The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival runs 19 to 29 June 2014 at four Bay Area venues: the Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater, and Victoria Theatre in San Francisco plus the Rialto Cinemas’ Elmwood in Berkeley.


Narrative features include: Cupcakes directed by Eytan Fox (Israel) 2013, Salvation Army directed by Abdellah Taia (France/Morocco) 2013, Stand directed by Jonathan Taieb (France/Russia) 2014, Violette directed by Martin Provost (France/Belgium) 2013, and You And The Night directed by Yann Gonzalez (France) 2013.

Documentary features are Mondo Homo directed by Herve Joseph Lebrun (France) 2013, Off Road directed by Elisa Amoroso (Italy) 2013, and Violette Leduc directed by Esther Hoffenberg (France) 2014.

For more information and tickets contact Frameline.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Moroccan Desire

Two autobiographical novels by Abdellah Taia are available in English in the US. The Salvation Army (2009) and An Arab Melancholia (2012) are both published by Semiotext(e) and distributed by The MIT Press.

The Salvation Army begins the story of a young boy growing up in a large, poor family in Salé near Rabat. He idolizes his older brother and is inspired by him to study French literature. His initial sexual experiences are with other Moroccan boys and men.

His meeting a visiting Swiss academic allows him opportunities to travel to Europe and a scholarship to study in Geneva.  His first days living abroad are filled with disappointment and emotional turmoil.


Abdellah’s story continues in An Arab Melancholia. He is now living in Paris pursuing his life goal of making movies. His career involves trips to the Middle East and he recounts painful incidents from his adolescence and a two-year relationship with a somewhat older Algerian man in France.

For additional background about the author, I recommend the PEN conversation available on YouTube.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Silent Calabria

Grazia, an androgynous teenager, is the central character of South Is Nothing directed by Fabio Motto (Italy/France) 2013.


She lives with her troubled father in Southern Italy, occasionally visited by her grandmother.

Grazia mourns the loss of her brother Pietro and is resentful of the numerous secrets surrounding a community controlled by a powerful syndicate that sets the rules its citizens are expected to follow.

The film was one of the contenders for the 2014 New Directors Prize during the recently concluded San Francisco International Film Festival 57.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Lost Love

A handsome, young engineer driving a white Mercedes-Benz sports car is lost somewhere in the countryside on the island of Cyprus, where he meets an attractive woman in a wedding gown walking along the highway.


Committed directed by Stelana Kirilis (Cyprus) 2014 had its international premier during closing night of the 11th San Francisco Greek Film Festival.

The ninety-minute narrative feature is a romantic comedy delving into love, relationships, and the expectations of marriage. It’s another wonderful example of what’s possible for talented and resourceful filmmakers to accomplish during the present economic crises.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Luna Park

Magic Hour directed by Costas Kapakas (Greece) 2011 is a black comedy inspired by the current economic crises.


An unlikely pair of guys embark on a road trip through the countryside in a hearse with a wooden casket containing many surprises.

The driver is someone who cleverly managed to exploit the system time and again before it collapsed. His companion is a rather conventional man reeling from the loss of his job and discovering his wife is unfaithful.

The targets for humor are numerous including politicians, clergy, xenophobes, and Germans. And at one point the main character blames Jews, Masons, and gays for his personal predicament.

The eleventh annual San Francisco Greek Film Festival closes tonight with two shorts and a feature-length comedy from Cyprus. For more information see the San Francisco Greek Film Festival.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Parallel Lives

The Dune directed by Yossi Aviram (France/Israel) 2013 weaves together the stories of two men who are ardent chess players.


Hanoch, a bicycle mechanic living in a small Israeli dessert town, is unwilling to commit to a conventional relationship with his pregnant girlfriend. He wanders off and eventually ends up on a beach somewhere in France.

Ruben, an aging detective nearing retirement, is assigned to investigate the identity of the younger man who refuses to speak. He patiently tries to help despite doubts about his own ability to perform his job.

The film was one of the narrative features screened at San Francisco International Film Festival 57 that concluded this evening.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Family House

A Place Called Home directed by Maria Douza (Greece) 2013 explores the impact of historical events on a single Greek family.

Eleni, a successful physician and instructor at a London hospital, is married to a British banker whose only job option is in China after the failure of his UK firm.


Her father Kyriakos invites her to visit him in Northern Greece, hoping to convince her to support his plan to turn the family home into a hostel for immigrant children after his death.

When she arrives at the house, Eleni encounters a Serbian woman who’s taking care of her father. And she learns about the serious medical problems he’s been concealing from his daughter.

The San Francisco Greek Film Festival continues throughout this week at the Delancey Street Screening Room, 600 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94107. More information is available at San Francisco Greek Film Festival.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Western Refuge

Individuals of various persuasions look to Western Europe as a place of refuge from war, poverty, and persecution. However those who manage to complete the journey frequently face new challenges and hostility.

Eastern Boys directed by Robin Campillo (France) 2013 begins with an encounter at Gare du Nord between a middle-aged man and a teen hustler.

The two agree to meet for sex the following day in one of the suburbs of Paris but what follows is unexpected and far more complex than either imagined.


Salvation Army directed by Abdellah Taia (Morocco) 2013 is adapted from his autobiographical novel of the same name. Most of it takes place in Casablanca, where he grew up as a young boy drawn to other males and accepting of their sexual advances.

His homosexuality was neither openly discussed nor denied by other members of his large family or others around him. He follows the advice of his older brother to escape the confines of his native environment.

Salvation Army plays once more Tuesday 6 May 2014 during the final week of San Francisco International Film Festival 57. Contact the San Francisco Film Society for more information and tickets.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved