Thomas Wallner’s “Gardenia: Before the Last Curtain Falls”, is a colourful contemporary performance piece that tells the personal stories of its artistes: a group of transgender and drag queen ex-performers who, now in their 60s and 70s, have come together to climb upon the stage one last time.
“When the Belgian contemporary dance/ballet production Gardenia opened in 2010 starring aging gay and trans ex-cabaret artists, it became an international success, playing over 200 shows in 25 countries.
Breathtakingly beautiful night shots of the medieval city of Ghent, Belgium, set the scene as the cast returns home for the last performance—and take up the challenge of reconnecting with their lives off stage. Belgian new wave choreographer Alain Platel and “wizard” stage director Frank Van Laecke collaborate to turn the cast member’s lives into movement; stunning cinematography and editing capture their almost wordless choreography, which seamlessly blends into interviews with each performer. Alternately tender and lascivious, the stories unfold with all of the glamour, courage, tragedy and turbulence of lives lived as gender and sexual rebels. Director Thomas Wallner creates a profoundly human portrait of our persistent desire for love, and a masterpiece of art and dance cinema.” — Lynn Fernie
German-Canadian director Thomas Wallner offers “an endearing recollection of life as an outsider, a sincere exploration of queer identity, and a stunning celebration of the communion we achieve in art.” —Oliver Skinner, Indiewire
2014, Belgium/Canada/Germany, 86min, documentary. English, Flemish, French with subtitles. RATING: 14A
Hot Docs 2014 winner, ‘Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary’ and ‘Top 20 Audience Favourite’.
Before the Last Curtain Falls: ages and stages of drag cabaret stars. Review in The Toronto Star, by Linda Barnard, April 2014.
VIFF 2014: Before the Last Curtain Falls turns its lens on transgender pioneers. Review in The Straight by Janet Smith, Sept 2014.
This film is sponsored by Alison Sawyer, Gibsons Law Office. (604) 886-3125.