For some time now, numerous videos have been circulating on video platforms on the internet with titles such as »Shit straight girls say to lesbians« or »Shit white girls say to black girls«, and more. They involve racist, sexist, everyday slogans that are staged, laid bare and parodied in the short films – lapped up by those who see themselves confronted by this. The weapon is as simple as it is effective: repetition and appropriation – a small way of shooting back. The videos confront violations, they are also framed by them on the platform itself in the context of »shit someone says«. They are created in a time when feminist and queer interventions are still not as a matter of course seen as a social necessity, but rather are ridiculed or simply dismissed.
In socio-political terms, we find ourselves in a period that demands a statement from the ethical council on the situation of intersexual people in Germany; in which laws are being enacted in Uganda to invoke the death penalty for homosexuality, where in Germany racist murders have for a long time not been recognised as such. In St. Petersburg, »homosexual propaganda« is a punishable offence, in many countries Queer Pride marches are only possible with police protection, and activists are threatened with violence. Such conditions require radical counter measures, much publicity about what is happening, alliances as have been demanded by Judith Butler and people who stand up for these issues: in the street, in blogs, in front of courts or by making films and adopting a stance.
The work of those who make these films does not necessarily provide them with a living. What they do is the consequence of a radical decision. The fact that their films can find an audience via the cinema screen and are accessible is also due to worldwide Queer film festivals. Many of these festivals are based on the voluntary commitment of the organisers, some of them are afraid of not being able to continue, some fear state repression, and only take place secret. The fact thatthey continue to take place and these people do not give up their work is another form of defiance.
At this year’s Berlinale, Wieland Speck again reports on the setting up of a Queer Academy, a portal that gathers information about queer film history, categorises it and makes it available, preserves stories. These stories consist of a wide range of different perspectives, experiences and strategies. Films and their archives can, although they never present a uniform front of togetherness, bear witness to a shared struggle against cemented norms, can aid and abet the search for role models and ideas and put a stop to their being forgotten. The names of the battles that for years have been won with films are still visibility and alternative as well.
The strategies of the films in this year’s programme and the stories on which they shed light are ultimately heterogeneous. Madeleine Olnek dedicates herself – against the brutality of the world – to comedy, Barbara Hammer and Gina Carducci are devoted to the material and preservation in the sense of a shared story consisting of two perspectives; Phoebe Hart in her autobiographical road movie goes in search of intersexual people who share her own experience, so that, for herself and for others, she can break through the silence she experiences within her family. Françoise Doherty tells love stories in stop motion, with rabbits, chainsaws and wonderful music, also to furnish her own daughters with something against homophobia. Even today all these films are just small interventions, and their filmmakers have to be brave enough to put them into practise and make them.
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