Tag: LGBTQ movies (page 1 of 2)

Popping the Question: Short Film Created to Make You Feel Good

There are a million ways to ask that question. “Will you marry me?” You can go as big or as small as you want to. How often have you seen a woman proposing to a woman on television? You can probably think of a few rare gems. But rare gems aren’t enough. Popping the Question is here to bring you another sweet love story later in life.

‘Popping the Question: Short Film Created to Make You Feel Good.’ How often have you seen a woman proposing to a woman on television? Rare gems aren’t enough. Popping the Question is here to bring you another sweet love story later in life: http://bit.ly/PoppingTheQuestionFilm

Happy endings and normal lives

This is not the first queer short film Shawna Khorasani has given us. Simply check out her YouTube channel for her work. She wrote Popping the Question to bring much-needed positive representation to LGBTQ+ stories. Shawna agrees that rare gems aren’t enough: “We have a long way to go. Some recent movies with LGBTQ characters still feature drama, tragedy, forbidden love, coming out storylines, or unhappy endings. What kind of message does that send to queer women? They deserve happy endings and normal lives. With this film, I hope to help improve mainstream LGBTQ+ media representation.”

Surprises of Popping the Question

Popping the Question is a 7-minute delight filled with love, excitement, and surprises. Nina, a writer, has a dinner planned for her girlfriend Lizzie on Valentine’s Day. In a creative and intimate way, Nina proposes to Lizzie. However, Lizzie has some big news of her own.

‘Popping the Question: Short Film Created to Make You Feel Good.’ How often have you seen a woman proposing to a woman on television? Rare gems aren’t enough. Popping the Question is here to bring you another sweet love story later in life: http://bit.ly/PoppingTheQuestionFilm

Voice breaking

The most exciting part to watch for me was the moment Nina proposed. Her voice breaking slightly with nerves when asking the question. Having been the person being proposed to, I’m so happy I never had to experience those nerves.

The big news seemed a little unrealistic to me as we usually discuss those things beforehand in my household. But hey, not everybody is like us 😉

Popping the Question meets its goal

If Shawna intended to create normal lives with her short film, she succeeded. Just seeing yourself represented on screen and watching these characters go through a monumental moment in their lives together without the whole ‘look at them being gay’ part gives you a much-needed break from what you can see on your screen every day.

Popping the Question left me with a happy feeling. Isn’t that simply what we want with short films from our community? All in all, I’m glad I helped make this movie happen through Indiegogo. And it was fun seeing some familiar names in the credits!

Where can you watch Popping the Question?

June 18th is the release date. You can watch it on Lesflicks, Reel Women’s Network, and Fearless.

Want to read more reviews of queer movies?

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


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.


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?!


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.

Good Kisser: The New Sexy Lesbian Movie You Didn’t Know You Needed

Good Kisser: The New Sexy Lesbian Movie You Didn’t Know You Needed

Good Kisser is a new lesbian movie that I have been dying to watch since I discovered it on social media a few months ago. All I knew was the plotline: “Jenna agrees to a sexy weekend fling with materialistic girlfriend Kate and the worldly Mia. As the night unfolds, Jenna realizes she’s bitten off more than she can chew, and the love triangle begins to crack.”

In this blog post, I describe why this movie started to intrigue me a few months ago and how I feel after watching Good Kisser. This way, you know exactly how quickly you should go and watch it. I have also recorded a video if that is more your cup of tea. You can find it below this image (don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!)

‘Good Kisser: The New Sexy Lesbian Movie You Didn’t Know You Needed’ Good Kisser is a new lesbian movie that I have been dying to watch since I discovered it on social media a few months ago. All I knew was the plotline. In this blog post, I describe why this movie started to intrigue me a few months ago and how I feel after watching it. This way, you know exactly how quickly you should go and watch it: http://bit.ly/GoodKisserMovie

Why the idea of Good Kisser was intriguing to me

The first thing I want to mention is the fact that this movie centers around lesbian sex lives. I find that refreshing because I clearly remember the time when we had to settle for a kiss. Or there would merely be a glance. I do always get scared when productions take this route because so often, sexy f/f scenes are directed for the male gaze. So, will these scenes actually be sexy for us? Given the fact that Wendy Jo Carlton is the writer and director of this movie, I trusted things would be fine sexy.

The second thing that intrigued me is that the feature film, in large part, focuses on three people in a timeframe of one night. To me, that gave the movie a bit of a theatrical vibe, focusing on characters and their development rather than on action. I like diving into characters, so that is what made me even more enthusiastic.

As you can probably tell, I was really excited when I received a screener.

The first thing I liked about Good Kisser: the quality of production

I do not know if it is because this production had a decent amount of funding or because most of it was shot at one location (well, it seems that way; they may have fooled me 😉) but the quality is really good. Sometimes when you watch an indie movie, you can immediately list a few things that could have gone better had the production had more money. The drone shots with which the movie starts, the lighting, everything just seems to be really well done.

The second thing I liked: the cast

I cannot talk about Good Kisser without talking about the cast. If your movie focuses on three people in a timeframe of one night, the cast can make or break the movie. If the actors are not interesting to watch or if there is absolutely no chemistry between them when they have to portray people in love or lust, the movie is doomed.

Fortunately, Kari Alison Hodge, Rachel Paulson, and Julia Eringer were cast as Jenna, Kate, and Mia. When watching, you want to pay close attention to every single actor. Oh, and that chemistry? Don’t worry about it…

The two supporting roles are needed to further the development of the story. Those actors (Courtney McCullough and Carter Rodriquez) obviously contribute to the movie in their own charming ways.

The third thing I liked about Good Kisser: the lines

I think it was within three minutes that my wife and I looked at each other like: “What?!” Within about ten minutes, I must have alternated ‘Jesus’ with ‘oh my god’ and ‘WTF?’ at least twenty times. I guess you could say I was hooked from the beginning. I wish I had been a fly on the wall that first table reading. You will have some feelings about the comments that Kate makes.

The fourth thing I liked: the soundtrack

Another worthy mention is the music in this movie. The songs match the scenes perfectly. I usually don’t need the soundtrack to a movie but this is something I could listen to more often!

The fifth thing I liked about Good Kisser: the sexy scenes

I don’t think you can review this movie without mentioning the sexy scenes. Remember that fear I had of them not being good? Eh, yeah, not necessary. Are they sexy? Yup.

Where can you watch Good Kisser?

Good Kisser, shot in Seattle, will have its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, which runs May 16 – June 9, 2019. Other dates/film festivals will be announced on their website and social media pages, so make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Who knows, you might find out when you will be able to purchase the movie yourself.

In a few weeks, I will show you the interview I had with Kari Alison, Rachel, and Julia at ClexaCon. Have you read my first ClexaCon interview? It was with Julia and Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera, who work together in Girls Like Magic.


I Can’t Think Straight Visits ClexaCon London

I Can’t Think Straight Visits ClexaCon London

In November, Sheetal Sheth (actor), Shamim Sarif (director), and Hanan Kattan (producer) visited ClexaCon London to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of their movie I Can’t Think Straight. Fortunately, they also came to the press room. We were able to ask them some questions about their movies I Can’t Think Straight and The World Unseen, about queer roles, and about future projects. Not the entire fifteen-minute interview is written down below. So, if you want to know more, please watch the video below this image.

‘I Can’t Think Straight Visits ClexaCon London’ In November, Sheetal Sheth, Shamim Sarif, and Hanan Kattan visited ClexaCon London to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of their movie I Can’t Think Straight. Fortunately, they also came to the press room, so we could ask them some questions about their movies I Can’t Think Straight and The World Unseen, about queer roles, and about future projects. You can find the interview here: http://bit.ly/CantThinkStraight

If you had unlimited time and budget, what would you change about I Can’t Think Straight if anything?

Shamim: The changes would be subtle: the shot making, the editing, some of the direction. I think that is just part of evolving as an artist. I think you would feel that for a song you have written ten years ago or a novel. So, what I tried to do at the end of that screening [ClexaCon held an anniversary screening of the movie on Friday] was think: “Wow, look at the impact it is having. People get the core of it.” So, I should not be pernickety whether a steady cam would have been nice here or there. But I think it is just having more tools […], that would be fun to experiment with.

Hanan: And very expensive [laughs].

Shamim: And very expensive. And often I think time is a pressure for movies. With a bit more time, actors would be able to explore their characters more, there would be more ideas, and we would have been able to shoot scenes that were supposed to be in the film but never made it. That would be great. I think it is time that would be more of a luxury.

More time and money

Sheetal: I think it is the same. For more time, you need more money, so that is usually why you do not have a lot of time. For an actor, it is really about having the space to do your work and generally, in smaller movies, you do not have that much, you know. You have to deliver the moment you get there because of time. I am very proud of the film but of course, if we had more time, we could have maybe expounded something else or explored something else or maybe done a cool shot from a different angle. You know, you can spend a day on a scene, which a lot of movies are afforded to do and you can really find so much in that.

On the other hand, there is also something really organic and spontaneous that happens in an environment of small films. I have done so many independent films. If you have the right people involved and the right kind of hearts involved, and everybody knows what to expect when they go there and do not get caught up on the fact that you do not have that stuff, you can really create in a different space, which is also very exciting.

Pre-sale distribution

Hanan: For me, besides the money factor and time, is to have some pre-sale distribution in place, because it guarantees a wider release. For that to happen, people need to know they can invest the money and know that there is a bigger release. But if you are a first-time or second-time movie, that is not that easy.

As queer women, what are your feelings on the importance of having queer actors portraying queer characters?

Shamim: It is actually something that has come up more recently for me as we cast our next film Polarized. It gives queer women more opportunity. I think there are two things. Here has been such a taboo in Hollywood for women to come out because it feels it is killing their career as a heterosexual portrayal. So, I think it is nice to share the other side of that. That you can have queer women play queer characters.

At the same time, I do not think it should be a limitation. In the same way that I do not think queer women should not play heterosexual characters. On a practical level, sales and distribution, sometimes people want a name. If the only name you can think of is Kristen Stewart and she is busy that moment, there are probably not enough queer actors with enough profile to pre-finance a movie. That is another consideration that people do not want to talk about but it is a reality of making film.

Hanan: Whoever suits the role the most. I think it is limiting. It is really the person, do they fit, the chemistry there, can they do it and do it with justice? For me, it is irrelevant as long as they portray the character well.


Sheetal [not queer]: I think it is a very tricky thing. First of all, I think the labeling of an actress in any way is the problem. You are not a queer actress: you are an actress who in your personal life is gay. To me, your sexuality should be irrelevant in the sense that you are in your workspace.

But I totally understand the idea that if that somehow has become something you are labeled with, and you are not able to get jobs as a heterosexual person in a movie… This whole conversation is like… But this is the world we live in, right? If it is a problem, then, of course, you should be able to have the roles that are written for someone who is gay.

But to me, as an actress, I am not interested in playing myself. It is about stretching. There is no point in being an actress if you are only going to do the same thing over and over again. But I do think, as a producer and a content creator, you should just be open to hiring people of all backgrounds, making sure there is a seat at the table for everybody, whatever that may mean. But I do not think that can be the only factor; I think it is a more holistic way of making movies.

What does it mean to you personally and to your career to be at an event like ClexaCon London?

Sheetal: It is so exciting. I still cannot believe I Can’t Think Straight has been ten years. Obviously, The World Unseen as well. I could never have imagined the impact that these movies have had on so many. You hope for that. You know, you hope that when you make art, that impacts somebody at some point other than yourself. I think to be invited and welcomed in this way is really sweet and lovely.

The things that I am hearing from meeting everybody and also being able to meet fans that have been messaging and tweeting me and then finally being able to put a face to a name has been really exciting. And then also hearing what it is. What is the story? Hearing in person what the story is and what it has done and why.

Happy ending I Can’t Think Straight

Sheetal: What I keep hearing about I Can’t Think Straight is the happy ending, which I did not realize, is so rare in stories having to do with two women. I am like: “Is that true?” And they are like: “Yeah, actually, either someone dies or there are drugs or there is something.” How is that supposed to give anybody hope? I just do not even understand. Honestly, it blew my mind when I kept hearing over and over ‘thank you for this.’ I did not even write the movie. I learn. I am learning a ton. The fact that that seems to be the reality for this type of content is troubling. It is shocking.

She asks Shamim if she knew this. Shamim: I did not actually, but I am terrible…

After I Can’t Think Straight

Hanan: No, it is after I Can’t Think Straight. It is based on us really [points to Shamim, her wife], some fiction. So, it is amazing how it has affected women. Many women have come out as a result of this film in particular.

Sheetal: The coming-out scene. Word for word, people will quote me. They say: “This is what I said too.” I am like: “Oh my Gosh, you did?”

Hanan: Yes. A lot of women have felt more comfortable in their skin. Maybe some have not come out still but they feel better about themselves. That it is okay to have such feelings or to go through this and to come out. So, coming to events like this is very important to continue with spreading the message and reaching more people.

Sheetal: And giving it the space and the pedigree that it deserves. You do not want to be in the corner. You absolutely have… Everybody has the right to have their own voice and space heard. And so, for ClexaCon to do that, that is really great for them.

More I Can’t Think Straight

As mentioned, this is not the full interview. You can hear more in my video. Do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and share my videos. That really helps with future trips to LGBT+ cons. This matters because I aim to bring the cons home to people who cannot go to them themselves. It only takes a few seconds to help our beautiful community!

Have not watched I Can’t Think Straight yet? You can find the movie on Amazon or in iTunes.

PS here are my interviews with Kat BarrellNatasha, Elise & AnnieJamie Clayton, Nicole Pacent, Mandahla Rose,  the writer and producer of Different for Girls, and the directors of ClexaCon.

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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