Morgen ist auch noch ein Tag, wenn du willst [Postcards from Sicily] (2020)

Morgen ist auch noch ein Tag, wenn du willst [literally: Tomorrow is another day, if you want]
Director: David Gräber
Writer: Andreas Neu
Cast: Hannah Zieziula, Christina Völz, Bo Anderl
Part of: Transition Queer Filmfestival
Seen on: 11.7.2021

Plot:
Claudia (Hannah Zieziula) and Marcus (Bo Anderl) have been dating for a while, but their relationship isn’t at its best anymore. Marcus feels that Claudia is distant, so he seeks to reconnect with his ex-girlfriend Jana (Christina Völz). What he doesn’t know is that Claudia is distant because she, too, met Jana and fell in love with her – and vice versa. Marcus, living out of his van, takes turn staying with the two women, but he can’t stop them both from turning away from him.

Postcards from Sicily didn’t work for me. I found it very tiring and couldn’t get into the story or the characters.

The film poster showing Marcus' van from above. Marcus (Bo Anderl) is lying on the roof, smoking, while Claudia (Hannah Zieziula) and Jana (Christina Völz) are standing in the open doors looking up at the sky.
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Kapana (2020)

Kapana
Director: Philippe Talavera
Writer: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes
Cast: Adriano Visagie, Simon Hanga, Mikiros Garoes, Dawie Engelbrecht, Foreversun Haiduwah, Albertina Hainane, Felicity Celento, Elize de Wee, Jeremiah Jeremiah, Lukas Paulus
Part of: Transition Queer Film Festival
Seen on: 11.7.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Plot:
George (Adriano Visagie) and Simeon (Simon Hanga) meet in a bar. They flirt, they have sex. They don’t really expect more, especially not in Namibia where homosexuality is criminalized. But then they run into each other again when George comes to buy Kapana for his lunch break, and finds that Simeon is the one who is selling it. Simeon panics, he isn’t out to anyone in his life, but George finds a way and they start dating. Only, George has a secret, and this could threaten to end things between them before they ever really started.

Kapana is a very sweet film that tries to deal with a lot of stuff in its short runtime, but also keeps its emotional side in sight. I really liked it.

The film poster showing Simeon (Simon Hanga) selling Kapana, grilled meat.
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Shiva Baby (2020)

Shiva Baby
Director: Emma Seligman
Writer: Emma Seligman
Cast: Rachel Sennott, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Polly Draper, Molly Gordon, Glynis Bell, Rita Gardner, Cilda Shaur, Jackie Hoffman, Dianna Agron
Seen on: 9.7.2021

Plot:
Danielle (Rachel Sennott) is a student, just trying to figure out what she wants to do after college. Meanwhile, she has a rather comfortabel arrangement with Max (Danny Deferrari), her sugar daddy. When Danielle’s parents Joel (Fred Melamed) and Debbie (Polly Draper) insist that she come to a shiva with them, Danielle things she is dealing with the worst when her parents keep trying to finde her a job and she runs into her ex-girlfriend Maya (Molly Gordon) there. But then Max shows up as well – with his wife (Dianna Agron) and baby.

Shiva Baby is billed as a comedy, but the parts that stood out to me the most were the uncomfortable ones, and not the funny ones. In any case, for a debut feature by a very young director, it shows a lot of promise.

The film poster showing Danielle (Rachel Sennott)in a dress made of cream cheese and bagels, holding up a bagel.
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Ammonite (2020)

Ammonite
Director: Francis Lee
Writer: Francis Lee
Cast: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Jones, Fiona Shaw, Alec Secareanu, James McArdle, Claire Rushbrook
Part of: Queertactics Festival
Seen on: 23.6.2021

Plot:
Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) lives in a small town at the sea with her mother (Gemma Jones). Every day, Mary goes down to the beach to look for fossils, having made many important finds already – not that the scientific establishment cares much about her. Nevertheless, one day a geologist, Roderick Murchinson (James McArdle) comes to her shop and hopes to accompany Mary to the beach to learn from her. He is willing to pay for it, and Mary is poor, so she agrees. A little while later, Murchinson leaves on a trip to the continent, but leaves behind his sickly wife Charlotte (Saorise Ronan). Mary finds herself suddenly responsible for Charlotte, a charge she resents at first. But slowly the two of them warm to each other.

Ammonite is a really nice film with excellent performances and good characters. It could have done with a little more happiness, but I did like it a lot.

The film poster showing Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) looking to the right and Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) to the left. Their inages are pale apart from where their two faces intersect.
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The Stylist (2020)

The Stylist
Director: Jill Gevargizian
Writer: Jill Gevargizian, Eric Havens, Eric Stolze
Cast: Najarra Townsend, Brea Grant, Davis DeRock, Sarah McGuire, Jennifer Seward, Millie Milan, Kimberly Igla, Laura Kirk, Chelsea Brown, Bety Le, Kelsey Nicholes
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 19.6.2021
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Plot:
Claire (Najarra Townsend) is a shy stylist who has the habit of scalping some of her clients so she can feel like she lives a different life for a while. When one of her long-term clients, Olivia (Brea Grant) insists that Claire does her hair for her wedding, Claire grows increasingly more drawn to Olivia and her life. But she still tries to leave her murdering days behind.

The Stylist is an aesthetically very pleasing film that suffers from some lengths around the middle that kept me from really loving it.

The film poster showing the drawing of a wig on a mannequin head, blood running from the hairline.
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Knackningar [Knocking] (2021)

Knackningar
Director: Frida Kempff
Writer: Emma Broström
Based on: Johan Theorin‘s novel
Cast: Cecilia Milocco, Albin Grenholm, Ville Virtanen, Krister Kern, Alexander Salzberger, Charlotta Åkerblom
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 17.6.2021
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Plot:
Molly (Cecilia Milocco) was just released from a psychiatric facility where she had to spend some time after a personal tragedy. She’s still fragile, but ready to face the world again. She moves into a small appartment and tries to get comfortable there. But not only is a heatwave weighing on her, Molly keeps hearing strange knocking in her apartment – knocking that nobody else seems to hear but that she is convinced is a call for help.

Knackningar is a strong film that manages to draw you into Molly’s paranoia, and keeps a clear eye on power dynamics. A really great start for the spring edition of the SLASH film festival.

The film poster showing a close-up of Molly (Cecilia Milocco) in profile. There is only a small shaft of light on her eye and cheek, and in that shaft is the shape of a woman who is falling.
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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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Leading Ladies (2021)

Leading Ladies
Director: Ruth Caudeli
Cast: Diana Wiswell, Silvia Varón, Ana María Cuellar, Marcela Robledo, Ana María Otálora
Part of: Transition Film Festival
Seen on: 10.6.2021

Plot:
Five friends are coming together for dinner – Ana (Ana María Otálora) and Diana (Diana Wiswell) are hosting Silvia (Silvia Varón), Ana María (Ana María Cuellar) and Marce (Marcela Robledo). It’s the first time they are coming together in a while – after Marce abruptly left for two months to travel Europe. But as the evening gets underway, tensions and secrets start to appear.

Leading Ladies is a largely improvised film that starts off interesting enough, but then becomes ever more confusing and falls apart bit by bit.

The film poster showing the faces of the five women next to each other, but separated by stripes in yellow and green.
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Sheer Qorma (2020)

Sheer Qorma
Director: Faraz Ansari
Writer: Faraz Ansari
Cast: Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhaskar, Divya Dutta, Jitin Gulati, Priya Malik, Kalyanee Mulay
Part of: Transition Film Festival
Seen on: 10.6.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) queermisia

Plot:
After more than a decade of living abroad, Saira (Divya Dutta) has returned to India to finally introduce their wife Sitara (Swara Bhaskar) to their mother (Shabana Azmi). The separation of Saira and their mother was long because she didn’t handle their queerness very well. But after their brother Shahnawaz’ (Jitin Gulati) intervention, Saira is hoping that this time, things will be different. But things don’t go particularly well at the Eid dinner.

Sheer Qorma is a beautiful film that puts the finger where it hurts, showing just how painful it is to not be accepted as the person you are, especially within your own family. But then the film also gives us the release of experiencing the family coming together, soothing and healing. It’s perfectly set in scene with lots of clever touches – like the very beginning of the film or the (translated! I don’t think I ever saw subtitles for it before) call of the muezzin – and a spot-on cast. I shed a tear or five. What a wonderful way to start the Transition Film Festival.

The film poster showing Saira (Divya Dutta) and Ammi (Shabana Azmi) hugging.

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.