“God Will Understand”

The following review by me was published in http://www.themarshalltown.com

And if you have the chance, go and see Norvalls “Shower”, it’s a short but strong flap straight in your face.

shower

The 23rd MQFF took place in March and exhibited some of the finest queer cinema from Australia and across the world. From the selection of films, documentaries, panels and special presentations, Berit Renser followed two sets of queer shorts.

What would you do if someone was wanking himself off at a public bathroom and reveling in it audibly? If you took a step closer, as a character from the Norvalls-directed Shower (pictured) did, to express your resentment, it would make a good story for a Hollywood movie. But it takes a gay short fiction for the annoyed man to start tossing his washroom neighbour’s dick and an art house material for him to beat the partner to death from shame when witnessed by a straight observer.

That’s exactly how the sequence Sex Drives and Videotapes appears – artistic intentions competing with lust. In many cases the latter outshines the first and forms a rhapsody of sex drive. Regardless of how the narrative takes off – and in this case it resembles porn – it habitually ends with exposed copulation.  Amsallem’s People in Front of the Cameramixes is an over-saturated video art combined with home-made porn tape where a child-like circle game connects participants not by uniting hands but by stroking dicks. Equally, in Antonia da Silva’s Mates a five-minute fuck is erected from the intercourse of a sequence of lovers. Bardo’s Chaser makes a mildly disturbing remark “No condoms – it’s rude” at a public sex party. And finally a transvestite doctor from Rinot’s Backside Approach rescues a couple by pulling out a condom from one’s asshole and treats it as a new-born baby. Right there in your face, lick it and dick it gay porn in an artistic humorous sauce with no conservative waving his fingers around.

The audience is pleased. Certainly there is a sense of community there – an outburst of laughter hits the cinema hall crammed with male couples when I least expect it and this gives me a double introspection to the gay way of life making the whole sequence of Sex Drives and Video Tapes even more fascinating.

Not feeling so misplaced at the feminine Boobtube likely affects my perception. Nothing strikes me like lightning. Creations for the lesbians seem to be softened up and polished with a fairly pink magic powder of emotions and tenderness like in Galibert’sBouddhi Bouddha where the visual takes us through a spiritual love-making. Even the obviously most rebellious intentions – like tough rock band girls in Giorgi and Tivrier’s Polaroid Song among others – climax with tuning down the arousing music to a melancholic ballad and culminate with women waking up in PJs after wild sex. Really?

As another bait to the stereotypes, the female sequences excel in drama, mind games and relationship muddles rather than physical action. Scheermann’s Fresh Air Therapy 2shows a troubled hallucinating lesbian couple who, in fact, doesn’t have sex at all. Serbu’s Sugar Cookie brings a freaky stalker to the couple’s house to boost the sex drive of a self-indulgent girlfriend. And a nun from Lariviere’s Mary Mae enters a confessional after having merely kissed a girl at a discotheque. Even though I am well entertained by several from the selection, the gay men make even the most untamed lesbian stories look like small cute fluffy rabbits.

Pigeon-holing the gay community was the least of my intentions before writing, but these juxtapositions I came in contact with, intentionally or unintentionally framed the two sequences. And maybe it’s not that bad after all. By roughly categorizing the themes I can now proudly suggest the Queer Festival to a heterosexual audience. Check out some lesbian movies if you’re into romance or family drama and some artistic homoerotica to spice up your sex life. And as the nun so wisely concluded, “God will understand”.

The Melbourne Queer Film Festival is an annual event. More information can be obtained from the website