The 14th Xposed International Queer Film Festival rolls out the rainbow carpet from May 9-12 at Moviemento.
The Berlinale may be the queerest of the major film festivals, but its vast programme can make it tough to pinpoint the rainbow-hued highlights. Xposed takes the opposite approach, queering up Kreuzberg’s cosy Moviemento with a streamlined selection of exceptional new LGBTQ+ fare. This year’s line-up is comprised of 16 features and 8 shorts programmes, kicking off on May 9 with Jeremiah Zagar’s We the Animals (photo), an intense, visually inventive portrait of youth that sensitively depicts a New York boy’s sexual awakening. Camille Vidal-Naquet’s Sauvage, one of last year’s strongest gay dramas, is an unflinching, explicit tale of a 20-something sex worker, with a bruising lead performance by rising queer star Félix Maritaud. Adele Tulli’s Normal, warmly received at this year’s Berlinale, is a bold doc that interrogates gender as a social construct simply by observing conventionally masculine and feminine behaviour. Mònica Rovira’s To See a Woman is the Spanish director’s own look at the disingration her relationship with girlfriend Sarai, which reveals some beautiful universal truths regarding when love comes to an end. And closing night selection The Wild Boys is a vivid coming-of-age fantasy that sees high school troublemakers exiled to an island that has gender-bending powers. It plays out like Guy Maddin spliced together A Clockwork Orange and The Lord of the Flies; the result is both confounding and mesmerising. A good chunk of XPosed’s programming is shorts as well and with sections like Celebrating Wicked Beauty, Linkages, Lineages, Family Affairs and more, there’s plenty to choose from. For a taste of Berlin, check out Zara Zandieh’s “The Sea Runs Through My Veins”, an intimate portrait four Berliners with migration backgrounds and their surprising takes on happiness and suffering. The film is also notable as it won The Queer Short Film Fund, an annual prize awarded by XPosed of €1000 in cash and more in support, so the film is also a chance to see what Berlin’s own community support can accomplish. The award will be given out again this year and the public can come and see filmmaker pitches for themselves, as well. Of course, there’s a party (opening night at Südblock) and the festival’s own film awards, The Lolly (Sun, May 12 at Moviemento), so there’s plenty of fun to be had outside the Kinosaal as well.
May 9-12 Moviemento. Full programme at xposedfilmfestival.com