Thursday, October 20, 2005

Film Festival Report - Week 3

Media Release – Week 3 of the SASOD Film Festival

The aspects of tolerance of gay and lesbian love were explored during the third week of the SASOD film festival running at the Sidewalk Cafe in Middle Street, Georgetown, Guyana. Isaac Julien's documentary “A Darker Side of Black” examined the violence and the explicit lyrics which emerged in dancehall and hip hop music. In the documentary, Buju Banton uses religion to justify his call to kill homosexual people, while church leaders and other artists and cultural critics reject the homophobic views. Academics in the documentary suggest that many lesbian women find the feminine sexuality liberating in dancehall music, while some gay fans suggested that the homophobia hid repressed homosexual desires of the singers. The documentary Songs of Freedom looked at the lives of gay and lesbian people in Jamaica and is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. Some members of the audience found the documentaries too long, while others felt that the documentaries had greater impact to raise consciousness than showing conventional feature films. Tuesday night, SASOD screened a 7 minute music video Vidrar vel til Loftarasa from Icelandic band – Sigur Ros. The imagery of the two boys being torn apart left many stunned, whilst other members of the audience admitted that they did not have a clue what was happening. The film Latter Days is a love story between a Mormon missionary and an out and proud gay man. This film was a favourite with the entire audience. One man said he thought it was the best film of all he had seen in the festival. One woman said that even though she enjoyed it, she worried that it showed too easily that a man could be seduced away from family and beliefs. Other people thought that there was no seduction, and that the film depicted the importance of not trying to deny one's true feelings. The film Kali's Vibes on Wednesday night showed a story of a lesbian woman who leaves her lover and then falls in love with a man. Many members of the audience thought the film was good, that the acting was good. Most members of the audience were surprised at the ending, one man saying he did not expect that SASOD would screen a film which showed the flow of sexuality – not only from heterosexuality to homosexuality, but also in another direction of homosexuality to heterosexuality. Another woman said that the film , while a beautiful film, did a disservice to her gay and lesbian friends who struggled to change their sexuality. Other members of the audience thought that there was a important message, that sometimes people fall in love with individuals and personalities rather than sex and gender.
The SASOD film festival continues into the fourth and final week with two important films. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a rock musical which The six hour film Angels in America on Tuesday and Wednesday night stars Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and others, and it looks at issues such as HIV/AIDS, homophobia, politics and liberation. More details are available on the SASOD website at