Stories of dissidents and divas abound at LGBT film festival image+nation

Stories of dissidents and divas abound at LGBT film festival image+nation

While this city is renowned for having a bundle of festivals, one of its most treasured cultural events is image+nation, Montreal’s international LGBT film festival. The oldest queer film fest in Canada, image+nation is turning twenty-four this year as it begins twelve days of great programming tonight. The theme of this edition is “share your stories with the ones you love.” Queer moviegoers are encouraged to bring friends, family, co-workers, and other cinephiles to enjoy the wealth of material that the festival has to offer. With over 125 shorts, docs, and feature-length films, picking a movie or two might seem like a daunting task. Here are five not-to-be-missed events at image+nation.   


Because our culture is steeped in erotic imagery and sexual discourse, it’s difficult for most folks to imagine someone who experiences zero sexual attraction. Yet, if you consider that sexuality spans such a vast range of proclivities and desires, it makes sense that not everyone is going to have a raging freight train of a libido. Director Angela Tucker sets out to explore asexuality, and in the process, uncovers some parallels with the queer rights movement. In interviewing a handful of asexual people, some reoccurring themes emerge; asexuality is not a choice, nor is it an illness, nor is it linked to past abuse. Sound familiar? While the doc has input from a variety of voices, the majority of its focus goes to David Jay, founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. This is an enlightening documentary that’s bound to spark some discussion, so bring a friend or a debating partner. 

Saturday, November 5 at 1:30PM
Cinéma Goethe-Institut | 418 Sherbrooke E.


The Advocate for Fagdom

In our current puritanical state, with the right arguing for moral decency, and the left falling into the pitfalls of assimilation, there needs to be a voice that argues for discussion, dissent, and the redemptive powers of fucking. Bruce LaBruce is that voice, a visionary Canadian filmmaker, misfit, and self-proclaimed reluctant pornographer. The Advocate for Fagdom is director Angeline Bosio’s love letter to LaBruce, with insights from John Waters, Richard Kern, and the ineffable Vaginal Davis. This doc is part of the festival’s vanguard series, nomenclature that is quite fitting for someone as transgressive as LaBruce. From kaleidoscopic visions of fornicating zombies to the sun-bleached sidewalks of hustler culture, from pop-art porn mixed with a touch of Stockholm syndrome to the stark grain of 8mm, LaBruce’s oeuvre receives a well-deserved celebration. 

Sunday, Nov 6 at 2PM
Theatre Hall Concordia | 1455 De Maisonneuve O.


Screening the Epidemic
Aside from being a top-notch film critic and an all-around charming guy, Matthew Hays is a prolific writer and a treasure trove of film history knowledge. He’s been writing for the Montreal Mirror since 1993, and in 2007, Arsenal Pulp Press released his Lambda Literary award-winning book of interviews entitled The View From Here, which is an imperative volume for anyone interested in queer cinema. For this very special image+nation event, Hays will deliver a talk about celluloid depictions of HIV/AIDS from the past thirty years. Discussing the political, cultural, and cinematic nuances of a health crisis that spans three decades, Hays will look at a variety of material from directors such as Denys Arcand, Adrian Lyne, and Jonathan Demme. Hays is an impassioned and engaging speaker, so grab a seat at this event before the room fills up.
Sunday, Nov 6 at 12:30PM
Cinéma J.A de Sève | 1400 de Maisonneuve O.


Not Quite the Taliban

Fadi Hindash’s Not Quite the Taliban is an unnerving documentary about hypocrisy and culture clash in Dubai. Fearing exile if he makes a film that’s critical of Dubai, Hindash questions why such repressive structures exist in what is reputed to be the liberal hotspot of the United Arab Emirates. The filmmaker finds himself immersed in contradictions. While mass media in Dubai is censored and wholesome, rape and exploitation videos circulate freely on cell phones. Hindash is lectured and reprimanded about his homosexuality by a Madame who deals in the trade of young women. Men roll out their prayer mats, backlit by the omnipotent glow of a Coke machine. Hindash’s excavation of Arab identity from the Western culture clash is a brave act of dissent, as he asks those around him to engage in the difficult process of self-reflection.  
Tuesday, Nov 1 at 9PM
Cinéma Goethe-Institut | 418 Sherbrooke E.


T’aint Nobody’s Bizness: Queer Blues Divas of the 1920s
Though it clocks in at twenty-nine minutes, T’aint Nobody’s Bizness is technically a short playing before Louis(e) de ville: Portrait d’une bad girl. Directed by Robert Philipson, T’aint Nobody’s Bizness promises to be a festival highlight. The documentary illuminates the musical world of Blues in the '20s, when people like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, and Ethel Waters reigned supreme. Not only did these musicians defy gender norms, and sing suggestive lyrics about same-sex desire, they did so in an era of lynchings and Jim Crow law. Such bold acts of transgression for the sake of artistic and sexual freedom make these divas some of the bravest and most important artists of the past century.    
Sunday, Nov 6 at 5:30PM
Cinéma J.A de Sève | 1400 de Maisonneuve O.

October 26 to November 6
Box Office (all tickets) | Theatre Hall Concordia | 1455 De Maisonneuve O.

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