As part of the LGBT History Month, SQIFF curated a selection of lesbian shorts for a special screening in Transmission. Rose Jackson attended the event on behalf of qmunicate.
The first film B.U.C.K.L.E. was set in a 90s lesbian club, but could easily have been filmed in any modern day club. From the 90s fashion to the dodgy chat up lines it was extremely relatable and funny. It portrayed lesbians being sexual and making out on the dance floor without being voyeuristic or objectifying. The film was a tender portrayal of lesbian clubbing scene. It also managed to capture the sense of community that is being lost as many USA lesbian bars are shutting down.
Whilst B.U.C.K.L.E. was a time capsule, Wavelengths was a look ahead at the future of dating as predicted in 1997. This was the most professionally shot film of the collection, and felt the most slick. It was a humorous take on the concept of online dating, it managed to portray both the ridiculousness and the fantasy element. This short film wins the award for my personal favourite subtitle of all time for its description of club music- (bland 90s techno).
There was a lot of folk music, occasionally of the dodgy variety throughout many of the films. It was effective in some shorts such as Home Movie, as it brought out the feelings of nostalgia as the narrator showed us the home movies of her childhood whilst narrating her discovery and exploration of her sexuality. However, overall the ubiquity of folk did grate after a while.
One of the six films, A Comedy in Six Unnatural Acts ambitiously attempted to address lesbian stereotypes in six sketches. The most successful of these were “Non-monogamy” with its very 70s sounding description of non-monogamy, and the sketch “Seduction” which showed the very relatable problem of lesbian shyness. The other sketches didn’t quite match up to these two but were still enjoyable.
17 Rooms or What Do Lesbians Do in Bed? was surprisingly tame considering Channel 4 had pulled it days before it was meant to be aired. It even came across as a little dull as all it showed was women in bed together; with their families, kissing and eating breakfast. It was evidently intended to normalise and desexualise the public perception of lesbians at the time.
Overall the collection of films was highly enjoyable as a look back at lesbian culture, and a wonderful contribution by SQIFF to LGBT history month’s theme of heritage.