Between May 21st-24th 2015, XPOSED, the international Queer Film Festival, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special focus on Australian cinema, screening two short film programs and three feature-length films from Down Under that captivated the hearts of filmgoers around Berlin. During the four nights of the festival, 52 short films and seven feature-length films were. For the first time, XPOSED presented two International Short Film Programs as well as two Midnight Screenings. Not to forget the German Short Film Program, which showcased the diverse work of Berlin’s filmmakers. Furthermore, XPOSED hosted public debates in Moviemento’s lounge, discussing the representation of cross dressing and drag performances in film. Programmed with love, lust and experience, here’s why we were psyched for the 10th edition of the Queer Film Festival…
1. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
The bright, glitzy and fabulously queer road feature is set to open the 10th edition of XPOSED. The film revolves around Adam (Guy Pearce), Anthony (Hugo Weaving), and fellow trans-woman traveller Bernadette (Terrence Stamp), who set out on a journey across the arid Australian Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs. While the group of rejects, queers, and drag queens hitch up their skirts as they get groovy to Gloria Gaynor, they end up learning a valuable lesson or two about themselves down the road. As most road trip films do, queer or otherwise, they offer its audience the promise of change, transition and a significant flash of insight that any viewer can relate to. This intelligent and entertaining Australian film embraces LGBT culture and has become a cult classic in both Australia and abroad. Attendees are welcome to come dressed in drag, as the theme party that follows at Südblock will be a colourful feast of queers.
May 21 / 21:00 / Moviemento
Addict/Homosexual/Cat burglar/Actor/Aboriginal can all be used to describe Jack Charles, the subject of Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s 2008 documentary, Bastardy. Charles, who is credited with founding the first Aboriginal theatre company in the early 70s, has collaborated with a long list of Australian actors and filmmakers over the past decades. The film follows Charles, now in his 60s, over the course of seven years. Wilson gradually blurs the line between director and accomplice as Charles frequently crisscrosses between the criminal and acting worlds. The law, however, eventually catches up with Charles and it is uncertain if he can mend his ways and finally kick his habits… Charles tells his story with remarkable candour – his past relationships, his love of acting, finding places to sleep as he roams the streets, burglary and his addiction to heroin.
May 22 / 20:00 / Moviemento
3. Please Like Me
For the first time, XPOSED will be screening a television series – the critically acclaimed Australian comedy, Please Like Me. In a special two-part presentation, viewers can watch the entire six-part first series of one of the most exciting TV-shows to come out of Australia in years. After having gained commercial success abroad in the United States, Please Like Me instantly became every TV-critic’s pick for the Best Show You’ve Never Heard Of.
The semi-autobiographical series is written by and stars 27-year-old Josh Thomas. The pilot episode presents his character, also named Josh, coming out to his dysfunctional family and friends. After receiving the news that his mother Rose (Debra Lawrance) has attempted suicide, Josh ends up moving back home — experiences all drawn directly from Thomas’ personal life. Creator Josh Thomas anchors the awkward show with his peculiar performance. Please Like Me presents a dynamic and authentic world centred on gayness.
May 23 / 18:00 / Moviemento (episodes 1-3)
May 23 / 20:00 / Moviemento (episodes 4-6)
4. Fort Buchanan
Shot on 16mm, Fort Buchanan is the French feature debut of American expat Benjamin Crotty. Expanded from his 2012 short Fort Buchanan: Hiver, the film serves as a queer soap opera that tells the story of the life of numerous sexually frustrated army spouses living on the nominal U.S. Army base over the course of four seasons. We follow Roger (Andy Gillet), a fragile gay man, and his female companions, tackling newfound challenges for survival, with their unique form of comradeship. It was Crotty’s choice to have the script entirely adapted from American TV-series. An unconventional one, that provides the film with thought-occupying dialogues.
Crotty fuses French arthouse, queer cinema, and contrasting tropes of American television into an unmissable feature film. The director will be in attendance of the screening, introducing Fort Buchanan.
May 24 / 18:00 / Moviemento
5. Appropriate Behaviour
What better way to close the festival than with this indie-jem? In her debut feature, Desiree Akhavan soars as Shirin, a twentysomething Iranian-American Brooklynite, coming to terms with the fact that she recently got dumped, as she retrieves her ex-girlfriend’s massive dildo from a trashcan. In a series of flashbacks, we view Shirin and Maxine’s (Rebecca Henderson) relationship fall apart, while Shirin struggles to confess her bisexuality to her conservative Iranian parents, and maintain the pressures to be the perfect Persian daughter.
A warm, funny, and heartbreakingly honest tale in which the writer/director essentially plays the person she used to be. Desiree Akhavan will come directly from Cannes after presiding over the Queer Palm Jury, to personally present the film.
May 24 / 22:00 / Moviemento