8 Lesbianish Things to Watch This Weekend
There are sevearal lesbian or lesbian adjacent films available in theaters or on DVD this weekend. Here's a round up.
Turn Me On, Dammit! (New Yorker Films)
Not since Sarah Jacobson's 1997 film, Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore, has a movie so eloquently explored the female perspective on sex, but in the case of Turn Me On, Dammit!, it's 15-year-old Alma, a girl in the boonies of Norway called Skoddeheimen who is driven by her raging hormones. Director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen's debut is sweet and charming and a wonderful subversion of the usual teen sex comedy, and while Alma calls phone sex lines, masturbates furtively, and fantasizes extensively (including an explicit lesbian fantasy in which she dreams of pleasuring the pretty mean girl at school) you can't help but think this is so far beyond anything you'd see coming out of an American film studio. English subtitles. In theaters now, so visit the Turn Me On, Dammit! website for show locations.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (Fox)
There's nothing explicitly lesbian about this stunning psychological thriller (unless you count out co-star Sarah Paulson) but writer-director Sean Durkin's tale of a young woman unraveling after fleeing from a cult feels decidedly feminist. Moreover, Elizabeth Olsen (sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley) is enigmatic and understated as the titular character; Paulson (most recently from American Horror Story) is compelling as the sister who doesn't know the truth of Martha's trauma and paranoia. On DVD, Blue-Ray, and VOD.
Above Suspicion Set 1 (Acorn)
What is easily one of the best police procedurals to come out of the U.K. in a long time comes from the mind of bestselling novelist Lynda La Plante, the creator of Prime Suspect, which was clearly the best lady cop show ever. Instead of following a woman in charge, though, Above Suspicion follows rookie detective Anna Travis, a cute freckled redhead who doesn't yet know she's queer. It's like watching a younger, spunky version of Prime Suspect’s Detective Jane Tennison, as Anna has to make it in a world still dominated by men when she's at the beginning of her career instead of the top. The second episode in this two-disc set, titled "The Red Dahlia," which tackles a modern re-creation of a legendary American crime, is worth the purchase alone. Available now on DVD from Acorn Media.
One of the most refreshingly honest looks at the dichotomy between body and spirit, writer/director Celine Sciamma's coming of age story, Tomboy, follows a young girl who identifies herself as a boy when she moves to a new town. The lead, newcomer Zoe Heran, is charming beyond belief and Tomboy serves as the perfect story that lesbians and transgender men can both identify with. Bonuses include a behind-the-scenes featurette. Available on VOD May 27, and on DVD June 5th from Wolfe Video.
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Elles (Kino Lorber)
Juliet Binoche plays Anne, an affluent, married Parisian journalist investigating the lives of two young sex workers for a magazine article. The routine assignment turns personal though as Anne is drawn into the story and must confront her own sexual fears and desires. Director Malgoska Szumowska does a superb job of making a largely feminist and oddly erotic film that doesn't moralize, but looks at young women who choose sex work to fund their educations, and what it means to live in a consumer culture where doing a working class job like working at a fast food place is more degrading than having sex for money. (The best part, besides watching Binoche open up, is realizing they still have pubic hair in France.) Opens in Landmark Theaters in Los Angeles on April 27 for an exclusive two-week engagement; goes to other cities in May. For a complete list of cities and show times, visit the Elles website.
Albert Knobbs (Wolfe)
I love Octavia Spenser, but one view of Albert Knobbs and you'll realize what a tough call Academy voters had when passing over Janet McTeer for best supporting actress Oscar this year. In this slow burning film, Glen Close plays a woman who is passing as a man so she can work and protect herself from harassment. McTeer's character straddles the line between passing lesbian and transgender man but offers a glimpse at a future that could be hers. It's a slow burn and a must-see. Available on DVD May 15 from Wolfe Video.
Director Dee Rees debut feature was another stunning slow burn of a film that actually gains something by viewing on the small screen. The story of an urban teenage lesbian trying to find her place in the world is mesmerizing through the soulful eyes of lead actress, Adepero Oduye, while Kim Wayans is a grand surprise as her mother. On Blu-Ray and DVD April 24 from Wolfe Video, and VOD from Universal VOD.
Yoga Undressed (Fire Horse)
It's yoga. The chick is naked. You can watch it, get naked, and do yoga with her. There's a lot here about Tantric practice and your sacred sexuality, but honestly, didn't we have you at "naked?" Available on DVD from Yoga Undressed.