Camp, drama, performance-as-community, sex work, indigenous struggles, drag (kings!), internet romance, feminist politics (and affect history!) join romance and break-ups in this capsule of must-sees that I want to share with VUCAVUers for the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia and #EntreVU. Every May 17, organisations and communities around the world recognize this day as a moment time to highlight the ongoing struggles that queer people face in a world that seemed so hell-bent on our annihilation for so long. We are living an era of stark contrasts between expanded rights and freedoms for queer and trans people - in Canada, the EU, Nepal, and parts of Latin America - while massive setbacks have occurred in the countries that brought us Sergei Eistenstein (Russia criminalizes all public expressions of homosexuality under Putin, a set-back to Czarist times) and John Waters (in the USA, queer organizations are fighting tooth and nail against right-wing religious extremists who see a threat to their society in a trans person’s need to use the bathroom, or defend herself against racist assaults).
Aesthetically wedged between Eurocentric art traditions and the American commercial giant, Canadian queer filmmakers have had the benefit of now 48 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality and 60 years of federal arts funding (with the Canada Council for Arts, that phenomenal behemoth that contributes more to Canadian culture than our American cousins get from their now-endangered National Endowment for the Arts spread out to 10 times the population, just saying).
Two other great formal modes characterize the Canadian queer film wedgie: the lust to make a Commercially Successful Narrative Feature (Big Fictions) and the need to show our truth in experimental shorts where form and content can get married (Little Truths). Between Big Fictions (society, money, romance, utopia/sex) and Little Truths (subjectivity, precarity, loneliness, sex/dreams) lies that great Canuck tradition of the Documentary Feature, a mode where we have always and continue to excel. Sophie Deraspe’s "The Amina Profile" from Les Films du 3 mars (F3M) is at once the perfect iteration and brilliant détournement of this Third Way (lez call it Big Truths with Little Fictions inside) as she tells the incredible story of a lesbian Montrealer who fell in love with someone she thought was a Syrian lesbian blogger, only to be met with a maelstrom of post-modern disappointments that are stranger than any fiction, big or small. I wanna know what love is, I want you to show me, BUT love is a battlefield, and in the end we may all end up single ladies.
Every May 17, organisations and communities around the world recognize this day as a moment time to highlight the ongoing struggles that queer people face in a world that seemed so hell-bent on our annihilation for so long.