I just attended the Queer Nazariya film festival in Bombay and I loved the experience.
In the discussion about queer communities, law and culture, Ponni Arasu, a gay rights activist of the Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore spoke of the need for queer community in India to redefine itself and its goals after the groundbreaking Delhi High Court judgment against Section 377 of the Indian Constitution which criminalizes homosexuality.
In some senses its only the idea of being queer that can actually encompass the reality of sexual processes.Sex is funny and inescapably queer.Having been a part of the amorphous queer community in Bangalore (via workshops at Sangama ) and having witnessed the Queer Azadi city marches vicariously for various reasons and then the subsequent mobilization around 377, and it feels like a beautiful journey, and we have along way to go.
I have claims to this cause, as does everybody, and none of us can deny that issues of love and sexuality concern belonging and community and that acceptance is a major prerequisite to survival.As a feminist who anyway has a problem with patriarchal and heteronormative sexual mores which enslave women I feel resuscitated and enlivened by such spaces where there is no barrier on love or the exchange of it.
I thought that all the films represented a raw and incredibly challenging new post-modern body of work certainly set to redefine norms of seeing, of sex and sexuality, of history and culture. If you want to cast an eye on where relationships are going in the future then this movement is one of the places to look at. Among the films that stood out for their ingenuity were Rex Vs Singh by Ali Kazimi, Richard Fung and John Greyson, Proteus by John Greyson and Jack Lewis and ‘Journey into Kafiristan’ by Fosco Dubini and Donatello Dubini. The novel series called ‘Fucking Different’ by producer Kristian Peterson in which LGBT* film-makers are given a format to create work about LGBT issues was entertaining.
Curators Smriti Nevatia and Sophie Parisse need to be congratulated not just for the engaging fare but also for the pertinent concerns that came through: of queer activism in the developing world and the need to engage with larger struggles for identity and self determination, against racism and against fundamentalisms, religious and otherwise. Thinking aesthetically, queer practices and queer perspectives bring about fresh and new ways of expressing and celebrating sexuality, and this was mirrored in the films for the comfort with which they were able to work across and blend styles.
* LGBT : Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans-sexual.