Queer Cinema(s)

Peter Fleischmann – Jagdszenen aus Niederbayern AKA Hunting Scenes from Bavaria (1969)

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Of all the new crop of films by new German directors, this first film by Peter Fleischmann has attracted the most attention, and is based upon a prizewinning play by 25-year-old Martin Sperr. Hunting Scenes from Bavaria is a contemporary political play, which, in its broadest viewpoint, is an examination of the social order and its morals. It is set in Lower Bavaria, not because that particular locale is the source of the actions taking place in the film, but because the overall pattern of behavior in German village life was the best way to illustrate a certain sociological process: the hunting or persecution of human beings who, because of certain peculiarities, are living outside of the social order. Read More »

Françoise Prenant – Paradis perdu (1975)

A 1975 French language short film written and directed by Franssou Prenant, starring Hélène Hazéra, Marie-France and René Schérer.

Young transgender women turn the streets of Paris into their cabaret. Their dreams are quickly overtaken by reality. Read More »

Oliver Hermanus – Moffie (2019)

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Nicholas has long known he is different, that there is something shameful and unacceptable in him that must stay hidden, denied even. But South Africa’s minority government are embroiled in conflict at the Angolian border and all white young men over 16 must serve two years of compulsory military service to defend the Apartheid regime and its culture of toxic racist machismo. The ‘black danger’ is the real and present threat; what is wrong with Nicholas and others like him can be rooted out, treated and cured like a cancer. But just when fear pushes Nicholas to accept unspeakable horrors in the hopes of staying invisible, a tender relationship with another recruit becomes as dangerous for them both as any enemy fire. Read More »

Masahiro Kobayashi – Closing Time (1996)

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Kobayashi’s directorial debut tells the story of a writer who leads a life of blissful self-annihilation, drinking away his sorrow. As the protagonist wanders the streets of Tokyo at night grieving his wife and child, he encounters all kinds of lost souls. An attractive homeless woman who shares his lust for cinema, sleeps with him and disappears without a word. A young man who is gay and dying of AIDS. These encounters are sad, painful or tender but they all have one thing in common – they are searching for love, just like him. Read More »

Jean-Claude Brisseau – À l’aventure (2009)

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In cinematic enfant terrible Jean-Claude Brisseau’s latest outing, “A l’aventure,” the explicit eroticism of his recent oeuvre topples over into outright porn — not because of graphic sex scenes, but rather due to a plot of unalloyed ludicrousness. Granted, levitating 14th-century Flemish nuns rep an inventive step up from randy milkmen, but Brisseau’s humorless intellectual pretentions founder in very shallow waters. Skedded for an April 1 release in France, pic was pre-bought by IFC Stateside, where its Playboy-ish presentation of elegantly writhing naked women brought to ultimate orgasm, combined with disquisitions on the more cosmological Big Bang Theory, might attract horny eggheads. Read More »

Gregg Araki – Totally F***ed Up (1993)

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Six queer teenagers struggle to get along with each other and with life in the face of varying obstacles.

Fernando F. Croce wrote:
Gregg Araki once described Totally F***ed Up, his follow-up to the 1992 New Queer Cinema staple The Living End, as a “rag-tag story of fag-and-dyke teen underground…a kind of cross between avant-garde experimental cinema and a queer John Hughes flick.” The statement attests not only to Araki’s committed radicalism, but also to his sense of how the politics of pop culture play to alienated youth. He probably loved a rave from a San Francisco paper hailing the film as “a ‘90s version of The Breakfast Club.” Read More »

Ulrike Ottinger – Dorian Gray im Spiegel der Boulevardpresse AKA The Image of Dorian Gray in the Yellow Press (1984)

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From the panoramic, historical revue of the many faces of social prejudice and ostracism, Ottinger turns her attention to the mechanism of exclusion invested with the necessary power to make or break people. Frau Dr. Mabuse, whose illustrious precursor is Fritz Lang’s psychopathic, counterfeiting boss of the underworld, derives her power from the fabrication of reality based on the seduction of images and words. Her perfect object and victim is the Bauhaus-dandy Dorian, whose relation to Oscar Wilde’s prototype is as marginal as his relation to power. The fairy-tale framework of Ottinger’s feature compositions asserts itself strongly in this film as Dorian replaces the evil tycoon and becomes king of the media conglomerate. Read More »