Category: LGBT film festivals (page 2 of 2)

Best Feature Film De Roze Filmdagen: And the winner is….

Best Feature Film De Roze Filmdagen: And the winner is….

Two weeks ago, I published a blog and vlog about De Roze Filmdagen, or the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, which was held March 8-18. The organization then asked me to become a judge for their Best Feature Film Award. I feel very honored that I was asked. Thanks, De Roze Filmdagen!

The nominees for Best Feature Film were Anchor and Hope, Even Lovers Get the Blues, Just Charlie, My Life with James Dean, Porcupine Lake, Sisterhood, The Cakemaker, and The Constitution. Below, you can find my reviews and find out which movie won. In addition, you can watch my 3.5-minute vlog about the experience.

For De Roze Filmdagen, or the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, I was asked to be a judge and help decide which nominated movie was going to receive the Best Feature Film Award. In this blog, I will review the movies and show how we as judges decided which movie was going to win. Want to know who the winner is? Read this blog: http://bit.ly/BFFDRF

Judging which movie is the Best Feature Film

I can tell you that watching a movie just for fun is very different from watching a movie to decide if it deserves an award. You experience all these emotions while watching a movie. When you are a judge, you constantly have to ask yourself how those emotions influence your decision.

What makes a movie a good movie? What makes a movie the Best Feature Film? For me, I decided that I wanted to make my decision based on the impact the movies made on me and how much of a connection I felt with the main characters. The latter does not mean I have to agree with what the main characters do. I simply have to understand why they do what they do and see an in-depth representation of them.

Sisterhood

I watched Sisterhood before being asked to be a judge. As you can read in my previous blog, if you want to see a happy movie, Sisterhood is not it. But to dismiss it just like that would mean you are missing out on a great movie. You can constantly feel Sei’s sadness about losing her best friend (or is she?) but at the same time, you are constantly smiling during the flashbacks of their friendship (or is it?) and hoping for happiness. As she has already passed away, you know from the start you are not going to get a happy ending but you are curious about how they met and what they meant to each other. Oh, and if you are curious about what happens in massage parlors, this movie might enlighten you.

Love intertwines at the wrong time. The past almost feels like a foreign country in Tracy Choi’s female-oriented melodrama, which juxtaposes the regrets over a lost lesbian romance with the alienation of a former Macau native as she returns to what is now a glamorous gambling capital.

Even Lovers Get the Blues

The movie started with a sex scene. And another one. And another one. I was worried that we were doomed with the age-old combination of gays and sex again, not highlighting other aspects of our lives.

But no, not quite. My worst nightmare quickly happened: the partner of one of the main characters dies unexpectedly. This leaves the woman left behind in mourning and the group has to face the loss of their friend. It sends them on a journey, together and apart, but the death of that character is not necessarily a major theme.

What I liked about the story was that it focused on long-term relationships and the struggles that they can bring. I find that refreshing as many LGBTQ films center on finding your first or true (or both) love. I thought the movie did not really affect me much but I noticed after a few days that the scenes kept popping up in my head. So, I must have liked it more than I realized the first night!

Ana is sleeping with Hugo, Dahlia with Graciano, Leo with Louis, and Arthur is sleeping with seemingly half the hot men in Brussels. Together, they make up a good-looking group of friends with some serious dysfunctionalities. A take on modern romance and how we deal with sex and relationships.

Watch Even Lovers Get the Blues on Vimeo!

Porcupine Lake

If you are looking for a coming-of-age movie, Porcupine Lake is the one for you. It shows you the poorer side of Canada and how two teenagers there fall in love. Kate orders Bea around and Bea happily follows. For me, it was rather repetitious. Am I getting too old for these young love movies?!

During a hot and hazy summertime in northern Ontario, 13-year-old Bea wants a best friend more than anything else, but when she meets boisterous Kate, she gets more than she imagined. A story of bravery, small-town summer love, and the secret world of girls.

My Life with James Dean

This movie is very French. Can I describe it like that? I mean the short answers in dialogues or questions as answers, the several scenes in which multiple characters follow each other around town, spying on each other, and the crazy spins in the story. It pleased me for about an hour but since this movie is nearly two hours long, it became a bit too much for me. You do want to keep watching to see where the movie and Géraud finally end up.

Moving. Demanding. Unclassifiable. Rare. These are the words given to the gay film that Géraud is invited to present in a sleepy seaside town. Géraud is drawn into the lives of the handsome young projectionist obsessed with him, the snotty hotel desk girl hoping to become an actress, and the slightly neurotic theater owner embroiled in a heated lesbian affair of her own.

DVD algemeen

The Cakemaker

I am happy to have seen this movie. Not that it is a happy movie, but the story gave me many questions to think about.

For starters, I would never do what the protagonist did. German baker Tomas starts a relationship with Oren, who has a wife and son back in Israel. Then, he finds out Oren has passed away in Israel. What does he do? He moves to Israel to watch the wife and he even starts working at her restaurant. I cannot comprehend why anyone would do that but it made me want to watch the rest of the story.

Also, apparently, Tomas’ vocabulary is mostly limited to ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ so you are constantly wondering what he is truly thinking and feeling. There are also some very smart details that add up and together, they create a well-rounded story.

Tomas, a young German baker, has a passionate affair with Oren, an Israeli man. However, their life together consists of brief episodes as Oren also has a wife and kid back home. When disaster strikes and Oren is killed, a grief-stricken Tomas travels to Israel to track them down.

The Cakemaker trailer from JIFF on Vimeo.

Just Charlie

I was most touched by this movie. Yes, this was my personal favorite; I cannot deny that. No, I was not crying; you were crying!

Charlie plays soccer and is offered a chance to study at a great academy. His heart is not into it though. After all, Charlie is struggling with the fact that she is really a girl but, in her environment, this is a really big challenge. I nearly started crying when she was putting on makeup, after checking she was home alone, and her father walks in unexpectedly and starts yelling, almost hurting Charlie psychically as well.

Yes, this could be described as merely a coming-out story, but I feel that would not do justice to the fact that even now, you can hardly find a teen M2F coming-out story on our screens. And, wow, how great is Charlie, both the actor and the character!

Sad

I even could not hate the father because as a mom, I do understand how you want the best for your child. You just have to figure out what “the best” is (and unfortunately, some people need more time than others to do so…). In fact, I was simply sad that he was missing out on all the meaningful moments he could have had with Charlie.

As the star player in his football team, Charlie is living up to the high, maybe too high, expectations of his father. But when Charlie can no longer deny the facts and starts to accept that she wants to be a girl, this is only the start of a long journey. Unflinching, and with stellar performances, Just Charlie manages not only to handle difficult topics but also to be a damn charming, delightful movie.

Watch the full movie on Vimeo!

The Constitution

This movie has four main characters and several other characters that sometimes return to the story. Vjeko is beaten up. Vjeko is a gay transvestite and high school professor from Croatia. He was raised by his Nazi father of whom he is now taking care. In the hospital, he is being looked after by nurse Maja, who is also his neighbor. At home, she continues to take care of him and his father. She asks Vjeko to help her husband Ante study for his Croatian Constitution exam.

Opposites

The problem is that Ante is an ethnic Serb and Vjeko a Croatian nationalist; they are each other’s opposites when it comes to opinions about nationality and sexual orientation. That means you are likely to hate the main characters from the beginning. At the same time, though, these contrasts also invite you to look further. It invites you to find “the good and bad” in all of them. You wonder how they can resolve their conflicts while also asking yourself if they even have to resolve them at all. All in all, this is not an easy watch but if you want to be challenged, this movie is for you.

The tagline for this movie is “a love story about hate,” and frozen hate is what best describes the neighbors in a Zagreb apartment complex. These deep divisions of ethnicity and sexual identity may not follow the lines that you presume, and they all start shifting as the protagonists have to start working together.

The Constitution from TELEKING on Vimeo.

Anchor and Hope

As this movie is about two women trying to have a baby together, you probably expect me to love it. I did not though. Yes, the humor definitely made me laugh and I loved watching London from the water. Yes, I loved getting a glimpse of boat life (but not boat poo). Also, I loved watching the three main characters interact with each other.

I just could not get over the fact that Kat only decides to have a baby with Eva to end a fight and then gets cold feet WHEN EVA IS PREGNANT. Yes, I had to write that in caps. I feel that you simply cannot do that to a child. So, I was having a really hard time feeling a connection with Kat’s process. When can we see a movie in which lesbians become parents without the pregnancy being the central topic offering the conflict of the story?

Eva is not happy when her partner Kat invites over her Spanish friend Roger on their small London houseboat. Although, on second thought, it could be an answer to their desire to have a baby together.

TIERRA FIRME (Anchor and Hope) – Trailer VOSE from Miguel A. Trudu on Vimeo.

Discussion with the other judges about the Best Feature Film

Before the discussion with the other judges, I was nervous about how that discussion would go. Would the idea of which movie should win be shared by all immediately? Would all the judges have a different opinion on which movie should win? And if so, how do you finally pick a winner? To prepare, I decided to pick my top three. This way, I would have some flexibility in picking the Best Feature Film with the others. I picked Just Charlie, Sisterhood, and Even Lovers Get the Blues.

There were three judges, including myself, and we first started a round of discussing our favorite ones.

What does the Roze Filmdagen Best Feature Film Award mean?

After that first round, we asked ourselves what we want the Roze Filmdagen Best Feature Film Award to mean. When you see a movie poster with an image of the award on it, what should that say?

We agreed that we wanted to make the audience see a movie that might not be their first choice. We are all used to our own cultural context. Watching movies that fit that context perfectly are easier for us to consume. As judges, we decided to look beyond our personal boundaries. We decided to choose a movie that might make us struggle as we are unfamiliar with its environment.

Two movies: The Constitution or Sisterhood?

That offered a problem because we thought that both Sisterhood and The Constitution fitted our criteria. This problem took us over an hour! In the end, I decided to go back to my viewing experience. After all, I had stated beforehand that I would select movies that had an impact on me and that had characters with whom I could feel a connection.

I could not feel a connection with Vjeko from The Constitution. Before watching Sisterhood, though, I was interested precisely because I know so little about Asian cultures. While watching the movie, I felt a big connection to the group of friends from the younger years. So, my vote went to Sisterhood.

And the winner is…

One other judge was rooting hard for The Constitution but thought Sisterhood was worthy of the award as well. The final judge decided to choose the subtlety of Sisterhood over the big contrasts of The Constitution. That means Sisterhood won the Best Feature Film Award! To do justice to The Constitution, we gave it an honorable mention in our speech.

Stay updated!

If you like what you have read about me selecting the Best Feature Film at the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. For instance, I will be blogging and vlogging at ClexaCon in Las Vegas and Love Fan Fest in Barcelona. Plenty of LGBTQ vlogging goodness is coming!

What lesbian movies can you watch at the 2018 Roze Filmdagen?

What lesbian movies can you watch at the 2018 Roze Filmdagen (Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival)?

March 8th to March 18th, you can visit the 21st edition of the Roze Filmdagen, which means the Pink Film Days, or the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival. It has so many great movies that I almost want to urge you to go every day. I completely understand it if you cannot clear your schedule for all 125 movies, so I have listed the top lesbian movies you should go and watch. The organization of the 2018 Roze Filmdagen has allowed me to watch some previews, so I can tell you what I thought of them. You can find the program here, which has info in Dutch and in English.

‘What lesbian movies can you watch at the 2018 Roze Filmdagen (Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival)?’ March 8-18, you can visit the 21st edition of the Roze Filmdagen, or the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival. I have listed the top lesbian movies you should go and watch. Find them here: http://bit.ly/2018RFD

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 1: Days of Mercy

I have been waiting a while for this movie starring Ellen Page and Kate Mara. Now, we can finally watch it here in The Netherlands.  I wish I had been able to watch a preview for you, but alas.

With her father on death row, Lucy has been a passionate campaigner against the death penalty for years. Every weekend she and her siblings travel to a protest outside a jail. And every week they are met by death penalty supporters. Then, one day, one of ‘those people’, a young woman named Mercy, starts chatting her up.

Tip 2: Becks

On Twitter, Myron Floyd told me about this movie when I had just published my blog post about IFFR. It made me very curious, so I would like to see this one. Again, I was not able to watch a preview for you, so I cannot tell you if I am as excited about it as Myron is.

 

Betrayed by her girlfriend, aspiring singer/songwriter Becks returns to small-town America and her ultra-religious mother. After some self-pitying couch potato time, she ventures out into the world again, with some scandalous affairs waiting to happen. Tony Award winner Lena Hall shines in this warm, sexy and fun tale of a love life going bad in all the good ways.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 3: Seventeen

Oh, this movie is so cute! It has been a while since I was in high school but I do remember wanting things that just seemed so far out of reach or that were made impossible because of circumstances or other people’s behavior.

I loved listening to German and French again. I admired the protagonist for her discipline at home, looking after her father without her sister caring that much, and at school, doing “the nerdy thing” even though peer pressure could have led her to do “the cool thing.”

Oh, and ouch, the bad decisions you can make as a teenager! I truly wanted this movie to end differently. I am just going to leave it at that because I do not want to give away too much.

In the final weeks of school, we follow the trials and tribulations of a group of young teenagers. Paula is in love with Charlotte, who may be interested but is still also dating a boy. And then there is Lilli, who has an affair with a boy while they both have the hots for Paula. Their fluid sexualities are never considered a problem; they are simply a matter of fact in this refreshingly naturalistic portrait of life at seventeen.

DVD algemeen

Tip 4: Signature Move

How refreshing to have so much diversity in one movie. We can get a glimpse of American, Pakistani, and Mexican culture as it is all combined in these eighty minutes. I have seen Fawzia Mirza in other LGBTQ productions but never in the lead of a movie; that is great for her! Apparently, she is also the writer and producer of this movie. I love how this movie is a love story in which both women are trying to balance their cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and insecurities and that you follow all this through a story of wrestling. Yes, wrestling, what else?

Deliciously entertaining, this colorful love story is as much about culture as it is about love. Zaynab is lesbian, Muslim and of Pakistani origin. With an overbearing mother, things get complicated as she meets flirty ‘love-em-and-leave-em’ Alma, while she is also dabbling in her new-found love for Mexican style wrestling. Warm and witty, this is a real crowd-pleaser of a movie.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 5: Sisterhood

If you want to see a happy movie, this is not it. But to dismiss it just like that would mean you are missing out on a great movie. You can constantly feel Sei’s sadness about losing her best friend (yes, “best friend”) but at the same time, you are constantly smiling during the flashbacks of their friendship (yes, “friendship”) and hoping for happiness. As she has already passed away, you know from the start you are not going to get a happy ending but you are curious about how they met and what they meant to each other. Oh, and if you are curious about what happens in massage parlors, this movie might enlighten you.

Love intertwines at the wrong time. The past almost feels like a foreign country in Tracy Choi’s female-oriented melodrama, which juxtaposes the regrets over a lost lesbian romance with the alienation of a former Macau native as she returns to what is now a glamorous gambling capital. Great acting performances drive this award-winning film.

Tip 6: Hello Again

Yay, I loved this musical! If you are looking for a strictly lesbian movie, I urge you to broaden your mind and include this movie in your plans. This masterpiece is extremely well done. There are ten protagonists who all have two love stories. Or, should I say sex stories? The best thing is, they are all set in different eras and when they subtly change storylines, they still refer back to their old character with a line or two.

When the movie started, there was an insensitive sex scene that made me question whether I was going to like this movie but I am so glad I kept watching. The sex/love interest of the protagonist is the protagonist in the next sex/love story. The whole LGBTQ spectrum is incorporated into the stories. I especially loved seeing Jenna Ushkowitz and Tyler Blackburn in completely different roles from what they did in Glee and PLL.

Loosely based on the 1897 play “La Ronde”, this dazzling and sexy musical celebrates love, regardless of gender. Ten very New York encounters, each set in appropriate time and music styles. With the best of Broadway performers, the seemingly disconnected stories reveal their unifying factor – the human desire to love and be loved.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 7: Chavela

I had the pleasure of watching Chavela during IDFA’s Queer Day. Like I said in that blog, the movie immediately teaches you about her music. This builds the foundation of your documentary experience.

It slowly follows her life. It focuses on her songs, being nervous before performing, her flirting skills to alcoholism, being allowed to be a lesbian on stage but not in real life, and the lack of support from her family from an early age on.

You find out that she has a beautiful side and a dark side. The end of the movie, you grieve her death as if you have known her personally. The fact that you can become so emotionally attached to someone in a documentary means the creators have done a great job.

Tip 8: Mr. Gay Syria

You are right. Mr. Gay Syria is not a lesbian movie. Still, I want you to see it or at least know about it. I also had the pleasure of watching this documentary during IDFA’s Queer Day and it made a big impact on me. You are constantly hoping for Husein and his friends to get a break and be granted a visa. You are also left wondering about their culture. Even though they speak of it so lovingly, you never get to see the beauty of Syria. The despair is real. You cannot help but wonder what you would do had you been in the same situation.

So many options at the Roze Filmdagen!

These are my movie tips for the 2018 Roze Filmdagen. Still, there are so many movies, documentaries, and shorts that I still want to see. Also, there will be a screening of the winners of the 48 Hours Project. The project had an LGTBQ theme this year. So, the movies match the program of the 2018 Roze Filmdagen perfectly.

Want to stay in Amsterdam?

If you want to stay in Amsterdam for the 2018 Roze Filmdagen from March 8-18, I have found you some hotels on Booking.com.

5 LGBT movies to see at the 2018 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR)

5 LGBT movies to see at IFFR 2018

The 47th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) takes places from Wednesday, January 24 to Sunday, February 4. Unlike IDFA, there is no special Queer Day but IFFR 2018 does offer a selection of LGBT+ themed movies. I was allowed to watch previews of those movies, so I can tell you all about them!

I have ranked the 5 LGBT movies from my favorite one to my least favorite one so you can decide whether you want to follow my recommendations or not. If you click on the title of the movie, you will be redirected to the IFFR 2018 page with screening info.

I have also included a vlog, so you can watch me highlight the LGBT movies there as well. As I have just started vlogging on Dailymotion, I could really use your help. Will you subscribe to my channel and like or share my video?

‘5 LGBT movies to see at IFFR 2018’ IFFR 2018 takes places from January 24 to February 4. It offers a selection of LGBT+ themed movies. I have seen previews of those movies, so I can tell you all about them! I have ranked the 5 LGBT movies from favorite to least favorite, so you can decide whether you want to follow my recommendations. Find them here: http://bit.ly/IFFR2018

5 LGBT movies at IFFR 2018

These are the 5 LGBT movies at IFFR 2018:

1.      Those Long-Haired Nights

Philippines – 2017 – Gerardo Calagui – 72 min.

Synopsis: In this unflinching yet open-hearted portrait of prostitution, we follow the transgender women Tuesday, Amanda and Barbie, sex workers and friends, through Burgos, the red-light district in Manila. Tuesday has an encounter with a rough client who she fears might not accept her. Amanda returns to her province to attend the christening of her ex-girlfriend’s son. Barbie finds herself deeply entangled in the precarious world of drug dealing.

While the risks that come with their job are on full display, the film’s inclusiveness and affection for its characters leave us with warmth. Calmly gliding through bustling neon-lit streets, cinematographer Bradley Liew’s camera exudes a confidence that matches the attentive focus in Gerardo Calagui’s direction. In the film’s rejection of stereotypes, the three women take varying approaches to their work and identity, but most importantly, they accept one another first and foremost as friends.

Review: This movie was definitely my favorite one and the only movie that I wished lasted longer. I loved how you closely follow the three women in a row while you still see them meet each other every now and then. You start to feel a bond with them (and feel sorry for them at times). After the movie, I really felt like I wanted to know more about their lives. Go see for yourself!

2.      Nina

Poland – 2018 – Olga Chajdas – 130 min.

Synopsis: After twenty years, Nina’s marriage to Wojtek is going nowhere, partly because of their failed attempts to have children. When they meet a young woman, Magda, they decide to propose that she become a surrogate mother for their child. But things get more complicated when Nina suddenly feels attracted to Magda.

This accomplished debut paints a sensitive portrait of a strong yet confused woman trapped in her role as wife and daughter. The energetic, apparently carefree Magda breaks open her world. The camera stays close to the three protagonists, almost without the use of establishing shots, creating a sensorial, highly vibrating atmosphere. But there is one location that plays a crucial role: Natalia Bażowska’s artwork Birth Place, which represents a womb you can lie in and serves for the characters as their only shelter, where their love, freedom and identities are not bound by any conventions.

Review: The first hour, I had a really hard time liking Nina. She is so distant and awkward that I constantly wondered why Wojtek is so crazy about her. I instantly liked Magda though, who you will get to know (and fear) as a player and party girl. For me, the turning point in the movie is when Magda comes to Nina and Wojtek’s home as that is when Nina starts to become less distant. I will not give away too much but the plot twists after that make you want to watch everything, even though I think the movie could have been a little shorter. I definitely recommend this movie!

3.      Soldiers. Story from Ferentari

Romania, Serbia, Belgium – 2017 – Ivana Mladenovic – 119 min.

Synopsis: Ferentari is a run-down neighborhood in Bucharest largely inhabited by Roma. “The closest to a ghetto you can get in contemporary Romania,” according to director Ivana Mladenovic. This is where she sets her fiction feature debut, a modern Romeo and Julio. Ferentari is not somewhere you would expect to find an introverted academic like 40-year-old Adi. The anthropologist comes to the area soon after being dumped to study the Roma pop music, manele. Adi needs help navigating this shady, often mob-related, world and finds this in kind-hearted criminal Alberto.

As do many contemporary Romanian filmmakers, this originally Serb director plays an intriguing game with fact and fiction in her film, which is populated by amateur actors from Ferentari. Soldiers. Story from Ferentari is based on the eponymous, semi-autobiographical book by Adrian Schiop, who also plays the lead in this loose adaptation.

Review: I thought this was a highly interesting setting as it gives you a peek into Roma life (or misery). I did sometimes feel the movie was slow. However, after a few days of watching this movie, I found myself questioning at times whether Alberto’s love was real or merely a survival strategy. We can probably all agree that this movie has an impact on you.

4.      Swedish Candy, Some Violence and a Bit of Cat

Sweden – 2018 – Ester Martin Bergsmark – 45 min.

Synopsis: Gelatin is of animal origin, odorless and, when liquid, can be molded into almost any imaginable shape. Swedish Candy, Some Violence and a Bit of Cat is also fluid: a sugary clash between violence and love, old and new, Tarzan and Jane. Above all, incitement to transgress the boundaries between all these binaries.

Review: If this synopsis is already hard for you to understand, you will be left dumbfounded by this 45-minute-movie. I asked myself what the hell I just watched. At one point, you feel like sympathy vomiting with one of the two protagonists. If absurd movies are your thing, this is your go-to movie.

5.      Les Garçons Sauvages

France – 2017 – Bertrand Mandico – 110 min.

Synopsis: The boys are unleashed. In the early 1900s, five teenagers from rich families are sent on a repressive cruise after murdering their teacher. Led by a violent captain, they arrive on a strange island with luxuriant, supernatural vegetation. As the song says, “a change is gonna come.”

In his first feature, Bertrand Mandico deepens the universe of his award-winning shorts: cinema as something organic, only-shot-on-film, where bodies are shrouded by highly-stylized, sexy, and wild visuals. A world of literal (bodily) and metaphorical fluids. The Wild Boys manages the crazy feat of merging such disparate influences and genres as Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kenneth Anger, 80’s New Wave, Joseph Von Sternberg and Wakamatsu Koji in a gorgeous (mostly) black-and-white feast of magical visions. With the strength of poetry rather than speeches, the film pleads for a fluid sexual identity to free ourselves.

Review: I will be honest with you: I have not watched this movie. After reading the synopsis and watching the trailer, I did not feel inclined to watch it. The movie is simply not for me. Still, I am sure it will draw a crowd.

Want to stay in Rotterdam for IFFR 2018?

I hope my information has inspired you to go see the movies yourself. If you want to spend one or more nights in Rotterdam because you want to watch several movies, take masterclasses or visit a number of events, you can find hotels in Rotterdam at Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia or Tripadvisor.

IDFA 2017: 5 Diverse Documentaries on Queer Day

IDFA 2017: 5 Diverse Documentaries on Queer Day

On November 20, the fifth Queer Day was held at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in the beautiful building of EYE film museum. On this day, we were shown five premieres of LGBTQ+ documentaries, some of which were followed by debates with filmmakers, protagonists, and experts. I was there and so I can tell you all about it. A vlog is included if that is more your cup of tea.

‘IDFA 2017: 5 Diverse Documentaries on Queer Day’ On November 20, the fifth Queer Day was held at IDFA. On this day, we were shown five premieres of LGBTQ+ documentaries, some of which were followed by debates with filmmakers, protagonists, and experts. I was there and so I can tell you all about it. A vlog is included if that is more your cup of tea. Read it here: http://bit.ly/QueerDay

Chavela

Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi – United States – 2017

Short synopsis: Singer Chavela Vargas (1919-2012) was born in Costa Rica, but at 14, she left for Mexico to perform in elegant clubs. “When I dressed like a woman, I just looked like a transvestite,” so she decided to comb her hair back and to wear pants and a poncho — a look considered outrageous in the 1930s. Although she did not come out as a lesbian until the age of 81, her sexual orientation was a public secret

"‘5

·         Review Chavela

What a great start of Queer Day. I am going to be honest and say that I had never heard of Chavela before, which some of you may find unbelievable. The movie immediately teaches you about her music, building the foundation of your documentary experience.

After that, it slowly follows her life, touching upon various subjects, ranging from her songs, being nervous before performing, and her flirting skills to alcoholism, being allowed to be a lesbian on stage but not in real life, and the lack of support from her family from an early age on.

You find out that she has a beautiful side and a dark side and at the end of the movie, you grieve her death as if you have known her personally. The fact that you can become so emotionally attached to someone in a documentary means the creators have done a great job.

Queerama

Daisy Asquith – United Kingdom – 2017

Short synopsis: composed entirely of excerpts from BFI’s archive, Queerama tells the extraordinary story of the development of attitudes towards homosexuality in the UK. It shows British legislation on homosexuality but focuses on the fears, longings, relationships, and oppression of gay men and women, and how they have been portrayed in film and on TV. All this is supported by a luscious soundtrack with music by John Grant, Goldfrapp, and Hercules & Love Affair.

·         Review Queerama

What a celebration of queer life! The challenge that this documentary faces is that there is not one person that you follow and to whom you become emotionally attached. How can one then tell a story with a big pile of unrelated pieces of footage?

Well, both UK legislation and the soundtrack bring everything together. What is cleverly done is that the creators have edited unrelated pieces of footage in such a way that the people in it seem to communicate or be in the same surroundings. Simply because you are traveling in time almost seamlessly, I sometimes wondered: “Wait, what era was this in?”

"‘5

What I particularly liked was the interviewer from the sixties (or somewhere around that era, sorry I don’t know the exact moment) who simply asked gay men and lesbian women brutally honest questions. He referred to heterosexuals as normal people and he asked questions like: “What do lesbians do?” or “Are you attracted to your students?” One could hate him for it but I was surprised that in the context of his era, he was not afraid to ask those questions. After all, most people ignored the subject completely or thought it was a disease. These interviews are a small time capsule opened.

This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

Barbara Kopple – United States – 2017

Short synopsis: Gigi Gorgeous started a vlog at the age of fourteen when she was still Gregory Lazzarato. In her transition from Gregory to Gigi, the camera is her therapist and YouTube is her diary. She likes to boost people’s confidence by showing them how it is possible to be yourself.

·         Review This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

The many layers this documentary had was what I liked about it. It really tells several stories, some of which you may find hit home. I mean, I am not transgender, but I recognized the process of coming to terms with who you are and figuring out how you want to express yourself.

On another level, the impact you can have with posting videos was interesting. At this event, I was filming my first vlog. Let me tell you: it is scary as hell. Gigi even had to become comfortable with herself as a transgender woman in front of the camera. Those videos mean so much to so many people. In a way, I knew the impact such videos can have but at the same time, I did not. Does that make sense?

"‘5

Mr. Gay Syria

Ayse Toprak – France, Turkey, Germany – 2017

Short synopsis: Twenty-four-year-old Husein is from Syria. As an LGBT refugee stuck in a straight marriage, he waits in Istanbul for possible placement in Europe. He must hide his sexual orientation from his conservative family. He can be himself with his friends in Istanbul’s tight-knit gay community. To bring attention to homosexuality among Syrians, he decides to compete in the Mr. Gay Syria and Mr. Gay World competitions.

Mr. Gay Syria @ Queer Day

·         Review: Mr. Gay Syria

Wow, this was definitely the saddest documentary of the day. You are constantly hoping for him and his friends to get a break and be granted a visa. You are also left wondering about their culture. Even though they speak of it so lovingly, you never get to see the beauty of Syria. The despair is real, though. You cannot help but wonder what you would do had you been in the same situation.

Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco

James Crump – United States – 2017

Short synopsis: Antonio Lopez is considered the most influential fashion illustrator of the last century. This hypnotic collage is a tribute to the life and work of this highly energetic artist. His work was always groundbreaking; one example is that Lopez was among the first to draw black models.

I had to go home after Mr. Gay Syria, so I cannot tell you anything about the experience of watching this documentary. You will have to see it for yourself!

A day after Queer Day: afterthoughts

At the moment of writing this blog, it is the day after Queer Day. That makes it an interesting day to see what has stuck with me. First of all, I am impressed by all the different stories I have seen. IDFA has done a great job selecting an inclusive program with the restriction of only five documentaries. The four that I watched have all given me different feelings. I like it! So, you can see this as virtual applause to IDFA.

·         Relevant

Secondly, I was able to watch two discussions: one after Queerama and one after Mr. Gay Syria. Daisy Asquith, director of Queerama, told us that she was leaving for Russia the day after Queer Day. She was going to show Queerama at a gay film festival there. This particular festival and its organizers are the subject of many protests, so she was a bit afraid she was going to go to jail. The day before Queer Day, the government in Ankara, Turkey announced that it would ban all gay film festivals from now on. These two examples show you just how relevant a Queer Day or a gay film festival still is to this day.

·         Closure

In addition, I still feel the emotions from watching Mr. Gay Syria. I was happy the director and two of the men followed in the documentary were available for a discussion. The movie ends on a sad note and you long for some type of closure. Seeing that these two men were living a happy life (not together anymore but still close) and hearing that Husein has finally been granted asylum in France made me very emotional and happy. The big question that this movie raises is “What can we do to help?” If you want to know the answer, you should follow their Facebook page because they are coming up with some solutions soon.

Stay updated!

I hope you liked reading this IDFA Queer Day blog and watching my first vlog. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos. My aim is to cover cool LGTBQ+ events. An example is ClexaCon in Las Vegas!

Newer posts

© 2019 Meemoeder.com

webdesign door www.lindavanzomeren.nl