The Bloomington PRIDE Film Festival is an annual weekend of non-stop LGBTQ film screenings and events. It is an integral part of fostering diversity and community. It gives the LGBTQ community in Bloomington a chance to celebrate our culture, a chance to see ourselves represented in diverse roles in film and a chance to showcase the issues specific to our identities. This year’s selection covered a variety of issues, but it seems as if Saturday night stole the show with its feature film, ‘Boy Meets Girl.’ We are in the process of acquiring some of this year’s titles for our own library, but here’s a re-cap of Saturday night:
Barrio Boy (dir. Dennis Shinners)
A short film narrated by the thoughts of a barber smitten by his client, Barrio Boy is a quirky look at the oppressive effects of hyper-masculine culture. The barber runs through a list of desires–sexual, romantic, and offbeat–all in his head, but never builds up the courage to confess his feelings. It’s a light-hearted take on an often serious issue, transforming a repressed, closeted man into a simple guy with a secret crush. Nonetheless, it offered a humorous possibility of what really runs through the mind of a hairdresser at work.
Electric Indigo (dir. Jean-Julien Collette)
Electric Indigo was the darkest screening of the evening. Indigo, a young girl with her new partner, recounts the story of her grim past. While being raised by her two heterosexual fathers (who are married to one another in a platonic relationship), Indigo’s mother spirals into a ravaged state and is sent to a psychiatric hospital. Her fathers continue living a bachelor lifestyle, enlisting Indigo to help rid them of one-night stands in the morning. Indigo’s mother arrives years later to find that Indigo’s fathers have masked her identity in a series of lies. What follows is a tragic conflict that, ultimately, leaves Indigo completely alone. Though grim in subject, it offered a haunting glimpse into the struggles of an alternative family that surely introduced audiences to something new.
Mindtease (dir. Iris Moore)
In this animated short, a burlesque dancer slowly strips herself bare. The dancer’s audience is filled with stereotypical men who hoot and cheer as each article of clothing is removed. They soon find she is not what they expected to watch, but not to their discontent. Mindtease was a hilarious short that pokes fun at sex and gender conformity.
Code Academy (dir. Nisha Ganatra)
Code Academy takes place in a future where boys and girls are educated separately to avoid gender biases. In their curricula, the students have the opportunity to explore virtual worlds, essentially leaving their physical bodies. The boys and girls find a way to interact in a virtual space called “The Alley.” Some of the characters take advantage of this space to date each other, while the protagonist finds a way to assume a new body. Like the recent film Her, Cody Academy explores the relationship between gender and body, and how these concepts function in intimate encounters.
Boy Meets Girl (dir. Eric Schaeffer)
In this romantic comedy, Ricky, a quick-witted transgender girl, finds herself falling for a girl for the first time. Their romance forces Ricky’s childhood best friend, Robby, to face his true feelings. The entire film transcends conventional notions of sex, gender, and sexual orientation, but also presents an intimate portrayal of a transgender female in modern society. Though she is faced with transphobia and misogyny, she also finds herself attracting several characters and being supported by a loving family. Most importantly, [SPOILER ALERT] the film unapologetically presents Ricky’s transitioning body in the nude, de-mystifying the taboo of bodies that do not conform to the binary norm. Though Ricky is an aspiring fashion designer who is celebrated for her talents, it is in this revealing where she faces her greatest vulnerability and fully embraces her identity. Boy Meets Girl is an important film for understanding and empowering transgender youth today.