Swan Song

Director: Todd Stephens
2021 | USA | 105m
GENRE: Aging/Elders | Camp | Comedy | Death/Dying | Drama | Gay
SECTION: Narrative Features | Streaming

Get ready for the outlandish true story of the Liberace of Sandusky, Ohio! When retired hairdresser Pat Pitsenbarger is offered $25,000 to style an estranged friend for her funeral, he does the only sensible thing: he escapes his nursing home and hitchhikes into town with a sign boasting “free beauty tips.” As Pat makes his way through his now-alien hometown shoplifting beauty supplies, he finds himself reconnecting with friends, confronting old rivals, and facing the demons of his past.

In Swan Song, director Todd Stephens (who wrote Frameline22’s Audience Award winner Edge of Seventeen) has found the perfect showcase for German screen legend Udo Kier. As Pat, Kier is simultaneously sassy, tender, heartbreaking, and hilarious. His beautifully nuanced performance is complemented by a stunning supporting cast that includes the inimitable Jennifer Coolidge ( Best in Show) as Pat’s former protégée, Linda Evans ( Dynasty) in a wonderful ghostly cameo, and Michael Urie ( Ugly Betty) as the deceased’s grandson. Swan Song is a heartfelt tribute to the real Pat, to the director’s own hometown, and to the ever-changing landscape of queer culture.

— ELLIOTT BREEDEN

Buying Note: This digital screening is available to view between Thu, Jun 17 and Sun, Jun 27. We suggest watching it at 6:30pm PDT Sun, Jun 20.

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COMMUNITY PARTNERS
San Francisco Sketchfest, Openhouse San Francisco, 
San Francisco Independent Film Festival, Ray of Light Theatre