Prayers for Bobby - Sigourney Weaver stars in this made for TV movie about a young gay man who takes his own life when his Christian family reject him. It has the usual trappings of a TV drama made into a film - choppy editing, hammy dialogue and acting about as subtle as a drag queen among Mormons.

In a way, this was the worst choice I could have made to open the festival proper with, because as a film for the gay community it's about 30 years out of date, as it's 1982 setting suggests. What this film is really trying to explore is the reaction of parents, friends, family to news that one of their number is gay (or 'sinning').

Find out more on this and day 2 from the festival...
Prayers for Bobby - Sigourney Weaver stars in this made for TV movie about a young gay man who takes his own life when his Christian family reject him. It has the usual trappings of a TV drama made into a film - choppy editing, hammy dialogue and acting about as subtle as a drag queen among Mormons.

In a way, this was the worst choice I could have made to open the festival proper with, because as a film for the gay community it's about 30 years out of date, as it's 1982 setting suggests. What this film is really trying to explore is the reaction of parents, friends, family to news that one of their number is gay (or 'sinning').

The movie only starts to hit an original stride towards the end of the film when the originally homophobic mother becomes a figurehead for PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). In this light it really is a decent film for allies and homophobes alike, rather than gay people themselves, who may conclude the moral message - "If only every gay son could kill themselves then we'd have one more enlightened Christian".

Memorable quote: "Bobby, it's 3am! Have you been with homosexuals?"

Ander - Another gay offering from Northern Spain (following last year's Clandestinos) suggests that there is something particularly queer about Basque identity. As if it isn't enough to be "other" in your own country, Ander is a lonely closeted farmer who breaks his leg and employs a Peruvian immigrant to care for him. But shy, caring, quite frankly adorable Jose becomes Ander's world and the two embark on a tentative relationship.

Intelligent directing blends beautiful and epic landscape with intimate camerawork, free-roaming and able to follow the little details that each actor injects into their complex characters. It's a film that has room to breathe, and this is essential as without it the simple plot would seem cliched.

The careful balance between masculine bravado and fear of tenderness is humorously exemplified by the scene in which Ander and Jose first make love: Ander is drunk at this sister's wedding and relies on Jose to take him to the toilet. Holding his crippled boss upright, Jose softly nuzzles the back of Ander's neck, which then turns into urgent sex and is capped off with Anders vomiting into the urinal.

On a broader note, Ander has an interesting take on masculinity - that men are fearful of their own identity - whether that's sexuality, nationality, hunter, protector or carer. And if you read a review anywhere that says "BrokeBasque Mountain" tell them they're a comedy cesspit from me.