Frameline48: Don’t Change Hands

When a wealthy politician receives a mysterious pornographic film reel starring her estranged son, she hires lesbian private detective Mélinda (Myriam Mézières) to investigate the source of the film and uncover who is trying to blackmail her with it. The case soon leads Mélinda directly to the Shanghai Lily, a den of iniquity populated by lusty and duplicitous femmes fatales, quick to open their raincoats but even quicker to draw their pistol.

Don’t Change Hands was maverick auteur Paul Vecchiali’s finest foray into adult film territory, fusing bisexual orgies and pornographic intrigue with a wildly entertaining film noir. Imagine an X-rated version of The Big Sleep, if Humphrey Bogart played a lesbian private eye. Recently restored in 4k, Don’t Change Hands is the perfect introduction to Vecchiali’s queer oeuvre — which is still widely unseen outside of his native France and one he continued to build up until his passing in 2023 at age 91.

Courtesy of Severin Films.

Preceded by:

Sweet Dreams

Directed by Honey Lee Cottrell

Often called “the pioneer of lesbian gaze,” iconic San Francisco photographer Honey Lee Cottrell was a student at San Francisco State University when she made this lustful, elliptical exploration of female fantasy and self-love. Originally screening at Frameline5 in 1981 and starring Patrick Califia (then Pat Califia), Sweet Dreams was produced by Dr. Ted Mcilvenna for The National Sex Forum; this 2K restoration was created/supplied by Vinegar Syndrome. (14 mins)

1h 31m
Paul Vecchiali
French & English with English Subtitles
First Showing
June 25, 2024