Cut! | QFest St. Louis 2022

I think there’s a law out there somewhere that says every film festival must include at least one film that’s about making a film. For this year’s QFest St. Louis, Marc Ferrer’s Cut! (April 30, 8:30 pm) fills the bill, and it’s loads of fun besides.

Marcos (Ferrer) is a floundering film director in Barcelona who sincerely believes that his films are good and that Coca-Cola would love to sponsor his latest project, a queer giallo. As he earnestly tells the host on a low-budget talk show (the kind where the set consists of two chairs, an accent table, and a plant), if one actor is bad, that’s just bad, but if all the actors in a film are bad, that’s style.

There’s such a thing as healthy optimism, but there’s also such a thing as self-delusion, and Marcos lives on the wrong side of that line. A lot of the humor in Cut! (Corten!) lies in the difference between the film Ferrer the director is making, which knows exactly what it’s doing, and Marcos’ own ineptitude as a filmmaker, of which he remains blissfully unaware.

Marcos soon has bigger problems than the probability his next film will flop. A real-life giallo is taking place in Barcelona—a series of murders committed by a black-gloved figure—and the victims are all people Marcos has recently been in contact with. The police may be no better at their jobs than is Marcos—upon being informed that a murder has been committed, a superintendent responds “I’m glad. I was getting bored of this city.” –but that just makes them more dangerous.

Cut! is all about style, from the hot pink mini-blinds in Marcos’ office to the symmetrical framing of the police superintendent and the odd collection of things on his desk. Giallo conventions are everywhere, both in the film Marcos is making, and in the “real world” of the film Ferrer is making. Several drag performances are included in Cut!, including one by La Prohibida, as well as some soft-core sex scenes.

The characters in Cut! are types, but that’s by design, and their comic timing is perfect. This film works well because it picks a lane and sticks to it, establishing a mock-serious tone from the opening voice-over, which sounds like it’s trying to channel Ed Wood: “I’ve often wondered if Barcelona itself, that hot and sunny city in which everything seems possible and easy even, isn’t hiding something as if it were a captivating reservoir, that profound part of shadow and the seeds of madness.” | Sarah Boslaugh

All QFest films will be shown at the Galleria 6 Cinema in Richmond Heights. Individual tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for Cinema St. Louis members and students with valid ID; five-film passes and all-access passes are also available. The shorts programs and two features—The Unabridged Mrs. Vera’s Daybook and Two Eyes—are also available for home viewing in Missouri and Illinois from April 29 through May 5. Proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test from the previous 72 hours is required for in-person screenings. Further information is available from the Cinema St. Louis website.

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