Category: LGBT film festivals (page 1 of 2)

ANNE+ Season 2: Why You Want to Watch the New Season

About 1.5 years ago, I was fortunate enough to watch ANNE+ before it premiered. I reviewed this new lesbian series from The Netherlands for you in a blog post and a video. I thought it was amazing to be able to talk about a project from my country for a change. Apparently, you thought so too. This video is my most popular video to this date! For a long time, the series wasn’t available to international viewers yet. As of January 17, the YouTube videos are open beyond the Dutch borders as well. In this review, I expect you to have watched the first season, but I won’t give away spoilers. I was so excited to watch ANNE+ season 2 and below, you can read why you want to watch the new season too.

‘ANNE+ Season 2: Why You Want to Watch the New Season’ I was so excited to watch ANNE+ season 2 and here, you can read why you want to watch the new season too: http://bit.ly/AnnePlusS2

ANNE+ season 2: new storyline

Where are the makers taking ANNE+ season 2? The plot of season 1 was clear in advance: Anne reflects on the relationships she had in her college days and on how they shaped her as a person. Hence the plus in the title: each episode focused on one of her relationships. Realistically, the same principle can´t be applied to a new season. As I said in my previous review, though, the creators did leave a big opening for a future storyline.

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ANNE+ season 2

Where does the story start in the next season? In season 2, Anne is 24 and she seems to have it all figured out. She works at a creative agency. She has a girlfriend and a lot of friends. Anne also has her own place in Amsterdam.

Still, her life isn´t going the way she really wants it to go. Anne wants something different. But she doesn´t know where to start and she constantly gets distracted. Then an ex shows up on her doorstep unannounced. This happens at the same time she has trouble with another ex.

Normally, you can go to the people around you to talk, but her parents are having their own problems and sometimes, her friends have their own things to deal with. And she should also really take a look at all those bills that are coming in. Being an adult is different from what she expected. How do you do that: balancing friends, work and relationships?

ANNE+ season 2 brings diversity to the cast

One of the things that make me happy this season is the diversity of the cast. Anne’s (ex) relationships and friends are from mixed backgrounds. With the transgender character, there is a big focus on his transition. Still, you can say that this series handles it better than other productions. This character comes across as a very strong individual and draws strength from the transition. He also clearly sets his boundaries. Many times, productions often highlight the difficult and sad parts of their lives. I write this review as a white, cisgender woman, so you might experience this diversity differently.

What I also like is that in this series, you also see men as friends. In lesbian productions, you often see the storyline only revolve around women and there is much resentment against men. Here, you see Anne having male friends, without emphasizing the differences between men and women. They are just there and you can be friends with them as an LGBT+ woman. Refreshing! Or maybe not?

Laura Gómez plays a role

Nice addition to the cast: Laura Gómez. You know her as Blanca Flores from Orange is the New Black. She saw the first season of ANNE+ at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and wanted to participate in the second season. I have only been able to watch the first 4 episodes, but in the fourth episode, I saw her in the preview of episode 5, where she attends a wedding. So, I can’t tell you if she only guest-stars in episode 5 or in more episodes. Either way: that’s such a cool addition!

‘ANNE+ Season 2: Why You Want to Watch the New Season’ I was so excited to watch ANNE+ season 2 and here, you can read why you want to watch the new season too: http://bit.ly/AnnePlusS2

Humor

ANNE+ has a real sense of humor. The biggest way they add humor to the series is when you hear Anne’s thoughts out loud. They are a direct commentary on what Anne is experiencing in the scene. I often find it very relatable.

And yes, you often notice that Anne says the opposite of what she thinks in her head. There’s also a sense of humor in that: the difference between what society wants you to say and what you actually want. Fortunately, from time to time, they also show positive results when Anne does the opposite of what she actually wants. Because sometimes, it is also about stepping out of your comfort zone and learning things.

Edge

A strong point of this series is that they don’t let Anne be perfect. Yes, the series revolves around Anne but sometimes, you simply don’t like her. Sometimes you disagree with her. And sometimes, you understand why she has an angry outburst when she’s with her friends. It’s not nice to watch, but you know where it comes from. That edge makes her character very relatable. Because in reality, you also know that you’re not being reasonable from time to time and that your behavior isn’t very nice for others.

Where can you watch ANNE+ season 2?

The world premiere is on Monday, March 2 in Amsterdam. If you live in The Netherlands, you can watch the second season of ANNE+ from March 3: BNNVARA on NPO 3 at 10:25 pm. This season has more episodes and they will last longer. That means more ANNE+! You can also binge-watch the whole season on NPO Start Plus from March 3.

If you’re not in The Netherlands, you can’t watch it yet. They have just done the international release of the first season. All those episodes are available on YouTube. They have English, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

The Sympathy Card: Lesbian Comedy About Bad First Dates and Cancer

The Sympathy Card: Lesbian Comedy About Bad First Dates and Cancer

The Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, or Roze Filmdagen, is taking place March 12-22. Because of the Roze Filmdagen, I know some new queer titles you can watch. The first one I can review for you is an American comedy: The Sympathy Card.

In The Sympathy Card, Emma has lung cancer and it’s not going well. She presents her new wife Josie a deathbed order. Is that a thing now? Apparently, it is. Josie needs to find someone new while Emma is still around to approve of her choice. Josie goes on some bad dates before developing feelings for her florist Siobhan. Below, you can find what I thought of the movie. In de video, you can find a clip from the movie!

‘The Sympathy Card: Lesbian Comedy About Bad First Dates and Cancer’ The Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, or Roze Filmdagen, is taking place March 12-22. Because of De Roze Filmdagen, I know some new queer titles you can watch. The first one I can review for you is an American comedy: The Sympathy Card. Here, you can find what I thought of the movie: http://bit.ly/TheSympathyCard
Watch my review on YouTube to find a clip from the movie!

Before watching The Sympathy Card

I have to say that beforehand, I was a bit reluctant to watch The Sympathy Card. I have a personal history with cancer. Consequently, I try to avoid being drawn into super sad stories about it. This movie is described as a comedy, though.

I decided to watch the trailer. In the first one I watched, there was no mention of cancer, just bad dates, and a romance. I decided to watch the second trailer, which did cover the cancer part. I noticed that this was the level I could handle. So, I asked the team for the press screener and I watched it. If you have a personal history with cancer too, it might be a good idea to watch the trailer first.

The Sympathy Card is not very realistic

Let me start off by saying that the storyline is not very realistic. Not every choice made in this story makes sense. Many of your questions will be left unanswered. For instance, how does Josie end up being so bad at dates? It almost seems as if her date with Emma is her first date ever. Who was she before the opening of this movie?

The biggest issue I have with this whole idea is: how big of a sex drive do you expect your character to have when the one she loves is dying and she’s taking care of her wife until she dies? It’s already a stage of mourning. I think anyone who has ever lost somebody close to them can tell you that it’s not your peak moment. Whether your wife orders you to flirt with people or not.

The bad dates are hilarious

Forget the unrealistic part of the movie for a second. I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the bad dates. It’s reassuring that there are people out there who are worse than me.

Not every actor is as good as the other, but I enjoyed Josie’s responses and the moments she’s talking to herself, which turn already awkward dates even more awkward.  I may have a crush on the florist now too, even though she has some tricks up her sleeve as well. And some sexy scenes are, well, sexy. So, despite the many questions I had, the surprises that come your way and the awkward moments kept me watching the movie until the end.

Oh, the end… What?!

Unconventional

Have you had enough of watching coming-out stories? Have you had enough of watching teens or college girls? If so, the Sympathy Card might bring something new to the table. Instead of a coming-of-age movie, it’s about the end of life. If I had to guess the characters’ age, I’d guess they are in their thirties. It’s about a married couple deciding how to live their (short) lives together from now on, rather than a wedding being the final event in a movie. Those are all things you don’t see very often in movies from our community.

Where can you watch it?

On its website, the team states that they had a festival run last year and that they hope to bring the movie to more festivals this spring. On the Facebook page, you can read that The Sympathy Card will be shown at the Roze Filmdagen and Melbourne Queer Film Festival in March. You can also find the movie on Twitter and Instagram. I suggest you follow those accounts to stay up to date about festival dates. Hopefully, you will soon discover when and where you can watch the movie online.

Carmen & Lola: A Lesbian Love Story in the Roma Community

Carmen & Lola: A Lesbian Love Story in the Roma Community

This month, the 22nd edition of the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival will take place. In Dutch, it is called De Roze Filmdagen. March 14-24, you will be able to see 44 feature films, 10 documentaries, and 84 short films from 48 countries. The festival opens with Carmen & Lola, a lesbian feature film from Spain. In this blog post, you will find my review. You will also find their social media accounts to support them online and to see when the movie will be screened at a festival near you.

‘Carmen & Lola: A Lesbian Love Story in the Roma Community’ This month, the 22nd edition of the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival (De Roze Filmdagen) will take place. The festival opens with Carmen & Lola, a lesbian feature film from Spain. In this blog post, you will find my review. You will also find their social media accounts to support them online and to see when the movie will be screened at a festival near you: http://bit.ly/CarmenAndLola

The storyline of Carmen & Lola

Carmen and Lola are two young women from the Roma community on the outskirts of Madrid.  Like every other woman she has ever met, Carmen is destined to live a life that is repeated generation after generation: getting married and raising as many children as possible. Lola is supposed to do the same, but she is different, as everybody describes her. Lola dreams about going to university, draws bird graffiti, and likes girls.  The two women fall in love. As a result, they have to face up to a culture where family honor and centuries of tradition are still very strong.

Divided opinion

I am divided in my opinion about Carmen & Lola, and I will describe why. Carmen & Lola is a lesbian coming-of-age and coming-out story. As some of you say, we already have so many of these stories. We are not defined by our coming out. There is more to our lives, and I am sure we have plenty of other stories to tell, preferably ones that do not only center around our sexual orientation.

That said, if you are in that stage of your life where you are struggling with your sexual orientation and coming out, a story like that of Carmen & Lola might be just what you need. It has all the classic elements. Is she gay? If she is, is she into me? If she is into me, what will that lead to? How will our families react? What do we do?

However, if you are at that stage, a movie that shows a positive image of our lives as a whole might give you more hope than a movie that focuses on that one (possibly) big, scary moment. Let’s be honest, coming out continuous to occur throughout our queer lives.

Roma culture

That said, if you get over that fact, Carmen & Lola is a beautiful movie. I was interested in it precisely because the story plays in the Roma culture. I had heard of it, but I had never really seen anything about it. This movie is brutally honest about this culture. It shows the good parts, and it shows the discriminations and lack of hope for a prosperous future the Roma people face. It also shows the traditions that seem very suffocating to me.

Engagement

I mean, it starts with two seventeen-year-olds getting engaged. They are not allowed to interact much with each other even though they both know they will be getting engaged soon. Then, the dads have to have this big talk about why this marriage would be good for the families and what the kids have to offer. Only after ‘the deal is sealed,’ the two see each other, fully dressed as if they already are getting married. It is quite the spectacle, and this scene could occur in one of my nightmares, I am not going to lie.

Perfect cast

At the same time, this otherness is what makes the movie so interesting to watch. However, let’s not forget about the actors. The entire time, I was wondering where they got these actors from. After all, they look like they could be Roma themselves. As you learn from the movie, career prospects for Roma women are not abundant. If they are lucky, they can become a hairdresser. So how did these people end up in this movie?

After watching the movie, I learned these actors are indeed from the Roma culture themselves, and they are not professionals. However, there is nothing unprofessional about their performances! They are all so very good, and it made me so happy to learn about this opportunity for them.

Follow Carmen & Lola on social media

As said, you can watch Carmen & Lola at De Roze Filmdagen in Amsterdam. If you are unable to attend, you can best follow the movie online to see when it will be screened at a film festival near you. They are active on Facebook and Instagram.

Are you going to De Roze Filmdagen? Please also watch The Date, Rafiki, Cassandro, the Exotico!, Dante vs. Mohammed Ali, Yulia & Juliet, and Vlam!

Rafiki: A Lesbian Love Story from Kenya with a Happy Ending

Rafiki: A Lesbian Love Story from Kenya with a Happy Ending

What do you think when you hear that there is a lesbian movie from Kenya? Is that even possible? Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, so my biggest fear was that the movie was going to be full of hurt and pain, with no hopes of a good future. Can you imagine my surprise when I found out Rafiki actually has a happy ending?! This movie is wonderful, and I want to share with you what I liked about Rafiki and where you can watch it. You can read the blog post but you can also watch the video below this image.

‘Rafiki: A Lesbian Love Story from Kenya with a Happy Ending’ What do you think when you hear that there is a lesbian movie from Kenya? Is that even possible? Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, so my biggest fear was that the movie was going to be full of hurt and pain, with no hopes of a good future. Can you imagine my surprise when I found out Rafiki actually has a happy ending?! In this blog post, I share with you the 3 things I liked about Rafiki: http://bit.ly/RafikiKenya

Feelings

Let me first tell you that you will have lots of feelings. Knowing the situation there, I was constantly scared for Kena and Ziki. You follow Kena, so you’re more scared for her as you see her in more situations.

The moments when she talks to friends and families, you are constantly wondering whether they are going to ask something or whether Kena reaches a point where she can’t take it anymore and yells out something. For instance, she is not “the only gay in the village.” There is a gay man, and everybody knows about him. Her friend laughs at him, has probably beat him up at one point, and bumps into him on purpose.

When Kena and Ziki find moments together, you are constantly worried they will get caught. And as I was not familiar with Kenyan culture, I did not know what the consequences would be if that were to occur. That adds to the tension even more.

A lot of feelings

Yes, they do get caught. Yes, bad things happen. It is bound to happen; you know it will at one point, and you will feel every fiber of your body object when you see the consequences.

And you will have a lot of feelings about the two town gossips. My biggest question is: what does it bring them, to hunt them down like that?

You will also have feelings about the two dad’s different responses. And then, you will have a LOT of feelings about the happy ending.

Basically, Rafiki is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but you can now be assured that you will not be crying for days. In fact, now that I know about the happy ending, I might want to watch it again just to be able to enjoy the story without having these feelings of tension the entire time.

The first thing I liked about Rafiki: the sheer fact that it is a lesbian love story from Kenya

Yes, critics who might say that Rafiki is another coming out and another coming of age movie are right. We get it: we want different narratives too. However, for a movie from Kenya to talk about a lesbian romance is huge. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and signs of it will be met with violent responses.

In fact, Rafiki was banned from screening in the country by Kenya’s Film and Classification Board (KFCB). KFCB said it banned Rafiki because of intent to “promote lesbianism” in the country: “The film has been restricted due to its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law.”

Lawsuit

Director Wanuri Kahiu filed a lawsuit earlier challenging the censorship board’s ruling. She won, and the ban was temporarily lifted for seven days. This way, it could be eligible to be submitted for the Best Foreign Language film at this year’s Academy Awards. As a result, Kenyans went to the cinema’s “en masse” to watch it.

Can you imagine the impact Rafiki can have on Kenyan queer women watching this movie? The hope and sense of community it can bring? And it does not even end badly, which I had to experience often growing up. I am so very happy for Kenyan queer women to be able to watch a high-quality lesbian movie with a happy ending.

The second thing I liked about Rafiki: getting a glimpse of Kenya

Not all is bad about Kenya. As a queer woman, I find it easy to be against everything Kenyan when I know about the situation there for my community. Consequently, I was hesitant to find Kenya’s beauty in this movie. However, the colors, the people, the language, the accent when they speak English, the games played in public, its nature; there was just so much to enjoy for me in my first introduction to Kenya. I always love seeing different cultures and countries, so this movie being set in Kenya definitely adds something for me.

The third thing I liked about Rafiki: the chemistry between Kena and Ziki

The chemistry between Kena and Ziki is certainly there. It is well played. Being in such a restrictive environment, you find ways to find a connection with a person. It starts with looks and with small talk. I was actually surprised that they went on a date quickly. It was at night, in the dark, but it still took me by surprise that they found that opportunity.

I also think that because it is illegal, a lot of people are not used to seeing our community. Therefore, they might not recognize things. I think that if you put Kena in the western world, many gaydars will go off. Here, she constantly gets hit on by men. When she puts on a dress, she is described as a proper lady. People do not seem to see it.

When the two town gossips start staring at them, I think it is more because they are the daughters of two political enemies rather than because it might be a starting romance.

Where can you watch it?

January 23-February 3, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) takes place again and there, Rafiki will be screened.  Also, you can follow them on social media to find out when and where their movie will be screened. These are their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

According to a Facebook post, “Rafiki screened at over 100 film festivals and won 14 awards since May 2018, and this year is starting strong! In January you can catch the film in the US, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands.” Therefore, there is a good chance you will be able to see the movie at a festival near you.

Want more tips on what to watch? How about The DateDifferent for Girls or Anne+? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to hear my suggestions the moment they are uploaded!

A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina’s Music Scene

A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina’s Music Scene

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will take place January 23-February 3, 2019 and one of the LGBTQ movies it is showing is A Girl’s Band or Una Banda de Chicas. I have seen a screener of it, which means that I can tell you all about it. If you are looking for good LGBTQ movie tips for IFFR or a good LGBTQ movie tip in general, this blog post might be something for you. Below, I explain what A Girl’s Band is about and what I liked about this music documentary.

‘A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina's Music Scene’ One of the LGBTQ movies IFFR is showing is A Girl’s Band or Una Banda de Chicas. I have seen a screener of it, which means that I can tell you all about it. If you are looking for good LGBTQ movie tips for IFFR or a good LGBTQ movie tip in general, this blog post might be something for you: http://bit.ly/AGirlsBand

Synopsis of A Girl’s Band

For six years, Marilina Giménez rocked the bass guitar in Yilet, a three-woman band in Argentina. But like female musicians everywhere, she was constantly confronted with a male-dominated, often sexist industry. In this documentary, she probes Argentina’s music scene with her camera and many pertinent questions. Why are there so few female superstars who write their own music? Why is it almost obligatory to look a certain way? Has the position of female musicians improved in recent decades?

Giménez moves through Buenos Aires by night, filming female artists (many of whom operate underground) attracting sell-out crowds with punk rock, reggaeton, pop or electronic music. She films them behind the scenes and in full glory on stage and listens to their experiences. As diverse as these women are, their stories of the sexism, inequality, and aggression they face are equally painful – whether they have dreadlocks, twerk in a G-string or pose in hipster attire.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the introduction to Argentina’s music scene

Actually, the first thing that I like about A Girl’s Band is a very simple thing. It introduced me to the Argentinian music scene. I don’t know anything about it, so to see a diverse sample of this country’s music was highly entertaining and an exciting learning experience. Because most of the bands are underground bands, I am curious to know what mainstream is in Argentina and what role the underground music scene plays in Argentina.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the feminist take on Argentina’s music scene

I think Giménez has an interesting take on her country’s music scene. She was part of it for years, and she now takes a step back to review it through the camera lens (and allows us to go on that journey with her). As a result, she shows a good understanding of what is honestly going on in Argentina’s music scene for women, and she has the connections to tell the whole story. That insider perspective makes you want to listen.

I was quite blown away by the gender inequality in Argentina’s music scene. It made me compare Argentina’s music scene to the Dutch music scene. I have no inside knowledge of our music scene, but I do know that the music scene is just one part of a bigger whole: our culture. If I compare Argentina and The Netherlands, I think Argentina has a more significant gender inequality. This must be reflected in the music scene as well because I simply cannot imagine the things happening in this documentary happening in my country too. Yes, the Dutch music industry is a man’s world too but not to the same extent.

I feel bad for these women just trying to follow their dreams and passion and barely surviving. The bravery they show is fantastic. I think that courage combined with good music is what made this documentary a fun watch.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the diverse range of LGBTQ women

Look, whenever you have a big group of strong women, it is only natural that a part of those women is LGBTQ, amirite? This documentary shows a diverse range of LGBTQ women. There are differences in how they identify and how they look and dress. There are individuals, couples, and families. To me, this type of representation is beautiful!

One thing A Girl’s Band could have done better

If I must make a statement on something this movie can improve, it is the following. I noticed halfway watching the movie that I was missing a sense of direction. Why am I watching band after band after band play and introduce themselves? What do these band presentations mean? I mean, they are cool, but is this documentary simply a list of women in bands sharing their experiences?

Then, at the end of the documentary, there is an event that brings all these bands together. I won’t give away what it is. You see many familiar faces, and you see that many of them know each other. It is the moment the storyline of the documentary comes together.

I just wish I had known this a little earlier. In the beginning, I was trying to invest in the first bands, thinking we’d see more of their journey. However, by the time the fourth band was introduced, I did not feel like paying close attention anymore because I knew we would not establish a deeper connection. Therefore, a more evident storyline would have led me through these introductions better.

Where can you watch A Girl’s Band?

As mentioned, you can watch A Girl’s Band at IFFR, so check out their website for the schedule. However, if you are not close to Rotterdam January 23-February 3, you might want other options.

The best thing you can do is follow them on social media. There, they will tell you at what other film festivals the documentary will be screened. Here are their Instagram and Facebook pages. Another option is watching their Vimeo page since it has the trailer on it. They might upload their movie there after a festival run.

Want more tips on what to watch? How about The DateDifferent for Girls or Anne+? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to hear my suggestions the moment they are uploaded!

5 New Queer Documentaries on Queer Day 2018 by IDFA

5 New Queer Documentaries on Queer Day 2018 by IDFA

November 19, IDFA (International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam) held the sixth edition of Queer Day. Queer Day 2018 kicked off with a video essay by queer artist Finn Paul, followed by a visit to Rio de Janeiro through the eyes of transgender icon Luana Muniz and a look into the life of Mexican wrestler Cassandro de Exotico. The day winded up with a portrait of performance artist Linn da Quebrada in Bixa Travesty with a live performance by Guillermo Blinker (OTION) and ended with an intimate portrait of a porn star in Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life In between these last two films, the audience was welcome at the Queer Drinks in the foyer of EYE. I could not stay until the very end, but I can tell you what I thought of the first four documentaries.

‘5 New Queer Documentaries on IDFA’s Queer Day’ November 19, IDFA held the sixth edition of Queer Day. They showed five new documentaries of which I was able to watch four: Beside the Water, Bixa Travesty, Obscuro Barroco, and Cassandro, the Exotico! Here, you can read what I thought about them so you can decide if you want to watch them yourself: http://bit.ly/QueerDay18

First documentary on Queer Day 2018: Beside the water, 1999-2004 by Finn Paul

Info by IDFA: Queer artist Finn Paul tells the story of transgender sexual awakening in this provocative video essay that looks back at the early 2000s when transgender lives were less visible. He energetically combines both history and photographs of lovers to create a personal story of sexual discovery. Real and imaginary events blend in a mix of erotic snapshots, found footage, home videos, postcards, and desert landscapes. At the same time, he criticizes the misconceptions about queer people that existed at the time.

Finn Paul not only delves into his own personal collection but also creates new, imagined images. This way, he proposes alternative ways to bring a trans-past to the surface of his memory. This unconventional video diary rewrites the past to herald a queer future, with a place for pleasure, sincerity, and beauty.

My experience

An essay film is not the type of movie I usually watch. There were some moving images but mostly photos. It was interesting to see and hear these different types of footage, such as listening to a voicemail and watching a photo of an envelope that once contained a love letter. It is exactly why I love visiting film festivals; they open up a world to you that you may not have looked for yourself. It felt like a visit to the museum while simply sitting in your chair. So, I am happy that IDFA and the director offered me this opportunity. It is definitely a creative piece of work.

In terms of story or impact, it did not really move me personally but I can understand that if you are transgender yourself, this short documentary can be of much value to you given the fact that much transgender history is erased or hidden.

Second documentary on Queer Day 2018: Obscuro Barroco by Evangelia Kranioti

Info by IDFA: [This] is a spellbinding, hallucinatory film essay that wanders off the beaten narrative track and takes us to Rio de Janeiro, the go-to city for anyone wanting to transform into a new version of themselves at the exhilarating, gender-bending carnival, or one of the many nightclubs for the queer scene.

This visual homage meanders through the steamy clubs, the vivid carnival parades with their buttock-shaking dancers, and the raging protests, before drifting onwards into the nocturnal streets of Rio, a city of extremes where queer culture is in full bloom.

Our guide and narrator is the famous Brazilian transgender activist Luana Muniz (1961-2017), who is sensual and melancholy as she recites lines of poetry from Clarice Lispector’s experimental monologue Água Viva. Reflections on identity, aging, and self-expression all flow into the lights of Rio. Political events that herald a new conservative era seep into the background of this dizzying dream.

My experience

I do not really know what to say about this documentary. It felt very much like a dream. You see Luana Muniz but not enough to establish a real connection with her. You see many different images from Rio, which offer very bright and beautiful colors. In the meantime, you hear this poem being recited. I was constantly wondering what it all meant. As a result, I was not really present, which may have distracted me from the true meaning of the documentary. I can see that it was very creative, though.

Third documentary on Queer Day 2018: Cassandro, the Exotico! by Marie Losier

Info by IDFA: Cassandro is often referred to as the Liberace of lucha libre (Spanish for “freestyle wrestling”). This tough Mexican show wrestler wears glittering costumes and has more than earned his wrestling stripes in his gender-bending exótico persona. In this intimate 16mm portrait, we follow this likable entertainer and athlete in the twilight of his 26-year career. His body is, at last, succumbing to the years of broken bones, concussions, and alcohol and drug abuse.

The characteristic color palette of this analog film perfectly complements Cassandro’s life: his spectacular costumes, his home filled with trinkets and the poor neighborhood where he grew up. On just a few occasions the protagonist himself appears in a Skype conversation. These are often his darkest moments, and it’s in these scenes that director Marie Losier becomes most deeply involved. Cassandro needs to reconcile himself with the prospect of his impending retirement. But without the spotlight, who is he?

My experience

Because we closely follow one person, I was drawn in much more than in the previous documentaries. When Cassandro is happy or cracking jokes, you laugh with him. When he tells you about his dark past, upcoming retirement or relapse, you feel for him. And when he is adjusting his hair for the umpteenth time, you chuckle at his vanity. You admire his perseverance when you see his scars, x-rays, and casts. Finally, when you see him jump from the ceiling during wrestling matches, you understand his talent.

Fourth documentary on Queer Day: Bixa Travesty by Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman

Info by IDFA: Raw, vital and sometimes very intimate portrait of the Brazilian artiste Linn da Quebrada, a “tranny fag” who uses her own body as her medium of political expression. Her performances are confrontational, subversive and colorful—and they offer no room at all for a heteronormative perspective. She deconstructs the self-image of the alpha man and examines what a tranny fag really is.

Public and private life are completely intertwined in this journey of discovery, with discussions about gender and how to define it—or undefine it—taking place in the shower, in the bedroom, and on the radio. We see Linn da Quebrada sharing tender moments with her family, during playful exchanges with friends and bursting with self-confidence onstage.

My experience

I am happy to have watched this. Quite a few people walked out, though. Were they offended by the many genitals shown? Were they bored by the huge amount of text spoken, sung or shouted? It shows that no matter what you think of this documentary, you will have an opinion. And is that not precisely the reason why art exists? To challenge you and the world around you?

For me, I have seen enough penises for a while but I enjoyed the moments when they sat down for the radio shows. There, they stripped away most of the show and came back to their message. That is when I really listened.

Queer Day 2018

Queer Day 2018 was the second time I visited IDFA’s Queer Day. Last year, I watched Chavela, Queerama, This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, and Mr. Gay Syria. I have to say that Queer Day had a bigger impact on me last year. I feel the 2017 program was more diverse in terms of stories from the entire LGBTQIA community. And if I have to compare Chavela and Mr. Gay Syria, which I have seen winning quite a few awards over the year and shown at many different film festivals, with Cassandro, the Exotico! and Bixa Travesty, then I think the first two movies have a longer-lasting effect on its audiences. Bixa Travesty does have the potential to win some awards because it is so very outspoken. However, that may also be what works against it. Time will tell!

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