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19th November 2021


Kinofilm’s LGBTQ Shorts Programme showcases a variety of queer short films, from a lesbian war drama to a family dramedy
Photo: The BFI bus promotes LGBT film, Wikimedia Commons

Offering a variety of short films from all around the world, Kinofilm’s selection of LGBTQ shorts is an exciting showcase of different perspectives on queer cinema. With 8 short films varying in themes and subject matters, the programme provided a true cinematic journey through independent queer cinema.

The film opening the selection, Alice 404, was the one that stood out the most in terms of its form. It tells the story of a teenage girl using an app to look back through memories of the summer she spent with her girlfriend, trying to come to terms with losing her.

While the premise calls for an emotional drama, director Kate Graham took a different approach. The whole film is a weirdly edited (and surrounded by even weirder amateur animations) slideshow of hundreds of photos of the happy couple, doing all kinds of summer activities. It is the kind of film that might leave you confused by its stylistic choices, but ultimately it’s amateur experimental filmmaking at its finest.

Photo: Kinofilm 2021, Kinofilm Festival Facebook

The most impressively looking film presented in the programme was an Estonian second-world-war romance, Tomorrow Island. Shot in a remote, snowy location, it highlights the struggles of lesbian women on the front.

Stuck in one of the most patriarchal environments imaginable and surrounded by men trying to prove their strength and power, the only possible choices are to either hide your true self or to try to run away. Tomorrow Island captures this dilemma in a heartbreaking way, and reminds us of what queer people had to go through in the times of war.

Out of the films in the selection, more than half of them are hardly memorable, serving more as interludes between the best films than as stand-alone efforts. The best film in the selection, and certainly one worth talking about, is Tell-By Date.

This American short focuses on Ryan, a transgender man, who’s struggling to bring himself to tell his son the truth about himself. How will the young boy react when he learns that his father is not biologically his father? And even more, will he even consider him a father after he discovers his gender identity?

Told in light, comedic tones, the film carries a simple and heartfelt message, and sometimes it’s all we need to hear about. That as long as we’re there for someone, they will be there for us too.

The last film shown in this year’s programme, Sequins, is a well-crafted, classic drag queen coming-of-age story. Similar to this year’s feature Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, it’s an easily predictable film showing a gay teenager’s journey to self-acceptance through drag.

But even though Sequins doesn’t have anything new to add to its predecessors, it’s a charming and inspiring story that can make some people feel better about themselves – and this is exactly what Kinofilm’s LGBTQ Shorts selection succeeded at.

Michal Wasilewski

Michal Wasilewski

Managing Editor of Culture for The Mancunion.

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