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Home movies: late summer cinema selections

by Gregg Shapiro

The Prince/El Principe
The Prince/El Principe  

Let's face it, we're not going to be going anywhere for a while. With most of the country facing a devastating number of COVID-19 infections, and the rate showing no signs of declining, people are looking for sources of safe indoor entertainment, such as watching movies. The following are a few titles worth checking out on VOD, streaming, virtual cinema or good old-fashioned Blu-ray or DVD.


For They Know Not What They Do  

Documentary filmmaker Daniel Karslake (2007's For the Bible Tells Me So) returns to familiar territory — religious mistreatment of LGBTQ people — in his new doc For They Know Not What They Do (DK Works Pictures). While the new David France doc Welcome to Chechnya focuses on the religious and politically-driven anti-gay persecution and purge crisis in that country, Karslake keeps it closer to home.

Opening with celebratory footage of the SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling, it is immediately followed by the hate rhetoric of Franklin Graham, setting the mood for the rest of the doc. Or so it seems. For They Know Not What They Do is actually more uplifting than you might expect. True, it features a lot of anti-gay hate speech coming directly from various church pulpits.

On the other hand, it tells emotionally moving stories of families of faith coming to terms with their LGBTQ+ children, not something that regularly makes the headlines. As Robert and Linda Robertson (parents of Ryan), Sally and David McBride (parents of Sarah), Harold and Collen Porcher (parents of Elliot), and Victor Baez and Annette Febo (parents of Vico), share their experiences, it almost feels like they are drowning out the tide of religious fanaticism, calming the waters, if you will. () Rating: B+

Based on the homonymous novel by Mario Cruz, The Prince/El Principe (Artsploitation Films), set in a Chilean prison during the reign of Salvador Allende, has a gritty, retro feel. In a drunken jealous rage, young Jaime (Juan Carlos Maldonado) slits the throat of Gitano (Cesare Serra) and is sent to prison.

Relegated to a shared cell with Stud aka Ricardo (Alfredo Castro), three other inmates and Stud's cat Plato, Jaime has to learn on the fly. He gets an alias — The Prince — and finally has a chance to act on the same sex attraction with which he'd been struggling. There are flashbacks, shower sex scenes, acts of prison guard brutality, and enough homoeroticism to please even Jean Genet. Occasionally undone by the stagey direction by Sebastián Muñoz, as men-behind-bars movies go, The Prince is no Kiss of the Spiderwoman, but it sure has its moments. (www.artsploitationfilms.com/film/the-prince/)
Rating: B-


Holy Trinity  

A psychedelic candy colored acid trip of a movie, Holy Trinity (Full Spectrum), the feature-length directorial debut of writer/actress Molly Hewitt, isn't like anything else you've ever seen. Executive-produced by mumblecore mastermind Joe Swanberg, Holy Trinity certainly contains some of that genre's chattier aspects. Where it diverts is in the level of the queer content.

Trinity (Hewitt), a dominatrix with carrot orange hair, and her trans sub lover Baby (Theo Germaine of The Politician fame), share an apartment in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood with control freak Carol (Heather Lynn) and drag diva Imp Queen (playing herself). Trinity has taken to huffing Orisha OKO room cleansing spray and as a result is experiencing surreal nightmares. Worse yet, she can hear the inner thoughts of her paying sub clients, as well as hear and see dead people.

There's a lot of religious and psychic mumbo jumbo, including hilarious scenes with a Madonna-obsessed priest (Alex Grelle) and an energy reader named Fortune (Efrén Arcoiris), who gets to utter Whoopi Goldberg's famous line from Ghost. Before you know it, the #HolyTrinity goes viral and Trinity is internet famous. But her personal relationships begin to suffer.

As the movie goes on, Trinity gets better at controlling the voices than Hewitt does at maintaining one accent (which becomes a distraction), and the movie ends with a surprise twist. () Rating: B-


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