Two of Outfest's centerpiece films address the loss of a lover. However, they feature disparate circumstances, and the films approach this theme in very different ways.
In director Desiree Akhavan's "Appropriate Behavior," Outfest's U.S. dramatic centerpiece, Shirin (played by Akhavan) haplessly tries to negotiate Brooklyn's dating scene after breaking up with her girlfriend. Unfortunately, Shirin's life is messy: She hasn't told her Iranian parents that she's bisexual, her career is at a standstill, and she has no idea what she wants from life.
With its realistic characters, its frank exploration of sexuality, and its focus on a young woman's journey of self-discovery, this foul-mouthed and funny Sundance gem has been compared to the TV show "Girls" — but Shirin definitely has her own distinct personality. "Appropriate Behavior" is clever, quirky and sometimes wildly inappropriate.
"Appropriate Behavior" premieres on July 15 at 7 p.m. at DGA Theater One, 7920 Sunset Blvd., and is followed by an onsite reception.
In "Lilting," an Outfest international centerpiece directed by Hong Khaou, the sudden death of a young man in London leaves his Chinese-Cambodian mother, Junn (Pei-pei Cheng, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), in an assisted-living home — and it submerges his British boyfriend, Richard (Ben Whishaw, "Skyfall"), in grief. Richard reaches out to Junn, even though she clearly dislikes him and speaks little English. Richard hires a translator to facilitate communication, and a relationship begins to grow, although haltingly at first. The pitfalls of miscommunication are a central theme of this emotionally charged movie, which features moving performances by Whishaw and Cheng. "Lilting" is a complex, insightful meditation on love, grief, memory and family.
"Lilting" premieres on July 16 at 7 p.m. at DGA Theater One, 7920 Sunset Blvd., and is followed by an onsite reception.
Tickets for either screening can be purchased online at http://www.outfest.org/tixSYS/2014/filmguide/
--By Charles Purdy, Brand Publishing Writer