Out and About

13th Annual Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival


AIMÉE & JAGUAR (German w/ subtitles, 1998, 124 min.)

Max Färberböck's historical melodrama is based on the true story of Lilly Wust (and the Erica Fischer bestseller about her), the wife of a Nazi soldier who fell for a Jewish lesbian in 1943 Berlin. Maria Schrader is a marvel as her lover, the dashing, impetuous Felice (nicknamed Jaguar), who masquerades as a gentile at a Nazi paper and smuggles information for the underground. Schrader shared best actress honors with her co-star Juliane Köhler at the Berlin Film Festival, and Aimée & Jaguar was nominated for a Golden Globe last year for best foreign film. WWII buffs may find the film light on history and heavy on romance, but Färberböck's debut examines the intersection of both -- it is a story of passion, politics, and the occupation of the soul.(Wednesday, Sept. 6, 7pm, Arbor)

PARAGRAPH 175 (USA, 1999, 76 min.)

To follow up the success of 1995's Celluloid Closet, documentary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman peered into another untold drama -- the tales of gay men (and it is mostly gay men) who were sent to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The title is a reference to the part of the German Penal Code that defined sodomy as "an unnatural sex act committed between persons of the male sex or by humans with animals." Over 50 years after the end of WWII, the filmmakers -- along with German historian Klaus Müller -- track down the handful of survivors (of the 10 to 15 thousand sent to camps) whose testimony -- though clipped and reluctant as it is -- sheds light on a history roundly ignored by the textbooks. Narrated by Rupert Everett.(Sunday, Aug. 27, noon, Dell Jewish Community Center; Saturday, Sept. 2, 7pm, Dobie)

SWIMMING (USA, 1999, 98 min.)

Fans of teen comedies will recognize Lauren Ambrose from the better-than-average graduation bash Can't Hardly Wait, in which she played the eye-rolling, quip-ready best gal pal to Ethan Embry's googly-eyed romantic. Ambrose is the kind of actress I intuitively like -- smart, awkward, and with a kind of real-life roundness you don't see much in Hollywood. Here she plays Frankie, whose mundane summer job in a Myrtle Beach hamburger joint is disrupted by two new arrivals -- the toothsome blond waitress and the goofy, charming pothead who sells tie-dyed shirts from his van. Written and directed by Robert J. Siegel, Swimming can be as awkward and undeveloped as its young heroine, but also like Frankie, has sweetness to spare.(Sunday, Aug. 27, 7:30pm, Arbor)

WATER DROPS ON BURNING ROCKS (French w/ English subtitles, 1999, 90 min.)

French filmmaker François Ozon tips his hat to Rainer Werner Fassbinder with a film version of that late auteur's unproduced play, a dark comedy tracking the unraveling relationship between a middle-aged man and the beautiful boy who dotes on him. The film achieves an authentic Seventies style, and gamely makes use of theatrical tricks, but it also stands as a strikingly original piece of filmmaking.(Wednesday, Sept. 6, 9:45pm, Arbor)

URBANIA (USA, 2000, 104 min.)

John Shear's directorial debut is a creepy, paranoid thing adapted from Urban Folk Tales, a stage play by Daniel Reitz that mixes those spooky urban legends with the meandering adventures of Charlie, played by Dan Futterman. Supporting performances include Cabaret's Alan Cumming and Josh Hamilton of Kicking and Screaming.(Sunday, Sept. 3, 9:30pm, Arbor)

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