Saturday, October 15, 2005

Film Festival Report - Week 2

Media Release – SASOD Film Festival – Week 2
“What will people say” was a recurring cry from families of gay and lesbian people depicted in the films screened during the second week of SASOD's Film Festival which continued at the Sidewalk Cafe in Middle Street. The films during the second week looked at the confrontation between sexuality and culture . On Monday night, Deepa Mehta's Fire was shown. Fire is a story of two women in loveless marriages who turn to each other as their husbands become more distant. One older woman said that the film was fantastic rather than very good as recommended by a friend. Another woman admitted that she never thought of same sex attraction in the context of emotional survival in a patriarchal scenario, and could not understand why the women did not go and find other men. Another gay affirmative man, felt uncomfortable watching the film saying that while the film confronted patriarchy and dealt with the religious issues which are used to oppress women, he wished that the director could have balanced that by also using some of the religious themes which also liberate women. Tuesday night's Touch of Pink, a comedy, was enjoyed by the audience of about 40 persons, especially by the woman who the night before did not support homosexuality and who admitted that she was starting to see things differently. One person regretted that the stereotypes of South Asian people, and of gay men were overdone. Another man cried at the ending. A mother also cried during parts of the film in which the mother confronted her son's sexuality. On Wednesday night, technical difficulties limited the enjoyment of Michelle Mohabeer's Coconut/Cane and Cutlass. Many people felt that the film's imagery was good, others said that they did not understand the film. Another woman said that she empathised with the identity conflicts of Guyana, India, North America, woman, lesbian. Many were surprised at the Guyana scenes, especially at the sound bite of late poet, Mahadai Das. The second film Child _ Play from Michelle Mohabeer was enjoyed by all. The film is a surreal allegory about colonial rape explored through the psyche of the molestation of an older woman (when she was a young girl of ten --by the spirit of a child molester. This film is described by Michelle Mohabeer as he best cinematic work to date. Some thought the acting could have been better, but were impressed by the story and the imagery. Mohammed Camara's Dakan. a love story of two men in Guinea, was the third film shown on Wednesday. Some people recalled the similarities in the dilemma faced by the mothers in Dakan and in Tuesday night's Touch of Pink “I want grandchildren”. Some people felt uncomfortable with the lengthy scene of the failed spiritual healing to cure the homosexual disease. A pastor dropped in on his way home, and expressed concerns that the laws were being broken at Sidewalk. He felt that the festival's theme ; A celebration of gay and lesbian love' was not an invitation to an honest discussion of the issues to remove discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Another priest who was there with his wife said he enjoyed the films which he had seen. A second lay preacher and his wife said that even though the films were a bit slow , they supported the idea of the film festival to continue to remove prejudices. The film festival continues on Monday 17th October at Sidewalk with two documentaries around homophobia and survival in Jamaica. Details are available at .