On this new edition of “Thursdays of Chilean Cinema” we highlight two LGBTIQ + films that approach queer identity from a political strandpoint, works that defend the need for expression through the showcasing of marginalized communities, as well as by opening up a space for daring and dissident Chilean cinema.
The feature film “Casa Roshell” by Camila José Donoso, produced by Tonalá Lab and Interior XIII (Mexico / Chile) - premiered at the Berlinale 2017. The short film “Lost Queens” by Ignacio Juricic, produced by Mariana Tejos - premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Two films that are a critique of homophobic violence prevalent in our society, are now available to be viewed for a week and for free around the world.
In recent years, Chilean cinema has been recognized around the world for portraying LGBTIQ + characters, with A Fantastic Woman (winner of the Oscar in 2018 for Best Foreign Film), the most well-known example. Other queer films that have been exhibited in major competitions are Blokes by Marialy Rivas, premiered at the Cannes Festival; You will never be alone with Alex Anwandter, winner of the Teddy Award at the Berlinale 2016; The prince of Sebastián Muñoz, winner of the Queer Lion at the Venice Festival, among many others.
The queer pattern in our cinema is an interesting trend and it is hypnotizing to see how national filmmakers have brought their reflections, anger and helplessnes generated by systemic violence to filmic expression. The hopes, joys and the creation of new subjectivities of a diverse community are also present in these cinematographic portraits.
In “Casa Roshell” Donoso establishes a hybrid exploration of a queer bar in Mexico City, turning non-actors into full-fleshed characters and using observational techniques to create a fictionalized reality. In this world, people live their sexuality and gender identity freely, residing in a sheltered space, where violence occurs outside the contours of the frame. A film that builds upon the need for intimacy while bringing us closer to the idea of "home" for the queer community, where love, encounters and disagreements converge.
Camila José Donoso's career was launched with the premiere of "Naomi Campbel" -co-directed by Nicolás Videla-, that premiered at FICValdivia and CPHDOX (Denmark). The film was acclaimed by critics, and was screened at Indielisboa, BAFICI, and Doc Leipzig. Years later the film was still being talked about and shown around the world, and in 2015, it was exhibited at the Museo Reina Sofía in Spain and at Lincoln Center in the Art of the Real Film Festival in New York. In 2017, Donoso premiered Casa Roshell in Forum of the Berlinale, and two years later her third feature, Nona. Si me mojan, yo los quemo (2019) in the Official Competition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film was also shown in international festivals such as The Jeonju International Film Festival, confirming Donoso´s vibrant and growing career. Currently, she director is writing a script about the Pacific War from the point of view of an Afro-descendant woman; and, eventually and depending on how everything in the world continues, she will release "Antritropical," a film starring women, mostly immigrants, who work at a “café con piernas.”
In “Lost Queens”, Juricic based his script on an event that occurred in Chile more than 20 years ago, when the Investigation Sex Crimes Brigade of Chile raided a nightclub known to be a communal space for drag queens. The synopsis is as follows: In 1996, after being arrested and booked by the investigative police in a televised raid on the nightclub where he works as a drag queen, Rodrigo (18) returned home with the fear that his mother and sisters would see him on the nightly news. As they get ready to attend a wedding, he plans to flee with his partner Mauricio (48), a hairdresser and family friend.
In 28 minutes, "Lost Queens" reflects on the multiple ways that homophobic violence is exerted in our society, by our families, the police, and through the media. The different ways in which these three forces coalesce to silence queer identity is explored in Juricic´s film. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival where he received the second prize from the Cinéfondation and the Queer Palm for the best LGBTIQ+ short film in the entire official selection.
Ignacio Juricic's filmmaking is characterized by being formally ambitious and stylistically intrepid, in which multiple visual and auditory layers occur simultaneously while placing queer bodies at its center. His long-awaited first film “Enigma” was released in 2018 at the Horizontés Latinos Competition of San Sebastian, and has been screened at festivals around the world. He is currently developing his second feature film.