Film & TV

Movies present controversial topics in all-inclusive format

Sam Zalutsky’s film “You Belong to Me” is all about obsession.

A repressed New York architect moves into his object of obsession René’s building in order to be closer to the handsome Frenchman. But his plan backfires when his new landlady becomes obsessed with him, beginning a twisted mother-son relationship that raises questions about desire, obsession and identity.

“You Belong to Me” is the featured film in Thursday’s annual Queer Film Festival, presented by the Cultural Forum with the support of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

The festival will present “You Belong to Me” (2007), followed by a question-and-answer session with Zalutsky. Gus Van Sant’s short film “Le Marais” from “Paris, Je T’aime” (2006) and Jack Smith’s celebrated “Flaming Creatures” (1963) will also be shown. The Queer Film Festival will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Lecture Hall, and admission is free.

Culture Coordinator Darrel Kau said the Cultural Forum chose films made by Oregon filmmakers for this year’s festival. Zalutsky grew up in Portland, and Van Sant currently lives there. The Queer Film Festival, in its 18th year, is an independent event, but this year the Cultural Forum worked with JSMA to connect the festival to art.

“This year, we collaborated with JSMA to create a program that would connect and reflect the upcoming One Step Big Shot: Portraits by Andy Warhol and Gus Van Sant (exhibition) and to highlight Oregon filmmakers,” Kau said.

One Step Big Shot, an upcoming JSMA exhibition that will open on May 16, will examine the use of Polaroid images in Warhol and Van Sant’s work.

“This is an opportunity to start discussing these artists — Sam Zalutsky, Andy Warhol, Gus Van Sant — with people who attend,” said Lawrence Fong curator of American and regional art at the JSMA.

Fong called “You Belong to Me” “an extraordinary, wonderful story based on the pursuit of a relationship between two men.”

Zalutsky lives in New York and will be in Eugene especially for the screening.

“I’m eager to hear what University of Oregon students’ thoughts are and how they react to the film, and hopefully, we’ll have a great dialogue,” Zalutsky said. “I like to tell a story that’s engaging but that doesn’t tell people what to think.”

Zalutsky said he’s excited to meet University students and that he encouraged students of all sexual orientations to attend the screening.

“This is a film that’s accessible for everyone,” Zalutsky said. “I wanted to make a movie that moved beyond stereotypical gay and lesbian film and told an exciting story.”

“You Belong to Me” is Zalutsky’s first feature film. He’s also produced several award-winning short films, including “SuperStore” and “Stefan’s Silver Bell” and teaches screenwriting at Spalding University.

Cat McGraw, program assistant for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Educational and Support Services, also stressed that everyone could enjoy the Queer Film Festival.

“Something that’s really exciting about the Queer Film Festival is that anybody can go to that and not feel out of place,” McGraw said. “Folks might find it easier to connect to a community that’s different from their own through a movie.”

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