Three Elements I Always Find in Queer Cinema
- By lucidunicorn
- On 04/02/2018
- 1 comments
So after having watched Inxeba (The Wound), and you can read my review on that, I was even more adamant about writing this little piece of my thoughts on queer cinema and the three elements that I always find. These three elements do appear in almost every other mainstream film ever, but for the gay male character the three elements are extremely important.
The Three Elements Are:
These are the elements that help build the character (unconsciously) for the audience. They are what we are not given to pay attention to (sometimes), when we as the audience first meet the character and for when we say goodbye to them.
Okay so unlike in mainstream cinema, where the queer male character is often undervalued or not valued at all. In queer cinema male characters are usually fuller and more dimensional characters. Like every other movie, they have body types that range from Greek god to average Joe but more Greek god than anything.
I found that there’s more to how the body is used in queer cinema, unlike mainstream cinema where it’s heartthrob Thursday every other day. In queer cinema the body is used to send through deeper meanings or to push forward a central theme of the movie.
For example in the film Moonlight I found that the body is used as a transitioning tool, after the Chiron character goes through two events in his teenage life. The two events are polar opposite events as the one event is much softer and more in tune with who Chiron is (the masturbation & kiss beach scene), while the other is more violent and traumatic and eventually shaped who he became (the schoolyard fight).
The shift of the emotions related to these events are shown with the transformation of the body structure of Chiron, he goes from being this skinny kid who after exposing his sexuality and inner true self, to retreating back. His retreat takes him on a journey where the sensual (softer) side of Chiron is buried deep and is replaced by this hulking gangster. This transitioning of Chiron’s body said a lot about the character and if you remove all the events of the film and just look at his physical transformation, you can definitely see that his environment and his emotions contributed in some shape or form to who he became (physically)
Though for me Moonlight portrayed the body’s transformation from soft to hard, Marco Berger & Martin Farina’s film Taekwondo is something special. As this film for me showcased how one’s conflicted emotions can have an effect on how the body can be viewed. We essentially have these gorgeous men, and they all live in the same house, their bodies in the beginning are shown to be these beautiful Greek like statues and all manly. Only for that to be taken away and replaced with a softer side as the feelings develop. The films homoerotica treats the male body as if it were a female’s body in some steamy mainstream film, using shots and angles to express the fragility of the male body (these shots are what Hollywood typically uses to show the female during sex/steamy scenes).
Yikes I wrote a lot for the body so I’ll keep this one short. One of the big themes in most queer films is identity, and watching these characters search for their own identities is something extremely relatable to the queer viewer, while at the same time exposing the complex nature of human emotions and conditioning. The central emotions of the queer character is usually shown to always be in conflict. The showing of the conflict is sometimes expressed externally through the interactions the character goes through, for example in Teenage Kicks, when the lead character’s emotions finally start becoming conflicted because of his sexuality so do the interactions, everything becomes chaotic, and seems like he is headed down a rough path. Though it is noted that when the character finally understands the fluidity of his sexuality his world becomes much calmer and a wave of healing and acceptance begin.
Teenage Kicks and many other queer films also expose one emotional element in queer cinema that is really shocking (but not surprised) and painful. That emotional element is the aggressiveness the hetero world has towards the queer character, especially when other characters learn about the sexuality of the queer. In Teenage Kicks, when the lead finally tells his best friend how he feels about him, it takes a dark turn as the best friend sexually assaults (rapes) him. Afterwards the best friend seeks forgiveness and the lead gives it to him because there is this need in queer characters to have some sort of acceptance from the hetero world, no matter the pain experienced.
Okay, okay this one will be short. The environment is an important element in queer cinema. As there are no blinds in queer cinema, the world is portrayed for what it exactly is. This violent, queer hating hetero world that contributes to how our queer characters, see and feel (about themselves). Queer cinema’s environment always shows us what’s real and with that sometimes comes, the showcasing of queer characters in a positive image, and allows them to break heteronorms and show us worlds of outlaws and renegades, who bring reliability to the queer in the audience.
So when you’re watching your next queer film, be it Inxeba or Nowhere, think about these elements and see how they contributed to the way the character behaves and how you experienced them.
I hope you enjoyed this little piece, please read my other articles that have been posted on tinycouchreview and read the reviews also thank you