In cinema we can love, but in keeping with society’s structure, this usually comes at a cost greater than; bae’s ex turning out to be your boss at the new job you started… which is a weirdly relatable, if less weighty, scenario in the often-interconnected queer scene. Because of this are we missing out on exploring these heartfelt narratives, and not sharing with the world the full extent of how we love.
Where are the gay boys lamenting for the daily ‘good morning’ message that is now just a blocked WhatsApp silhouette? The heroines waking up and disassociating from the life, furniture, routines they have created with each other? In light of this I am going to take a deep dive into this year’s programme and see what’s love really got to do with it.
Matching pyjamas, shared sugary confectionary and fucking all night/day/moment humanly possible, love is not just the sum of these parts. But, go back to romance’s first pang and remember when you thought that being with ‘the one’ was all you needed. This year’s closing night film TOP 3 evokes the bittersweet memories of ‘first-love’.
Animation has often been a rewarding medium for LGBTIQA+ filmmakers to explore ideas without the shackles of socio-political landscapes. But the beauty of this film is how with such simplicity, and short narrative length, Sofie Edvardsson builds a love story so realistic and popping with queer sensibility that you can’t look away.
Eyes transfixed you fall head first into Anton and David’s love story, slowing seeing your own reflection in their faces, before painfully realising with Anton that his dreams in life might be going in the opposite direction to David’s. ‘Top 3’ left me a sobbing mess opening up Spotify to listen to FKA Twigs ‘cellophane’ on repeat as I chain smoked and dissected all past relationships… but I am just a dramatic water sign romantic.
Now as you may have guessed I love me a sweet romance, ‘Love, Simon’ was cute and I can’t wait for ’10 Things I Hate About Me (but therapy is too expensive so I will just bleach my hair)’, a queer reimagining of that 1999 teen classic. But what I love more than a happy ending, in cinema, is a messy break up.
As made obvious with a title such as TAINTED LOVE, the shared narrative that binds this programme of short film together is the pain of love gone wrong. However, take this united theme as a meeting point opposed to a limitation, in a sharing the breadth of our stories.
As in real life our expressions of love on screen have been, and still are, conditioned by the overarching heteronormative ideals of society. But in this eclectic mix of six shorts we get to subvert these notions and explore love on our own terms. Dental kinks, intersex Americana and bodily explorations of co-dependency all feature to provoke a response from the core and make us question; where did it all go wrong?
“Way to dry up the kitty cat”, with a single line I was hooked back into the world Sidra Smith beautifully crafted twenty years ago. A LUV TALE is everything I aspire for as the grey skies, overdrafts and app fatigue set in. Following the passions of these four beautiful lesbians of colour, thriving in Harlem’s creative scene left me googling for the next exhibition opening to cruise, red wine in hand.
Sexy, smart and romantic with a huge dose of DRAMA, I came for one episode and stayed for all six gagging for more. Revelling in having the space to be absorbed in queer love. By taking the time to explore the romantic tribulations of LGBTIQA+ characters, their stories usually tacked on as ‘progressive’ subplots to more mainstream heterosexual fair, we are giving weight to our love stories and how we love.
Politics is an element that should forever be embedded into the DNA of LGBTIQA+ cinema, showing that without a doubt we always have and always will be here. The filmmakers who continue to do the vital work of telling our history with passion and intelligence, must never be muted. But as you will see with some of films at Fringe, every once in a while, occupying the screen with a meet cute and some fisting can be enough.