ImageOUT and About: Saturday, October 11.

cupcakes (jewish film fest) blog

The cast of Cupcakes.

Here are some of the highlights of today’s schedule from the ImageOUT Film Festival, running through October 19.

Stand, an affecting drama from Jonathan Taieb, offers a painterly slice-of-life portrait of modern Moscow – and drops into its center the specter of violence that upends the lives of Anton and Vlad (Renat Shuteev, Andrey Kurganov), a gay couple who are compelled to learn who’s responsible for a series of homophobic attacks. It’s a startling divergence from typical crime dramas, thanks mostly to the winning and authentic portrayals of the two leads. We come to care about them before we’re asked to care about their quest – and that makes all the difference.

Cupcakes is fun – a candy-colored, buoyant romp, brimming with nostalgia, good music and a strong sense of purpose. In this import from Israel (seen locally earlier this year in an ImageOUT-sponsored screening during the Rochester Jewish Film Festival), a group of exuberant friends record an impromptu performance of an original song on a cell phone – and soon find themselves propelled into an international televised music competition. It’s a remarkable change of pace for Israeli director Eytan Fox, whose past films (including Yossi & Jagger and The Bubble) featured a much more heavily dramatic tone.

The fascinating documentary The Dog takes a long look at the life and background of a figure many film lovers may feel they already know: John Wojtowicz, the would-be bank robber of 1975’s Dog Day Afternoon who needed money to pay for his partner’s sex change. Directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren give Wojtowicz plenty of room to tell his story, and in the process create a remarkably frank self-portrait that blends ego and devotion, humor and sensitivity.

For a complete schedule, and more info on upcoming films, visit