Blue Boy (2019)

Blue Boy
Director: Manuel Abramovich
Writer: Manuel Abramovich
Seen on: 9.7.2021

Content Note: homomisia

“Plot”:
Abramovich interviewed male sex workers in Blue Boy bar in Berlin, then showed them their statements and filmed them while they watched it. The film shows them reacting to their own statements.

Blue Boy chose an interesting format to capture its subjects, opening up the gulf between talking a good game and then listening to yourself talk. The statements they give are as different as their reactions to themselves – from embarrassment to careful neutrality that can’t quite cover the fact that they are having a very emotional reaction, but don’t want to share what it is. While their statements give us an insight into their work life – from chatting up clients to police harrassment -, their reactions give us a look at who they are as people. A careful balance that Abramovich captures impressively.

The film poster, showing the title in big, loopy letters, with two eyes, cut out from a newspaper, peeking out between the two words.

Picture a Scientist (2020)

Picture a Scientist
Director: Ian Cheney, Sharon Shattuck
Seen on: 23.6.2021

Content Note: sexualized violence, sexual harrassment

“Plot”:
As in many other fields, women are marginalized in academia as well. Picture a Scientist shows us what that marginalization looks like, especially regarding sexual harrassment, and how it affects women in science.

As I work in gender equality at a university, Picture a Scientist is a must-see film for me. And I’d say, if you’re interested in academia/science at all, it’s also a must-see for you, though depending on how much you know about universities and gender equality, you might not learn that much that is new.

The film poster showing several scientsts at work in a black drawing on beige and light blue background.
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Welcome to Chechnya (2020)

Welcome to Chechnya
Director: David France
Writer: David France, Tyler H. Walk
Part of: Transition Film Festival
Seen on: 13.6.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia, including explicit homomisic violence, torture and rape; attempted suicide

“Plot”:
Starting in 2017, Chechnya saw a sudden and widespread outbreak of homomisic violence that was denied by officials. The Russian LGBT+ Network, especially David Isteev and Olga Baranova, started helping queer people escape Chechnya and Russia altogether. But as long as nobody came forward, no officials seemed willing to investigate the situation, or even acknowledge that anything was going on.

Welcome to Chechnya is an important documentary, but it is definitely not an easy watch. Still, it should be seen.

The film poster showing Maxim Lapunov with his fake face in black and white, behind him a red background with faces from several other people in the documentary.
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Quebramar [Breakwater] (2019)

Quebramar
Director: Cris Lyra
Writer: Camila Gaglianone, Yakini Kalid, Lana Lopes, Raíssa Lopes, Cris Lyra, Nã Maranhão, Elis Menezes
Seen on: 24.5.2021

“Plot”:
A group of young lesbians go to spend some time at the beach and to celebrate the New Year.

Quebramar doesn’t so much tell a story than show a slice of queer utopia – but in a realistic way. In the casual intimacy between these women, their openness and vulnerability with each other and the sense of community they share, the troubles they do talk about seem far away. They have carved out a space for themselves. It’s a good space – and they are willing to share it with the audience. So, relax and take half an hour to enjoy their company.

The film poster showing a painting of bodies in different shades of skin color. it's watercolors and so abstracted, it's almost unrecognizable. The bodies are just along the edge of the image, in the center is a blank space.

Slaying the Dragon (1988) + Slaying the Dragon: Reloaded (2011)

Slaying the Dragon
Director: Deborah Gee
Slaying the Dragon: Reloaded
Director: Elaine Kim
Seen on: 14.4.2021

“Plot”:
Slaying the Dragon looks at how stereotypes about Asians, especially Asian women, shaped their portrayal in Hollywood movies and vice versa. Trying to outline the major tropes, female and male actors are interviewed and films examined.
23 years later, Slaying the Dragon updates that documentary and looks at how films have – and have not – changed in the meantime.

Both documentaries are insightful, making clear statements about representation and how movies affect the world beyond the screen as well. They’re an excellent primer to recognize problematic characterizations and offer a succinct explanation of why they’re problematic.

The film poster of Slaying the Dragon Reloaded showing a drawn female figure holding a long reel of film that shows stills from various films, all with Asians.
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Delphine et Carole, insoumuses [Delphine and Carole] (2019)

Delphine et Carole, insoumuses
Director: Callisto McNulty
Writer: Callisto McNulty, Alexandra Roussopoulos, Géronimo Roussopoulos
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2019

“Plot”:
Activist Carole Roussopoulos and actress Delphine Seyrig worked together in the 70s and 80s as the collective Les insoumuses, together with translator Ioana Wieder. They shot several videos on feminist issues, most notably SCUM Manifesto. The documentary brings together their activism and filmmaking with archive footage of themselves and their work.

Delphine et Carole, insoumuses is a very nice documentary that underscores how much we are still/again fighting the same fights, even 50 years later.

The film poster showing Carole Roussopoulos and Delphine Seyrig both with video cameras.
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Nothing Like a Dame (2018)

Nothing Like a Dame aka Tea with the Dames
Director: Roger Michell
Seen on: 4.5.2019
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“Plot”:
Maggie Smith, Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench and Joan Plowright, four British actors and Dames, meet for tea and to talk about their careers and lives.

Nothing Like a Dame is a fun round of tea with a fabulous foursome of women. You’ll probably get most out of it if you really know British actors of the 50s and 60s, but even if you don’t, it’s a charming to have tea with these women.

The four dames around a table in the garden,.
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