Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Best Café in the World

Before I went to Bar Luce in Milano's Prada Foundation, I had no idea you could feel so strongly about a place that serves tea. But the longer you sit there and watch the bow-tied waiters move around like graceful Russian ice-skaters, the longer you listen to the jukebox playing Nino Rota, and the longer you bathe in the soothing world of Wes Anderson pastels, the more you realize that Bar Luce is not in fact a bar. It's a fantasy come true.

Nino Rota, Theme for Fellini's Amarcord (1973)

Opened in 2015, it's a place without history, evoking a past that only exists in your dreams. It's a place where you can sit for a whole day and come back first thing next morning. It's a place where even the rubbish bins are perfect. And as if its beauty wasn't enough, the paninis are the best I've ever had in my life, and silly affordable. Here you can always find a table (the tourists have not yet cottoned on) and the people-watching is every bit as superb as you may expect. It's official: this is love.

Friday, 18 November 2016

My Favourite Queer Films 2016

So only one of these was actually released in 2016, but so what? A good queer education is nothing without history and a little context. Here the best films I managed to catch this year.

1. Looking the Movie (2016)

Who saw it coming?
Stopped after only two seasons, HBO's "Looking" came back this year with a film, which, rather unexpectedly, was much much better than the series. And much better than "Weekend" (2011), the film that made director Andrew Haigh famous for dreamy hipster gay flicks. Why?
Because the film carries a sense of closure that evaded the show. Because the characters have finally reached their potential. Because it really makes you want to go to San Franisco and dance. And all this made Looking the Movie worth the wait.

Looking the Movie (2016)

2. Caravaggio (1986)

You will never confuse a Derek Jarman film for someone else's. The typical ingredients: the life of a historical gay hero (Wittgenstein, Saint Sebastian, Edward II), sensual tragedy, and surprising cinematic tricks. Caravaggio has all these and much more. With the stunning Tilda Swinton as a prostitute and a love triangle that includes her lover and the Renaissance painter (sporting a very believable Cockney accent).

Caravaggio, (1986)

3. Pride (2014)

Which one of you knew that a group of London queers helped Welsh miners during the anti-Thatcherite strikes in 1984? Exactly.
But that's not the only reasons "Pride" is an absolute gem. Because it doesn't just tell an improbable story of friendship and solidarity, it does so with ridiculous amounts of fun and sensitivity. This may be the perfect film.


"Are all lesbians vegetarians, dear?"

4. Sitcom (1996)

It is incredible how unknown François Ozon's early work is outside of France. "Sitcom" is a story about a suburban bourgeois family and about what happens when la merde hits the fan. Sexy, hilarious, and more than a little rude. Please don't let yourself die without seeing this first.

You can see the trailer here

5. Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

So sometimes you need a long time to come around to what's obviously good. But you know when you just really want to resist the hype? Well, you'd be wrong if you included "La vie d'Adèle" in this concerted effort. Because this film is essential stuff, transcending every category you may have in your mind. Adèle Exarchopoulos is a revelation (and has the potential to pull you back a couple of grades along the Kinsey scale) and the story is deep and beautiful. It will haunt you right into 2017.

Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

For the most comprehensive website for queer-themed films, check out the fantastic