Blog 1: Around the World in Eight Ways: Shorts Program

Around the world in 8 ways is a foreign film consisting of seven short cinemas.

Bendik and the Monster

  1. Originated in Norway, Benedik and the Monster is a cartoon about a little boy named Benedik who is pressured to live the “manly” life by his mother’s boyfriend whose bond shows a purely heterosexual In the middle of the movie Benedik meets a monster, which he helps pursue the monsters dream of becoming a singer. In this short film the audience learns to find yourself and to experiment with your identity.

Scaffolding

  1. Scaffolding is about two male nieghbours who capture a relationship and connect over the construction of a their building. In this film the audience gets a grasp of the idea of homosexuality with the reality of two males engaging in a relationship.

Last Farwell

  1. The following film called Last Farewell shows an aging man morning over the loss of his husband, and in the end he finally is able to let go.

Das Phallometer

  1. Das Phallometer that is based on a true story, shows a refugee crossing the border. While being questioned, the refugee admits to being homosexual and is sentenced to a phallometric test.

I love Her

  1. Next to this film a Ukrainian movie, I love her, about a musician who spends her days busking on the street meets a women passing by and together they find love. At the end of the movie it states that the Ukraine is a highly homophobic With a country’s mentality like this, heterosexism is highly affected in the Ukraine, where it is believed that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation.

Kuhani

  1. Kuhani, a Uganda based movie orients around a Priest who is prosecuted based on the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act that has been recently passed. It is shown in this film that citizens of Uganda face compulsory heterosexuality as it is seen to be illegal if one engages in a homosexual relationship.

Butterfly

  1. The last film called Butterfly shows a transgender couple who both have Asperger’s and while admitted into the LGBTQ community they confront their own gender identity.

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 8.40.24 PM

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was interesting to see how different parts of the world deal with the idea of LGBTQ community. Some places around the world have acknowledged the fact that heterosexuality is not the norm for everyone, and accept those who do not fit this gender identity. For example in the movie Das Phallometer the refugee is welcomed to Germany because he passed the absurd phallometeric test. While on the other hand, places such as Uganda one might face serious consequences when admitting to be homosexual. This is shown in Kuhani, where Father Musaala is victimized because of the Anti-Homosexuality Law placed in Uganda. Due to the immense difference in the seven cinemas, the audience gets a grasp of a variety of different camera work, lightning, and visual design. In the movie Benedick and the Monster the audience is exposed to special effects and animation, as the movie is purely cartoon based. On the other hand, Kuhani, the camera work looked very shaky and immature almost as if it was a home video and was filmed on a camera phone. The originality for this movie was definitely unique, as I’ve never experienced a movie that expressed the LGBTQ community in different parts of the world. It is hard to compare this type of move to a movie that is similar, although the film industry around the world expressed LGBTQ people in different ways than Western Society. In Western society I feel is more accepting to LGBTQ. For example, there are more transgender people shown in popular TV or Movies such as Orange is the New Black. Western Society also accepts homosexual relationships on the big screen such as in the TV show Glee, or the movie GBF. Overall, the movie was quite enjoyable and I overall had a splendid time at Reelout.

There is one scene that I really enjoyed in the third movie, the Last Farewell. At the beginning of the movie it is seen that the father resents his daughter because she gave consent for a character named Papa to die. The audience does not know who this Papa person is and what his relationship is to the main characters of the movie. When the father imagines Papa in his presence, it is finally realized that that the Father and Papa are engaged in a homosexual relationship, and are in love. The father explains to Papa that he is angry because he feels that he left him. In the end the Father is able to let it go and move on with his life. Finding out the relationships between these two characters was very shocking, as throughout the film I believed that Papa was the Grandpa. By realizing that the characters were in a love relationship it made a great plot twist and made the move more intriguing. Mystery and curiosity were added to the mix when the director made the characters aware of what is happening while the audience is not aware. Through the fathers relationship with Papa one can understand that heterosexuality does not have to be the norm in every family, and homosexual people are able to live “normal” life as well.

My overall personal experience attending the festival was interesting. My first thought pulling up to the screening room was confusing. When you first walk you see a concession stand on the left, my friend and I were confused and thought we had the wrong address. We then proceeded to upstairs towards the theatre. The theatre was old but gave off a homey feel. The workers there were very personable which overall created an unthreatening environment. The theatre seats were pretty empty but consisted mostly of University students, which made me feel confortable because they were on the same boat as me. There were some local people of Kingston who came to voluntarily came to watch, which was interesting because I didn’t realize the Reelout was that big of a festival. I wish an event such as Reelout were held in my home city, Toronto, so I can attend more movies such as this one.

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3 thoughts on “Blog 1: Around the World in Eight Ways: Shorts Program

  1. Although it’s harder to comment on 7 short films rather than 1 feature film, I liked how you were able to provide readers with the short synopses of the shorts and then focus in on some key points and takeaways – so right off the bat, you should give yourself a pat on the back for tackling 7 films in one post! Your structuring made it easy to read and enjoy what you had to say about your experience at Reelout.

    The perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community in various places around the world is something that really interests me, so I’m very glad that you were able to write about some of these in your blog. I especially liked your comparison with the situations in Germany Vs. Uganda..etc. Reading about some of the differences around the world really intrigued me, and pushed me to continue some of my own research in this area. So thank you for facilitating this expansion of my own horizons! I’m sure this would have been an incredible shorts program to watch, based on the way you’ve passionately discussed topics such as this.

    In regards to your comments about North American television and the ‘acceptance’ of queer and trans bodies, it is important to again ‘analyze what is missing’. Something I think you could expand on is the discussion of intersectionality within the North American media vs. other continents and countries around the world. In quite recent years, we have had exposure to trans bodies, as you mentioned in OITNB, and queer bodies in gLee..etc; however, I believe a deeper analysis must be done in order to confidently use the word “acceptance” in regards to queer and trans bodies being portrayed in the media, regardless of the geographical location of said content. I agree that we are privileged to see the exposure to the small amount of sexual and gender diversity in our media, however there is still an extremely long way to come, as commercials, advertising, marketing and various other media outlets are still centralized over heteronormativity and hegemonic masculinity and femininity.

    Another thing that I think deserves some discussion is the use of the word “normal” in your blog. Being that sometimes you used quotations and sometimes not, your message became a little muddled in regards to your standpoint on sexual and gender diversity. Obviously, I know that you mean no harm in your use of that word, but it is important to bare the complications that come with using such a weighted word to discuss sexuality, in the case.

    I hope that you are not offended by my somewhat nit-picky comments. I just think it’s important to have conversations like these, and push the boundaries of our own individual thought processes. I really liked your post and I hope that some of my comments are not perceived as discouraging in any way whatsoever.

    I really enjoyed reading your post as your content was to the point, yet still very informative. I’m glad to hear that your experience at Reelout was as fabulous as my own, and I cannot wait to read what else you have to post throughout the duration of this semester 🙂

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  2. This sounds like quite an interesting film. The fact that it combines seven short films to create one longer one is definitely unique.

    Benedik and the Monster:

    Heteronormativity and strict gender roles are apparent within many countries, those the specific gender roles vary greatly. I think it’s great that this film explores this, especially seeing as it centers around a young boy, as the age of the protagonist often reflects the target age group. I believe it’s important to explore self-exploration and a separation from gender roles, especially for children. The expectation to portray these “manly” qualities is very problematic in that individuals may at times feel like outcasts or inadequate for not following or relating to these restrictive expectations that are unreasonable and often times wildly wrong. Teaching children that these stereotypes are not the be-all-end-all is certainly a fantastic thing,

    Scaffolding:

    That sounds interesting. It sounds as if having the first film containing a heterosexual relationship followed directly by this one with a homosexual relationship would create a nice comparison. It would be interesting to know which country the short was based in, as well as what the reactions of friends, family members and other neighbours was in response to the featured relationship.

    Last Farwell:

    It sounds as if the older gentleman goes through quite a transformation. It is unique that the film features an older homosexual man – generally, when LGBTQ+ relationships are shown within the media, it seems to be that all people and relationships center around young members of the LGBTQ+ community. To show older people who are or who have experienced homosexuality is important as it shows that it is not something which has come up recently, or a social construction by “rebellious” youth, but rather is something natural that has existed, arguably, for as long as humans have, though perhaps less apparent in the past when it was seen as unnatural or wrong.

    Das Phallometer:

    Unfortunately, it seems as if phallometric tests are common among homosexual refugees attempting to immigrate into a new country. You mention later on that after passing the insane testing the refugee is accepted into Germany, where homosexuality is more accepted. While this is of course important, the act of being forced to take a phallometric test is unfair and I believe is an indication that, despite appearances, acceptance is not as present as it may seem.

    I Love Her:

    I find it unfortunate that countries such as the Ukraine are so homophobic – I find it hard to believe that the love of another person, love which does not harm anyone, can be frowned upon or even illegal.

    Kuhani:

    I like how you brought in compulsory heterosexuality. This is a fantastic example of that, especially in a society in which it is actually illegal to be anything but heterosexual. It also brings up power structures, and the immense power that someone who is heterosexual possesses.

    Butterfly:

    This sounds like an interesting film. It is an excellent example of why intersectionality is needed – both characters sound like they are part of multiple minority groups who are often discriminated against, what with being transgender, having Asperger’s, and exploring their gender identity. It is unusual to see transgender characters within media, and even more unusual to see a transgender character with Asperger’s, Autism, etc.

    While I certainly agree with your comment that people in Western society seem to be more accepting of people belonging to the LGBTQ+ society than some countries seem to be, I think that there is still a lack of homosexual, transgender, etc. characters on the big screen. While there may be some shows and movies that exhibit these things, such as the ones you mentioned, there is still a shocking lack within media as a whole. There is an extraordinarily unfair ratio of heterosexual characters to LGBTQ+ characters that I believe to be an inaccurate representation of real life.

    Overall, I think you brought up some interesting points. It certainly seems as if it was a good film, and one which I would like to see at some point.

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  3. I really loved your response to the film Around the world in Eight Ways. I found it really interesting that the film is composed of seven short movies, which is in a unique pattern that I have never seen or known before. When I first read your descriptions on each short movie, I was wondering how the movie would connect these irrelevant films altogether. However, as I read further, your explanation clearly states the main idea that these films are conveying – the worldwide view towards the LGBTQ community.

    One thing interesting is that you found the differences in the camera work, lighting and visual design among seven films. These points seems not so important when compared with the main idea and context of the movie, but it actually plays an important role in creating different moods. For example the different style between Bendik and the Monster (cartoon) and Kuhani (like a home video) certainly create different atmosphere. The former msut be much more relaxed while the latter might be more likely recording the actual event – more serious.

    I was particularly interested in the Ukrainian movie called I Love Her, because the attitudes towards LGBTQ in Ukrainian is so similar with my hometown China, where heterosexuality is regarded as the norm.

    I am glad to find you having a similar experience in Reelout. I also would like to attend more festivals like this!

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