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    LGBT Film Festival ranges wide and far

    A scene from Catherine Stewart “While You Weren’t Looking,” part of the LGBT film fest.
    Boston LGBT Film Festival
    A scene from Catherine Stewart “While You Weren’t Looking,” part of the LGBT film fest.

    The full spectrum of LGBT life from around the world is at the forefront of the 32nd annual Boston LGBT Film Festival. It runs March 31-April 10 at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Brattle Theater, and the Paramount Theatre at Emerson College.

    The festival opens at the ICA with “Viva,” Irish director Paddy Breathnach’s Cuba-set portrait of a young drag queen (Héctor Medina) working at a Havana nightclub and his frayed relationship with his estranged father (Jorge Perugorría), who abruptly reappears in his son’s life.

    “While You Weren’t Looking” (April 1, MFA) examines the complexities of being LGBT in post-apartheid South Africa. Director Catherine Stewart’s story follows several couples, including a black woman who works in real estate and is cheating on her white wife, and their bohemian daughter, who’s dating a gender non-confirming woman.


    Besides several programs of short films and a host of documentaries, feature highlights include William C. Sullivan’s “That’s Not Us” (April 1, Brattle), a comedic drama about three 20-something couples — one gay, one lesbian, one straight — at a beach house during the end of summer. “Naz and Maalik” (April 2, MFA) is Jay Dockendorf’s Brooklyn-set story of a couple of Black Muslim teenagers (Curtiss Cook Jr. and Kerwin Johnson Jr.). Inspired by interviews with Muslims in New York, this deceptively breezy tale shows a slice of life rarely seen onscreen.

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    In “Paris 05:59: Théo and Hugo” (April 2, MFA) from French co-directors Jacques Martineau and Olivier Ducaste, two men strive for intimacy despite being stalled by their insecurity in nocturnal Paris. “Love in the Time of Civil War” (April 3, MFA) is Canadian director Rodrigue Jean’s drama about a gay hustler and drug addict (Alexandre Landry) who lives by committing petty crimes and drifting from one dingy flat to the next.

    Indicative of how the festival seeks to present the full scope of the LGBT experience is “Fire Song” (April 6, Brattle), the feature debut from Canadian filmmaker Adam Garnet Jones. “Fire Song” confronts some of the most pressing questions facing First Nations communities in its story of a young Anishinaabe man (Andrew Martin) wrestling with issues of love and his place in his family and community.

    “Summertime” (April 8, MFA) is veteran French director Catherine Corsini’s lesbian romance set in 1970s Paris. A young woman (Izïa Higelin) leaves her family’s farm in the countryside for the big city, where she’s drawn to a dynamic woman (Cécile de France) who leads a rambunctious feminist group.

    “Margarita, With a Straw” (April 9, Paramount) is Indian director Shonali Bose’s follow-up to her “Amu” (2005). An outgoing young woman with cerebral palsy (Kalki Koechlin) leaves India and her protective family for the United States. Among other adventures here, she embarks on a lesbian relationship.

    For information, go to

    Loren King can be reached at