With an eclectic and exciting mix of genres and cultural perspectives, this year’s Brisbane Queer Film Festival offers viewers insight into queer and trans identities, narratives and communities from across Australia and the world.
Now in its 18th year, the following four films represent an unmissable selection of the contemporary queer cinema showcased by Brisbane’s premier film festival. The films we chose are receiving international acclaim while also pushing paradigms of what queerness consists of and where it grows.
In the wake of the cult sensation Paris is Burning, a new generation of black and brown Ballroom dancers once more emerge from the cultural epicentre of New York City.
Collaborating on the film with Kiki queenpin, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö highlights the competitive culture of Voguing, an art form led by historically marginalised performers now mobilised by the Black- and Trans-Lives-Matter movements.
The film is a stand-out performer and provides candid insight into the cultural turning point where queer and trans people of colour are once more carving their political resistance from the dancehalls and onto the streets.
Brazilian directors Filipe Matzembacher & Marcio Reolon showcase a complex coming of age film composed of four smaller episodes. The plot centres around Bruno, who meets a group of queer bohemians while looking for his brother after escaping from the Army.
The movie does a great job of demonstrating the way queer countercultures are forced by the dominant culture to develop underground. The relationships between the characters, who are largely outcast, ruminate on the resilience of queer fraternity and community.
While providing no easy answers to the questions of identity and familial longing the film sets out to find, this absence itself testifies to the lack of resolutions that define many queer and trans experiences.
Receiving rave reviews from film festivals across the world, Real Boy paints the humanizing portrait of Bennett Wallace, a teenage trans boy from rural America.
Filmed over four years, the film documents the evolution of Bennett’s relationship with his mother Suzy, who has deep misgivings about his transition.
While paying heed to the important themes of gender dysphoria and family conflict, the film is truly exceptional for its dimensional portrayal of addiction, healing through music and the importance of mentorship, which Bennett receives from celebrated trans musician, Joe Stevens, who is also fighting his own demons.
Cleverly tracing the sacrifices that all trans people invariably make with transition, Real Boy celebrates the important roles that given and chosen family have in each of our lives.
THE LIVES OF THERESE
As her terminal illness entered its final stages, French feminist activist Thérèse Clerc turned to her friend Sébastien Lifshitz and asked the documentarian to film the last moments of her astounding and politically charged life.
Audience members receive a starkly poignant perspective on a pioneering womanist. Clerc informed multiple iterations of feminist history and only came out to the world as a lesbian after raising four children.
Clerc died exactly three months prior to the film’s first screening in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight sidebar, and there remains a ghostly prescience to the expose that is at once haunting and revelatory.
Screening 18 March, 5pm at the New Farm Cinemas
Find out more about the 2017 Brisbane Queer Film Festival here.
Bobuq Sayed is a non-binary writer, artist and agitator of the Afghan diaspora. They co-edit Archer Magazine and they are the co-founder of the QTPoC activist collective, Colour Tongues. Their work has appeared in Kill Your Darlings, Archer, Vice and the sex-ed zine, Trans sex.
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