Florida Film Festival: JOBRIATH A.D.

By Samir Mathur
Contributing writer
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For all my Film Festival coverage, look for the tag FFF2012

JOBRIATH A.D. plays in the 21st annual Florida Film Festival, at 7.15pm at Enzian on Saturday (4/14) and again on Wednesday at Regal Winter Park Village (Details)

Jobriath was the first openly gay pop star. In a time when everyone kept that particular detail a secret about themselves, he declared himself "the true fairy of rock and roll" and was signed to an unprecedentedly large record contract and all the hype in the world. Problem is: nobody cared. Mainstream audiences, gay audiences, and critics all ignored him. Jobriath died of AIDS, broke and largely forgotten, in 1983, after spending time as a cabaret singer, using the moniker "Cole Berlin".

This documentary chronicles his life and offers insight from his friends, and contemporary musicians who have championed him more recently. The latter group includes Okkervil River's Will Sheff, Def Leppard's Joe Elliott, and Marc Almond, who just wrote a nice piece about Jobriath for the Guardian. There's a fascinating story in here, and Jobriath's manager/Colonel Parker figure Jerry Brandt comes off as more interesting. Or more crazy. That's the problem: I didn't know anything about Jobriath before seeing the film, and don't really that I know him now. There's plenty of footage of people talking about him, but not enough performance footage to really make me believe. Brandt's personality is abrasive yet sorrowful, so he comes off as the more fascinating figure, which is a slight problem for a documentary about his client. But even so, the film inspired me to check out 'Creatures of the Street' on Spotify... and it's pretty good!

This is the North American premiere of the film, and rumour has it that Jerry Brandt will be in attendance at one of the screenings... This could yet prove to be unmissable stuff.