Thanks to the fabulous Alexis Perrone and Outlook, I got a chance to check out a screening of The Case Against 8 at the Cleveland International Film Festival sponsored by the LGBT mag. So I figured I may as well make a night of it.
Case follows the four-year legal effort to overturn California’s Prop. 8, which started in the state’s courtrooms and worked its way up to the Supreme Court through the dogged appeals efforts of the discriminatory law’s proponents. Centering on the two couples chosen to act as plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit and the two lawyers taking the lead - former opponents in the historic Bush v. Gore case - the movie suffers a bit from the last-minute decision not to allow cameras into the California courtroom. But in the coverage of counselor Ted Olsen and the defendant’s key witness, it offers two compelling examples of just how powerful a tool knowledge is in eradicating prejudice. I sure as hell never expected to end up rooting for the guy who gave us President George W. Bush.
From there, I checked out Handy, a movie about a hand that breaks free of its human host, travels the world and falls in love with a fashionable appendage named Manicure. Because yes. Made on the super-cheap by an Italian spitfire named Vincenzo Cosentino, who wore multiple hats including lead actor (that’s his hand in the title role), it’s got a goofy low-fi flavor that’s irresistibly charming even when it comes with a sprinkling of cheese. Same for Cosentino, who, like his movie, was laugh-out-loud funny. During the Q&A, he professed his love for Tim Burton and said he wanted to make a movie that would keep audiences guessing. Mission accomplished.
I made it through most of the Late Night Shorts program before the old highway was a-callin’. The horror-centric selection was a bit heavy on incidents of mistaken identity but stronger overall than programs I’ve seen in previous years at CIFF. The animated Dave Eggers adaptation Francis from England, the genially disturbing French film Guys Girls and Australia’s Hungry Man, a story of a man and his tapeworm, are worth going out of your way to find.