New Queer Cinema is a term which was first used by the academic B. Ruby Rich in the UK cinema magazine Sight & Sound in 1992. It was used to describe a movement of queer-themed, gay-friendly independent films being shown at various film festivals around the world. These films showed LGBTQ characters and their lives, but the stories also tended to fight heteronormativity (definition here if you need). Each year, film festivals around the world tend to have quite a few films in common in their programme or, if a work is discovered in one festival, it tends to be shown at other festivals (which is sometimes the only way for foreign films to be shown in America or Europe)*.
This trend, brought by the gay liberation movement from the 1970s and 1980s, wanted to bring forward LGBT people. The films talked about gender and sexuality as well as AIDS. New Queer Cinema was at first centred around gay males, but it later developed to encompass the whole LGBT movement. Spontaneously created, the movement brought togethr various artists and filmmakers who wanted to show who this queer generation living on the edges was. This period also brought Queer theory to academic circles (wikipedia link to it, because, why not!) and paved the way for LGBT films to be made available to an even wider audience today. It is increasingly easy today to see a queer film and some film distributors like Wolfe in America and Peccadillo Pictures in the UK are becoming more and more well known, and making it easier to search for films (which is, like, awesome).
LGBT Film Festivals around the world…
Now, if you want to see some Queer films in a cinema, why don’t you check out the list of Queer Film Festivals around the world (link here), which has been compiled by Mel Pritchard. You may find one close to where you live or if not, you could plan a holiday, or a school/Uni trip to one of these places. The cool thing about going to a film festival is the people you meet! The even cooler thing is that any potential awkwardness is avoided at first since you have a subject to talk about: films! Definitely a win win.
If this isn’t even a remote possibility and you can’t move to any venue hosting a Queer film festival, check out their programming and wait for the DVD or buy it online. There are many on-demand services distributing the films cheaply and you can have the same discussions with people, but online.
The fascinating thing about these film festivals is that you also get to see films with LGBT themes which were shot in foreign countries. It gives you a completely different perspective on how a foreign culture works, but also, how universal the queer culture is.
Now go check out the various links in this article and happy film watching!
For your eyes only, here are some interesting links I came across while reading up for this article:
Here’s the Wikipedia link (of coouuurse) (link). It has some film recs in it as well.
Here’s a link to an interesting article on GLBTQ – An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Culture about New Queer Cinema (link). It puts everything in context in a way I could only dream of and explains things historically.
Here’s a link to some awesome film recommendations on Mubi (link)
Here’s the LGBT films channel generated by YouTube (link)
* Hey, I worked in a venue hosting various film festivals, and I read wikipedia, so there!