Rainbow Nations

This year,Kashish celebrates queer cinema from the unlikeliest of countries.

Written by AMRUTA LAKHE | Published: May 18, 2013 12:23 am

This year,Kashish celebrates queer cinema from the unlikeliest of countries.

Rana earns her living by driving a cab in Iran. She comes across Edi,a transgender wanting to flee the country that has little tolerance towards his kind. Although a conservative woman,Rana has a conversation with Edi on subjects ranging from class to belief systems,eventually forming an unlikely alliance with her passenger. Their insightful conversation makes for the crux of Facing Mirrors. One of the films to be showcased at the upcoming Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2013,it is an official entry from Iran,an unlikely participant.

Joining Iran this year at the festival — which presents international cinema on the LGBT (Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual,Transgender) community — however,are several other countries that make for unexpected contenders,including Pakistan,Iran,Uganda,Serbia,UAE and Slovakia.

“Our intention is to bring international queer cinema to India for the big screen experience,” says Sridhar Rangayan,festival director of Kashish. “These particular countries find it very difficult to even talk about LGBT issues. That they have come forth with short films and documentaries is encouraging.” The festival is scheduled to take place in Mumbai from May 22 to May 26 at Cinemax Versova and at Alliance Francaise de Bombay,New Marine Lines,and will showcase 132 films from 40 countries.

What also sets apart the fourth edition of this festival is the increase in the number of women filmmakers. “We see more and more women making movies that have very strong themes and are handled beautifully,” he says,citing the example of …And The Unclaimed (Ebang Bewarish) by Indian filmmaker Debalina Mujumdar. The film is based on two girls who commit suicide because society does not accept their love.

While women and their security has come to be a subject of national importance,the same cannot be said about the LGBT community,which continues to face not only social but also sexual abuse at the hands of society. “Some of the films bring to the fore issues of rape and abuse. For example,in Call Me Kuchu,a lesbian woman talks about her brother raping her in order to ‘cure her of her illness’,” says Rangayan.

Of stories untold

As They Say (Kif Ma Yi Qulu),UAE

A father and a son take a fishing trip together. Things get difficult when the son confesses that he is gay,leading the story to an unexpected ending.

Noor,Pakistan

Noor believes he doesn’t belong with the khusras-Pakistani transgender community. He runs into a danseuse and is inspired by classical dance.

Call Me Kuchu,Uganda:

A story about David Kato,Uganda’s first openly gay man. It tells the journey of Kato and his fellow activists who fight against a new bill that makes homosexuality punishable by death.

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