she dresses up, near the end of the
film, she looks so good that I thought of Dustin Hoffman's sadness when
he realized that he could never look as good as the character Tootsie as
he wanted to; Sosa Villada, a real transgender, found after van de
Couter auditioned a hundred transgendered performers, can. Maite
Linate, conversely, was the second kid actress he auditioned. As soon
as I get home, close to midnight, I email a number of friends to look
out for it in their festival rounds. And that's why we keep going to
the movies, kids!
SPINNING PLATES - Alinea clip from Spinning Plates on Vimeo.