Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Dates & Venue August 11 – 21, 2016 | International Village, Vancity Theatre plus other around Vancouver
Reviewer Darren Cordeiro
87 min., Sweden/USA, 2016, Dir. Sara Jordenö
Date and Venue August 21, 2016 | Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street
The documentary explored the lives of seven youths of colour that were part of the Kiki scene, which included a mix of emotional interviews and live scenes that complemented the narrative. It showed the struggles that they are facing in numerous aspects of their lives as queer dancers of a risqué nature. Jordenö's film also included the acceptance from their families while transitioning, homophobia and racism from the police when performing in public venues. In contrast, it showed homelessness for those who had parents who kicked them out. These issues are definitely timely during the "Black Lives Matter" movement that is sweeping across USA and Canada.
The sold-out show’s audience was clearly engaged and that was evident through their laughter and applause. I also felt the upbeat soundtrack, the quick camera cuts between scenes and the dance performances kept this documentary fast paced where they can sometimes drag.
Great way to end
114 min., India, 2016, Dir. Hansal Mehta
Date and Venue August 16, 2016 | Cineplex Odeon, International Village, 88 West Pender Street
Award winning Aligarh is based on Shrinivas Ramchandra (S.R.) Siras’ life, played by Manoj Bajpayee. It is centered around the dissolution of Section 377 in India’s criminal code, which made homosexuality decriminalized by the High Courts of India, and is now reinstated as of 2013 as a criminal act following the setting of the film.
Siras, a senior professor of linguistics at the University of Aligarh, was raided by two thugs and filmed with his lover at his personal residence. Instead of upholding Section 377, the university’s actions were immediate dismissal from his senior position, eviction from his funded residence and leaking the video to the press.
This controversial film speaks to themes of integrity, corruption and advocacy.
While a few parts of the film were slow given its dramatic nature, the overall movie was well carried by the superb acting filled with raw emotions that were not over exaggerated. As well, the dimly lit cinematography of the ‘slums’ and other regions of India aligned with the dark nature of the plot.
As a gay, first-generation
Canadian with Indian roots, this movie truly made me appreciative of
the liberties we have in Canada and the struggles that those in India
and other parts of the world are still fighting with respect to equality.
Strike a Pose
85 min., Netherlands/Belgium, 2016, Dir. Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan
Dates and Venues August 17 and 19, 2016 | Vancouver Playhouse and Cineplex Odeon International Village
It spoke to their personal experience with the AIDS epidemic, the lawsuit against Madonna filed for breach of contract regarding payment, and the positive impact that the tour has had on them, even twenty-five years later.
As a big Madonna fan, I found this documentary to be quite interesting in revealing the ‘behind the scenes’ of their brotherhood. Their stories were told with conviction and the emotions of their unique lives were truly felt with the close-up shots and believed by the captive audience. The dark versus bright lighting within the various scenes helped emphasize their past struggles and current acceptance of their present situations. Having a Q&A with two of the dancers after the film was an added bonus!
I would recommend this documentary to anyone who has had struggles being
successful with their passion. Express yourself and make your mark on
87 min., USA, 2015, Dir. Sasha King and Brian O’Donnell
Dates and Venues August 14 and 19, 2016 |SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts and Cineplex Odeon International Village
© 2016 Darren Cordeiro