Sunday I saw two films and one short, all really great. Sundays tend to be a good day for movies in general at the festival and this year was no exception.

Redwoods – This was a really sweet, touching, sincere and most of all low-key romantic drama about two guys meeting while one of them is in a deeply dull but responsibility-laden relationship. The acting is quite good, the chemistry between the two leads is palpable and the story is surprisingly universal. Part of what impressed me about the movie is that it asks some of the expected romantic drama questions – what defines happiness and is it worth the costs – but it doesn’t rely on a queer couple for some unique positive or negative trait. It’s another example of what I noticed overall, that queer films at the festival this year seemed to be open to being about regular life without being about being about regular life. It also stars a Durham native who was fantastic, both in this and in the extremely dark and creepy short Weak Species.

Twoyoungmen, UT – This played right before Redwoods and is a simply magnificent short film. It’s about two guys meeting when one goes out to a gay bar for the first time. It refuses to conform to one’s automatic expectations of what that means, though, and proved to be both tremendously subtle – in presentation, direction and performances – and deeply touching. Between the honesty of the characters’ fears and the slightly surreal tinge, this film felt like being 17 and scared. I loved it.

Little Ashes – This film presents a version of the youthful relationship between the Spanish poet and playwright Garcia Lorca and the painter Salvador Dali that may or may not be historically accurate. I’ve read that it is “an imagining” of that relationship, but the closing title card notes that late-in-life recollections by Dali “inspired” the film. I don’t particularly care how accurate it is or is not because either way it is beautiful and affecting. The performances are great and the times presented – the end of one era of Spanish politics, the yearning for something new, the collapse of hope in the face of Fascism – will feel just a little familiar to any Generation Xer who was once young and wreckless and invincible. Gorgeously shot, tremendous production value and the guy who plays sparklepire Edward Cullen plays Dali.

Little Ashes is well worth seeing and is being held over at the Carolina for at least the next couple of nights.