Continuing our reporting from this year’s Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest (12 to 17 NOV 2019) we take a look at (DEEP) INTO YOU, the festival’s ever-popular sex-, queer- & body-positive short film programme. NSFW (depending upon where you work…).
By RADIANT CIRCUS
(DEEP) INTO YOU conjured a packed house for a series of sex-, queer- and body-positive short films. Free to attend and ‘sold out’ in advance, there was a busy bar packed with ticket hungry hoards on the night too. Last minute change of venue be damned; sex positivity clearly sells…
For anyone of a nervous disposition (and that includes the audience member who yelped in shock at a particularly voluminous female ejaculation…), this strand is full of joyful celebrations of queer sex and bodies from the relatively straightforward on-camera couplings in WELCOME TO ATHENS to the subterranean kinks of FISTING CLUB. And the audience absolutely loved it, almost making the screening an interactive one as the sex on screen is met with their cheers and whoops of joy. Needless to say, every film and some of the creators in attendance got a huge round of applause.
Sometimes ‘queer’ plays out as a dry academic take on LGBT+ issues, but Fringe is always at pains to point out that queer is about a very wide spectrum of desire. Only occasionally do we see typically gay porn bodies on screen. For Raphael Massicotte, director of STARVING BOYS, casting gay porn archetypes was actually the starting point for a more liberating approach following a stifling early career in the porn industry itself. The evening’s wide-reaching survey of desire can be summed up in our screening notes for (EXRACT FROM) THIRD SHUTTER:
“A passionate sex scene with an unexpected penis.”
It’s also a joy watching sex positive films made accessible with the addition of subtitles for the d/Deaf and hard of hearing. Whilst this is a resourcing and technical challenge for any small festival like Fringe!, reading on screen titles like “[Lube squelches – moans]” or “[Slower loud moans]” suggests that the doors are being thrown open as wide as they can be.
Highlights? Of course, your tastes might differ to ours, but we loved the kebab-in-cheek comedy of programme opener and alternative tourist board film, WELCOME TO ATHENS (never has a Greek Salad been so abused…). German entry BRUNCH ON BIKES suggested a very different way to assemble your morning pancakes complete with OTT graphic alternatives for dispensing your batter and dusting your ‘cakes…. We also loved the starkly shot simplicity of Toni Karat’s DRIVEN as two leather-clad butches get it on with the aid of a baseball bat (“Good boi” – main featured image). FISTING CLUB too felt like the real deal, declaring the manifesto of all such films in its climactic “My body, my sensations” even if the film itself could have done with a slightly punchier edit (pun intended).
Two other films really shone. RADIANT CIRCUS had recently screened Dann Parry’s beautiful stop-motion film BIRDS OF A FEATHER at our LUNCHTIME FILM SOCIETY, so it was great to see another film from this animator. LOCK HORNS is a stunning, hand-painted affair, as two gladiator types enter the arena and get it on. As Parry said in the Q&A that closed the screening, “wrestling – kind of dance with punches” gave rise to some seemingly epic (s)expression of pen and porn.
The film that closed the programme – DEEP CLEAN – captured on film a cabaret performance based on one man’s intimate relationship with his mid-century vacuum cleaner. Impeccably staged, shot and performed by award-winning filmmaker David Wilson and cabaret artist Harry Clayton-Wright, this one virtually brought the Rose Lipman house down. Sensational.
Whilst these are shorts we could never show at LUNCHTIME, we absolutely loved all of them and it was great to experience them with a packed, euphoric house. One of the reason they work so well is that many come from the filmmakers’ personal stories, centring the joys of sexual and creative self-actualisation. As Jean-Baptiste Huong, director of BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE (À L’ORÉE), put it:
“I had sex a lot in the woods… the film was inspired by that.”
And that’s the meat of it…
Read our earlier Fringe! writeup: BEING IMPOSSIBLE.
The next short film strand we’ll be reporting from is the very different FISH OUT OF WATER curated by queer young people involved in Project Indigo. We’ll then finish our Fringe! Diaries with horror doc SCREAM, QUEEN!
Here’s Fringe!’s full listing of shorts from this programme:
WELCOME TO ATHENS | dir. Menelas | Greece | 2018 | 7min
You’re invited to discover a different side to the Greek capital in this tourism ad the Athens Tourist Board didn’t want you to see.
BRUNCH ON BIKES | dir. Ethan Folk & Ty Wardell | Germany | 2019 | 2min
A very special food delivery to satisfy your post-sex hunger.
INTRUDERS | dir. Travis Mathews | Brazil | 2019 | 20min
Festival fave Travis Mathews returns with a fun and intimate vignette that intersects class, privilege and sweaty fun.
DRIVEN | dir. Toni Karat | Germany | 2018 | 13min
BDSM? Check. Leather? Check. Two butches get in on some juicy action.
REAL | dir. Josephine Baltzersen | Austria | 2019 | 22sec
Finger rainbow quickies to the front!
CHACON/TRUNK | dirs. Ben Chapman & Adrian Jordan Chacon | Spain | 2019 | 2min
What’s hiding in these swimming trunks?
STARVING BOYS | dir. Raphael Massicotte | Canada | 2018 | 7min
A daddy, a twink, a bear and a hunk go cruising in the Canadian suburbs in this cheeky take on sexy ‘romantic’ comedy.
BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE (À L’ORÉE) | dir. Jean-Baptiste Huong | France | 2018 | 12min
Hirsute alert! As lovelorn Samuel wanders through a German forest he bumps into a sleuth of raunchy bears. This one’s for the pogonophiles.
EXTRACT FROM THIRD SHUTTER | dir. Goodyn Green | Germany | 2019 | 7min
Feast on this delicious slice from the final instalment of Berlin-based pornographer Goodyn Green’s Shutter trilogy.
FISTING CLUB | dir. Shu Lea Cheang | Germany | 2019 | 11min
The first rule about Fisting Club is: you don’t talk about fisting club. Jizz Lee will take you deeeep into this secret society.
SUCKMEOFF, PRINCESS! | dir. Tristan Scott-Behrends | USA | 2019 | 2min
Join the filmmaker in his misadventures on the search for love that only has him find disappointment and blowjobs.
RITUAL WAVES | dir. Lina Bembe | Germany 2019 | 5min
Lina Bembe welcomes you into a calming cocoon of self-pleasure.
LOCK HORNS | dir. Dann Parry | UK | 2019 | 3min
Two wrestlers fighting for domination that ends up in a different sort of tussle.
DEEP CLEAN | dir. David Wilson | UK 2019 | 4min
Cleanliness is next to godliness in this paean to hoover love.
Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest
“Since 2011, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest has been an entirely volunteer-run organisation rooted in London’s queer creative scene. In Novembers, and throughout the year, we showcase an eclectic mix of films, arts and events celebrating LGBTIQA+ stories from around the world, welcoming everybody.”
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