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Archive: Film

SQThe documentary “Sounds Queer” by filmmaker Dan Bal will previewed in conjunction with the Marry Klein event series at the Harry Klein club and the DOK.fest in Munich tonight. The film portrays the three Berlin based DJs Tama Sumo, Resom & Ena Lind and gives insights on their work and everyday live. For more information on the event please visit the clubs’ website or the event’s Facebook page (both in German), for an English summary of the film please check out its Vimeo page.


“The Queen” by director Frank Simon is a documentary about the 1967 New-York Miss All-American Drag Beauty Pageant. The contestants of the competition are drag queens from all over the US, competing in disciplinces like walking, talking, bathing suit, makeup and hairdo. The film is now online on YouTube, a great way to pass the time until tonight’s season 6 premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race.


We’ve already featured artist, activist and filmmaker Carlos Motta here in early 2012 when we posted about his wonderful web-based project “We Who Feel Differently”. His most recent work is the “Nefandus Trilogy”, a series of short films from 2013, which reflect on the way colonialism in South American condemed and punished sexual acts that were seen as “sodomy” based on a Christian moral system. The three films entitled “Nefandus”, “Naufragios” (Shipwreck), and “La visión de los vencidos” (The Defeated) all have a very contemplative approach, combining footage recorded during a trip to the Don Diego river in Northern Colombia and to Lisbon, with spoken text based on historical documents.
Tonight and during the upcoming weekend the triology will be shown the first time as part of the short film program of the Rotterdam Film Festival and after a preview of the films I strongly recommend going there if you have the possibility. There’s no trailer for the whole project, but the festival provides an excerpt from the “Nefandus” short film, which gives a first impression of what this is all about. For more information please check out the artist’s website, the website of the IFFR, where you can also purchase tickets.

startseite“This 90-minutes long documen-tale tells a true story about a most unique friendship, about survival at the edge of society and about the final triumph over mishaps and obstacles that seemed to have one marked for a life in the shadows.

It follows a portion of the lives of 33-year-old Maroccaine-German Mourad and 48-year-old Dutch Antoine, two drag-performers, better known as CYBERSISSY and BAYBJANE, two otherworldly spirits, who light up the stages of the international party-circuit with their boundless creativity and their well calculated freakish-ness.”

In German cinemas since Thursday. For a list of the cinemas check out the film’s website.


“Should I Really Do It” by Berlin based director Ismail Necmi was released in 2008 and has been a success at film festivals around the world in 2009/2010. The film reflects on the life of its main protagonist Petra Woschniak, whose life changes drastically when her twin sister, who lives on the German countryside and is diagnosed with cancer, is not able to take care of herself anymore. Petra quits her flamboyant live style in Istanbul’s fashion scene and moves to a small town in the North of Germany. She reflects about this critical moment in her life in conversations with a pretty unconventional therapist called Herold.

The film, which mixes documentary scenes with reenacted and fictional scenes footage, is not necessarily queer-themed, but deals with the questions that arise when life concepts collide and death as a “hard fact” overwhelms an individual’s life. Since early December you can rent and buy “Should I Really Do It” on Vimeo.


Two exciting Kickstarter projects by New York based production teams. Both have already reached their goals of $30,000/$35,000, but should get our full support to make the best out of the idea:

Pier Kids: The Life
Director: Elegance Bratton

“Documentary about the homeless gay and transgender youth who call the Christopher Street Pier home.”

Kickstarter page

Naz + Maalik
Director: Jay Dockendorf

“Two closeted Muslim teens have their Friday afternoon ruined by FBI surveillance. Support this story of secrecy, trust, and l-o-v-e.”

Kickstarter page


This is a post for one of these evenings where you wanna watch a movie, but have totally no clue which one. The following three films are all available online, even though all of them have been uploaded in a not very great quality. But since they are all really good and not easy to get in videos stores I promise you’ll still enjoy them. Or, you simply order them and support the artists, which is of course the recommended way of doing it. For more information about the movies please check the Wikipedia links below the trailers / teasers. This is where you also find the links to the You Tube streams and to where you can order the films.

Born In Flames
(Lizzy Borden, 1983, 119 min)

Wikipedia / Order via First Run Features  / YouTube stream

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This year’s MIX NYC Experimental Queer Film Festival No 26 will take place between November 12 and 17, and like every year the program is simply amazing – you should really check it out if you live in New York City or happen to be around. We especially recommend the evening of the 13th, a short film night featuring films by queer artists of color: “Afro-Asian Visions: Exploding Lineage II” was curated by the Queer Rebels Productions, a production company from the SF Bay Area, which aims to highlight queer artists of color and their work though films and events. It’s founders, artists KB Boyce and Celeste Chan, have already contributed to last year’s MIX and have again curated a screening that puts the  experimental work by Queer African American and Asian artists into the spotlight, featuring especially contemporary works by artist such as Jeepneys (see video still on top), M. Lamar (who’s new video we just premiered) or Brontez Purnell. For more information about the event please visit the MIX NYC website, I’ve also posted a list of the feature films commented by the curators below.

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I’m super happy to announce this: Catch Fire, NowMomentNow and the Queer Film Archive Berlin (QFAB) are bringing a gem of contemporary queer film and its maker to Berlin: WILDNESS by Los Angeles based artist and filmmaker Wu Tsang is a documentary portrait of the Silver Platter, a bar in city’s MacArthur Park area, which has been home for Latin/LBGT immigrant communities since the early sixties. The movie, which premiered at  MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight and was shown earlier this year at SXSW and the Whitney Biennial, explores what happened when Wu and and DJs NGUZUNGUZU & Total Freedom started a experimental party entitled “Wildness” at the Silver Platter, which brought a new clientele and new cultural impulses to the place.
Like our MOVEMENT! screening event we will show the film at SHIFT Berlin and are very happy that Wu Tsang will join us for the screening and a director’s talk afterwards. Come over, join us un Facebook and feel free to share this with your friends!

Film screening and director’s talk
Saturday, November 2, 21:00
Köpenicker Str. 70, 3 Euro


Mario Montez (born René Rivera), superstar of the New York underground films of Jack Smith, Andy Warhol and many others, passed away recently at the age of 78. In homage to his brilliance, and in recognition of the fact that many of these films are difficult for people to actually access, I reflect here on my favourite Montez performances in Warhol’s films, and honour the superstar’s indelible existential bond to his namesake – and Smith’s divine muse – the Hollywood actress Maria Montez.

Portraying Jean Harlow in Harlot (1964), Hedy Lamarr in Hedy (1965) and himself in Screen Test #2 (1965), Montez gave some of the most beautiful performances in Warhol’s cinema. In these three very different films, all scripted by the late great Ronald Tavel, Montez is the queen of the glamour pose. In Harlot, Warhol’s first talkie (three off-screen narrators wax philosophic), the director defies the norm that a moving picture frame must have actual movement within it. The glamour pose as embodied by Montez can be seen as a stylized gesture of pure presence as if it were in a vacuum, the result of formalizing the “throwaway part” of life, the triumph of affect over language, style over content, mimicry over originality. Montez is clearly the star, dressed in luminous white garb complete with furry wig, flanked by three figures in black, framing him. Ostensibly playing the role of Harlow, the enormously popular blonde and beautiful MGM bad girl, but more accurately distilling the idea of her, Montez vamps it up for the camera while constantly eating and playing with bananas with erotic abandon. Silent and barely moving, Montez seems to be performing the archetypal female star image, which makes her more like a luminous blank slate for our fantasies than an actual personality. Montez/Harlow’s continual consumption parallels our “eating up” of our favorite stars, Warhol’s oral metaphor for fandom. Because Hollywood was such an enormous part of American culture, part of the fabric of American life, showing the overwhelming fascination of these images was a way of coming to terms with what it meant to be an American in one way, but always also the Other, for a male’s overly emphatic obsession identification with female star glamour is decidedly shameful, queer, and forbidden.


Mario Montez with Andy Warhol

Employing dramatic movie music on the soundtrack, Warhol’s Hedy tells the story of Hedy Lamarr – from plastic surgery to death by intoxication – as minimalist absurdist melodrama, with Montez as Lamarr occasionally bursting into songs such as “I Feel Pretty” and “Kleptomaniac” (sung to the tune of “Young at Heart”). The film opens with artful shots of Lamarr receiving plastic surgery (performed half an inch above her face, no attempts at verisimilitude here) to make her into the most beautiful woman in the world. Then in a different space, illuminated by film noir lighting, we see Lamarr arrested for shoplifting. Throughout the film, Montez plays up the “strong woman” role: Lamarr is always vamping proudly, covering up her emotions with a brave face, and courageously changing outfits in front of us to go to jail. In a satire on melodrama, Warhol presents Lamarr donning white gloves with overly emphatic musical cues and excessively dramatic zooming in and out. In the courtroom scene for her trial, dressed defiantly in formal wear, Lamarr is the center of the camera’s attention as well as the focus of judicial inquiry. The camera moves closer and closer to her muscular, dark-featured face as the music increases in volume. Found guilty – she confesses that “stealing is like life” – she undresses as the wild zooming begins anew and the music reaches a fever pitch. Forced to drink herself to death (?!), she histrionically flails about.  Finally, Jack Smith, playing the bailiff, testifies that Lamarr was “tragic and noble” as the film ends mid-sentence, as was common in Warhol’s films. While the star may command the world’s attention, the cinematic machine waits for no one. Warhol’s reels always run out, leaving the drama unceremoniously unfinished. MORE >>>

Germain (Fabrice Luchini), married to Jeanne (Kristin Scott Thomas), is a high school French teacher who seems to have lost all of his enthusiasm for teaching literature and reading uninspired papers. One day as he is grading papers, he comes across one that clearly stands out from the rest due to its unique style. The paper, written by Claude (Ernst Umhauer), is about the family of one of his classmates named Raphael (Bastien Ughetto), and about what happens in Raphael’s house. Labeled “chapter 1”, the paper becomes the beginning of something dangerous for all involved, but particularly for Germain.

From storytelling to the relation between literature and cinema, from middle class family criticism through coming of age story to inter-genre juggling – In The House attempts to achieve much at once; and it pulls it all off but, more importantly, it distinguishes itself with what it says about the act of watching/peeping and, at the same time, it offers the audience some food for thought. Especially Claude’s growing curiosity about the Artole family and their house creates a vortex around watching/identifying by juxtaposing Germain’s obsession with Claude’s story, and this vortex, overflowing from the screen, absorbs and carries away the audience. As Germain and Jeanne talk about Claude and the second chapter of his story, it is obvious that Germain has already been impressed by Claude. And the similarity between Claude and Germain is quite predictable: Germain, as a student, always sat in the last row just as Claude does. As he explains it: You can see everyone while nobody can see you. Germain also intends to watch the Artole family from this position. However, as the film proceeds he has to leave this position and participate.

Watching from the last row, where the gaze does not return to the viewer, is like a meditation when one loses the sense of self, just like when watching a movie. You are somehow there but do not reflect back from the screen. In the theatre, when it darkens and the movie begins, there is the thing that you are watching and there is you who transcends your body. Christian Metz labels this state ‘primary cinematic identification’, described as follows: the spectator identifies with himself, with himself as a pure act of perception (as wakefulness, alertness): as the condition of possibility of the perceived and hence as a kind of transcendental subject, which comes before every there is. (1)
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I’ve just recently discovert the books of Moroccan writer Abdellah Taïa and totally fell in love with his novel Le jour du roi (“The day of the king”), one of 7 books he has released so far. Taïa grew up in Salé in the North of Morocco and has studied French literature in Rabat. In the Ninties he moved to Europe, first for an exchange semester in Geneva, then to study at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he still lives. His childhood and youth were the subject of his autobiographical coming-of-age novel Salvation Army, which especially focusses on the writer’s experiences as an adolescent queer man with a working-class background in his home-country and his struggles with his identity in Geneva.
In late July, Taïa has announced on his Facebook page that a film adaptation of the book will be released soon. In the last few days more details about the production were announced – and it turns out, that Salvation Army was not only adapted for the screen by the writer, but also that Taïa has directed it. The film will premiere at the Venice International Film Critics’ Week on September 3 as well as at the Toronto International Film Festival (tiff), where it will be screen three times between September 10 and 14. Below you find a first promising teaser excerpt from the film, you also find an interview with Taïa in French about the film on the website of the Moroccan news portal H24info. We will keep you posted about official release dates.

Picture on top from Abdellah Taïa’s Facebook page.