ISSN: 2241-6692

BLOG - Queer Cinema

Xenia is a deceptively simple film which needs a detailed analysis and exploration. Recently, it received a number of prestigious awards by the Greek Film Academy and many positive, albeit mixed, reviews in the international circuit of film festivals. Guy Lodge in Variety talked about the film as “brashly uneven and wildly overlong” in need of more “disciplined editing.”[i] Boyd van Hoeij pointed out that “though the story [i]s finally too predictable and a little too thin to captivate for the film’s entire two-hours-plus running time, the characters, their chemistry and their plight are compelling.” [ii] Fabien Lemercier was more positive in his assessment: “Very much at ease with tragicomedy and not one to shy away from any combination of genres – from fables to hyperrealism, or from focusing on a single human relationship to a vast portrait of society, via euphoric moments of musical comedy and amazing forays into dream worlds and fantasy – the filmmaker allows himself to take every possible liberty in Xenia”. Lemercier emphasises that “the film is above all a very successful portrait of brotherhood.” [iii] ... More


Almost 25 years after the release of Jennie Livingston’s unapologetic documentary Paris is Burning (1990) and Judith Butler’s groundbreaking book Gender Trouble (1990), one might wonder what happened to the queer project. Born out of the discords of postmodern identity politics and the frustrations of AIDS activism in the late 1980s, the queer movement evolved and flourished throughout the 1990s, introducing a radical critique against the dominant heteronormative and homonormative culture and politics, as this was hammered through the movement’s unique amalgamation of theory and aesthetics (particularly if one bears in mind how queer theory has inspired New Queer Cinema’s filmmakers and vice versa). But it was not long before Hollywood contained the oppositional energies of a Gus Van Sant, a Todd Haynes, a Gregg Araki, reducing the movement to a moment, as Ruby Rich, who coined the movement’s cinematic epithet, laments (2000). However, this brief essay is not meant to be a eulogy. It is more of a re-evaluation of the way theory has engaged with the queer aspects of cinema in the last 25 years, as well as an investigation of queerness’s value at a theoretical, aesthetic, and political level in the contemporary neoliberal context where politics is replaced by “technocratic, corporate, post-political governance”, the so-called “governmentality of the crisis” (Butler, 2013). ... More