Chicago’s International Queer Film Festival turns 40 this year and these dozen movies have us raring to go.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Chicago’s International Queer Film Festival, Reeling 2022, returns for another spectacular year. As in seasons past, this year’s slate promises a host of insightful nonfiction entries alongside exciting narrative features and inspiring shorts.
This year’s documentary selection includes two promising films about love and survival. Nelly & Nadine is a story about queer love during and after a WWII Concentration Camp that is sure to be poignant and provocative. Similarly, The Unabridged Mrs. Vera’s Daybook showcases the art and love of David Faulk and Michael Johnston, two artistic visionaries who survived the AIDS epidemic and now are confronting the COVID epidemic.
Examining how queerness interacts with colonialism is one of the most critical tasks facing queer people today. Jimmy in Saigon is an investigation into a soldier’s possibly queer life in Vietnam after the war, which will hopefully address how war, American imperialism, and queerness work with or against each other. My most anticipated documentary is the Brazilian feature Uýra – The Rising Forest because it explores transness, colonialism, and the environment. Stories revealing these conjunctions are more necessary than ever, and I’m eager to learn the lessons it offers.
There are a handful of narrative features that deal with similar political themes as well. Horacio Alcala’s Finlandia centers on the experiences of a nonbinary community in Mexico as they confront themselves and outside appropriators. Two Eyes by Travis Fine uses the triptych to explore queerness, colonialism, love, and art across time. Augustina San Martin also combines mythology and genre with To Kill the Beast, a steamy thriller set in the jungles between Argentina and Brazil. Hopefully, these three films challenge us to think about queerness and borders and how one can reaffirm or challenge the other.
Queerness explodes many boundaries, not just political, social, or geographic. A few exciting feature films promise to set the screen and personal identity ablaze. Already garnering a deserved amount of praise for her visual storytelling, Amanda Kramer’s Please Baby Please promises to be a queerly neon portrait of a couple’s sexual exploration. Mohammad Shawky Hassan gives us Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day, which also explores queer forms of coupling but through a self-reflexive meditation on art and folklore.
Cinema is a fantastic medium for showing shifting bodies. Hong Kong provocateur Scud uses film and folklore for their two stories of time and transformation. Apostles looks to be a kinky play on the queerness of immortality. Bodyshop is also about an immortal being, this time a ghost that travels from body to body while visiting their trans sibling. These and Joseph Sackett’s Homebody, a trans take on the Freaky Friday plot, are some of my most anticipated narrative films at this year’s festival.
Still, we’re always leaving room for surprises at Reeling 2022! Be sure to check back here for dispatches from this thought-provoking festival.