This is how Capharnaum begins its onslaught of bleakness, in a statement reflective of emotional exhaustion rather than genuine financial interest. The origin of these words is twelve-year old-Zain and his decision that comes after a lifetime of abuse, neglect, and poverty. The film’s narrative expands as the child explains what has led him to the courtroom in which he stands, through a series of flashbacks leading to his arrest for “stabbing a son of a bitch,” and his counter-accusation against his parents.
Adolescence is an important time for all of us. It’s a rollercoaster of unexplainable emotions – emotions that often cannot be accurately captured in words. It’s the first time we feel attraction, discover sexuality, and explore romantic relationships. It’s a crossroads for all, but it can be especially painful for LGBTQ+ youth. While heterosexual and cisgender teenagers will see their own desires reflected in the rest of their community, their trans and same gender attracted counterparts can often experience the throes of adolescence in complete loneliness.
Much of French filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s work focuses on the unique conflicts of adolescent life. Her camera juxtaposes the joy of new maturity with a fear of the unknown, calmly recounting the stories of strikingly individual characters. Her work is best watched collectively, for maximum appreciation of her minimal style, but if you’re looking for somewhere to start, take a look at the summaries below.
It’s almost that time of the year again. Red carpets are being prepared, critics are gathering their caffeine tablets, and social media is beginning to buzz about the latest and greatest films from across the world. Cannes Film Festival has always marked the film calendar with ingenuity and controversy alike, and this year is no different. Dramas this year include a return of Nazi-sympathiser Lars von Trier to the lineup after a supposed seven year ban, a long and exhausting battle with Netflix (in which nobody really won), and a lack of female directors in competition (a dismal 14%). On the other hand, the 3 Days at Cannes programme will allow 1000 young cinephiles access to one of the most exclusive film events of the year, the competition jury is majority women, and Cannes’ very first Kenyan feature – discussed below – will compete in the Un Certain Regard section. One step forward, two steps back.
Regardless of all this, we’re excited because Cannes always means one thing: fantastic films. In preparation for the festival, we’ve put together a short list of those premieres that we’re most keen to see.
Independent filmmaking has always been the driving force behind new cinematic boundaries, and the up-and-coming filmmakers of today are no different. Interdisciplinary short-film series ‘Draping’ focuses on the under-examined subject of black femme identities and centres the voices of these identities in its examination of a myriad of complex issues – ranging from mental health, to queerness, to colorism, spirituality and motherhood.
We’ve been lucky enough to interview co-creators Kennedie King and Tiffany Ike and took the opportunity to ask them a few questions about their inspiration, the process of film-making on a micro-budget, and the necessity of black female voices in the media.
Approximately seven months ago, I started off this blog with a list of lesbian rom-com recommendations. At that point, myself and Dilara had no idea how far Much Ado could go; for all intents and purposes, this blog would be a place where we could occasionally throw written work, the odd opinion piece, or a review that required a platform slightly more formal than letterboxd.
Nine regular writers, twelve guest writers, 136 posts, 2700 twitter followers, and ten festivals later, Much Ado About Cinema has become a space where young developing critics can hone their skills and produce content for a new generation of film fans. For a while now, I’ve been wanting to do a follow-up post to my very first article – a continued vent about the wonder of the lesbian romcom. These five films may be slightly rough around the edges, with some even veering into cringeworthy territory, but they all provide the kind of gay warm fuzzies that every queer woman deserves.
Show Me Love/Fucking Åmål (1998)
Potentially more of a romantic drama than a true romantic comedy, ‘Show Me Love’ provides an insightful tale of teen love that will resonate with any lesbian who crushed on the popular girl in high school. Agnes is a depressed, closeted sixteen-year-old with a passionate love for Elin, an outgoing but bratty teen. Both girls are unhappy with their lives in different ways; Agnes is lonely and stuck in the juvenile social class of “weirdo outcast”, whilst Elin is bored with her seemingly perfect life. After a cruel kiss on a dare, Elin becomes intrigued by Agnes, and their mismatched romance flourishes through the peaks and troughs of adolescent life.
As I sit here, I am trying in vain to find something positive to say about this film. I have no doubt that ‘Snapshots’ is a labour of love – independent filmmaking always is – yet, the result is such a twee, cringe-worthy mess that I cannot consciously recommend the experience to even the most dedicated of lesbian cinephiles.
The film revolves around a tri-generational family of women. Allison (Emily Baldoni), a young woman amidst in conflict with an absent husband, visits her grandmother Rose (Piper Laurie) with her mother, Patty (Brooke Adams) in tow. Allison and Patty are constantly at each other’s throats, with Rose situated firmly in the middle of these tensions. Through a series of flashbacks, we discover that Rose hides a secret that may provoke further strife – the love of her life was not Patty’s father, but an enigmatic redhead named Louise.
Anahita Ghazvinizadeh is certainly a filmmaker to watch. A student of Abbas Kiarostami, the writer-director already has a Cinéfondation First Prize under her belt, picked up in 2015 with her short film ‘Needle’. Now, Ghazvinizadeh’s debut feature casts a careful eye over the subject of childhood gender-fluidity, the pressure of conformity, and the construction of identity.
J (Rhys Fehrenbacher) is an introspective adolescent who takes hormone blockers to prevent the onset of puberty. This is a temporary measure, we learn in the film’s opening, as J’s medical tests suggest that a decision must be reached soon, lest their health be put at risk. J’s life is at an impasse as they float between childhood and adulthood, unable to progress until they tick a box: B or G.