The Austin Chronicle

Contrast Film Festival Flick Picks

Our selection of the cross-media event's boundary-pushing films

By Beth Sullivan, July 19, 2019, Screens

Flaming Creatures

Thu., July 18, 8pm @AFS Cinema
With its graphic depictions of sex coupled with an ensemble of lipsticked drag performers and a vampire à la Marilyn Monroe, Jack Smith's erotic experimental film was banned in 22 U.S. states and four countries following its release in 1963. It morphed into a cause célèbre of New York's burgeoning underground film scene when police raided an early screening, arresting and charging avant-garde filmmaker and The Village Voice columnist Jonas Mekas, among others, for showing an "indecent, lewd, and obscene" film. Screening includes an original live score by local experimental act Thor & Friends.


Fri., July 19, 7pm @AFS Cinema
Adapted from Ariel Schrag's eponymous – and controversial – novel, trans filmmaker Rhys Ernst's feature directorial debut flips the rom-com's comedy of errors narrative when Adam (Nicholas Alexander), a cisgender teenage boy, is mistaken for a trans guy and goes along with it, especially because of how it affects his relationship with a young queer woman named Gillian (Bobbi Salvör Menuez).

Brazil in Focus

Fri.-Sun., July 19-21 @multiple locations
Spotlighting Brazilian films and filmmakers, this track is a medley of forward-thinking fiction, documentary, and hybrid shorts and features. In Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau and Thais Guisasola's queer-punk road movie The Whisper of the Jaguar, Ana (Guisasola) embarks on a spiritual journey across the Amazon in search of her indigenous ancestral past, while Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman's Bixa Travesty chronicles São Paulo performer and activist Linn da Quebrada. Obscuro Barroco, directed by Greek filmmaker Evangelia Kranioti, blends documentary and fiction for an ethereal cine-ode to Rio de Janeiro's queer culture, as narrated by the late Brazilian transgender activist Luana Muniz.

Contrast Film Festival, July 18-21. Tickets and info at

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