Film Review: Homotopia and other shorts

In association with Scottish Queer International Film Festival

The Scottish Queer International Film Festival has not rested since launching in Glasgow in September. Seeking to bring global queer cinema to Scotland, this month SQIFF has teamed up with the BFI’s LOVE season to present  ‘I Do?’, a season marking one year since the start of ‘equal marriage’ in Scotland. As part of that, this evening at the CCA is a collection of “low- or no-budget” films presenting queer critiques of marriage, followed by a discussion with notable activists.

One of the first short films shown is Goodnight My Love, which follows two women in a zombie apocalypse in New York City, bringing up past relationship issues in their final moments including parental drama and the desire for marriage. Another is a parody drug commercial for a fictional pill called ‘Homonormativity’. Hitting notes the audience is likely to be familiar with, it satirises the impacts of the mainstream LGBT movement on queer people by comparing it to medication designed to tone down the offensive parts of their lifestyles.

Homotopia, the main feature, was made and released in 2007 by Chris Vargas and Eric A. Stanley. It is about a group of rebellious queers who take it upon themselves to shut down a gay wedding after one character’s encounter with a man in a public toilet leads to romantic and political heartbreak. The San Francisco setting infers key moments in recent queer history, including references to both the radical ACT UP AIDs activists of the 80s and 90s, and the gentrification of the Castro area by affluent gay people. The performances are camp, deadpan, and hilarious.

As writer and activist Ari Silvera noted in the post-screening discussion, Homotopia is “making a political point and being scandalous and hilarious at the same time”. Also present were Etzali Hernandez from LGBT Unity Scotland, who emphasised the need for an intersectional approach to global queer rights which considers people of varying citizenship status, and Decca Muldowney, a writer and researcher, who cited Palestinian queer  groups as an example to our corporatized Western organisations.

These films and conversations are romantic in that they conjure up new visions of what love can be when liberated from neoliberal capitalism and assimilationist politics.

[Ellen MacAskill – @ejdmacaskill]

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