Des Images aux Mots is now in its fourth year and is going from strength to strength. Each year the audience numbers soar and this year we have formed partnerships with three other festivals – Italian Cinema in Toulouse, Latin American Cinema, and the Arts Festival, Made in Asia. As usual we invite directors and actors and welcome debate around documentaries that have an important message or films that excite interest.
This year a cartoon for primary school children that outraged the French education establishment, and a documentary on the history of AIDS in Italy during the last 30 years, will be followed with a debate oganised respectively by the education and health committees of Arc en Ciel, our parent organisation.
Director Tomer Heymann will present his film I Shot My Love at the Goethe Institute: the documented love-story between two guys, Israeli and German. Emilie Jouvet will be at Utopia cinema to field questions following her lively documentary Too Much Pussy. And V.S. Brodie american actor of OWLS, will be coming down from Paris to discuss this interestingly shot thriller.
Films for this year’s Festival come from all over the world and there’s an equal number of films for boys and girls – that’s nothing we have control over, just a happy coincidence that Queer people everywhere are making films. There are screenings at the Cervantes Institute, the Goethe, South Korean films at the Cinematheque, Italian films, Israeli, English and American. And we close with the Peruvian/Colombian film Contracorriente. Not bad, eh? The wide Queer world packed into Toulouse for one dazzling week.
The festival opens with an English film, the story of Anne Lister. A sensually courageous woman who lived in Yorkshire at the beginning of the 19th Century and who always knew that she wanted to live with a woman. So we’re in post Jane Austen England with same-sex relationships – a first for the screen I think.
Jumping forward a hundred years to German Expressionism – Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others, Germany 1919) was the first film to seriously treat the subject of homosexuality and plead for its decriminalization. Extraordinary, when you think that that didn’t happen in many countries until the late 1960s and even today, highly placed homosexuals can still be blackmailed.
Moving rapidly towards contemporary themes, there is a Spanish Bear movie and a New York Bear movie, both prize-winners and funny, heart-warming stories. A female Marine just back from the war in Iraq, a programme of shorts, documentaries on trans-gender issues. Older, wiser (definitely drunker) lesbians, the longest lesbian kiss recorded on screen, and a dark Italian story… one beautiful summer by the sea, not far from Rome, a middle-aged shrink falls in love with the son of his oldest friends; and yes…there is a price to pay.
And we have Too much Pussy (a title, don’t misunderstand me) an in-your-face docu/road movie by Emilie Jouvet, recounting the goings-on of seven irrepressible performing artist dykes. A raunchy story and not one for the faint of heart! The festival closes with Contracorriente (Undertow), a haunting love story of two men who battled against a conservative society and church in Peru, and a worthy and welcome Oscar nomination. Queer cinema is everywhere!