Museum of the Moving Image
Co-presented by Cinema Tropical
LGBTQ Brazil celebrates the Brazilian LGBTQ community’s contribution to contemporary cinema with a unique lineup of recent films, all screening in New York for the first time. As framed by Brazilian and American scholars, including Denilson Lopes and Ruby Rich, the early LGBTQ films of the 1980s and ‘90s were a protest against heteronormativity, a turn away from universal humanism to political pastiche, camp, and burlesque. And while Brazil may have largely missed this first wave—a key director, Karim Aïnouz, did not emerge until Seams (1993) and Madame Satã (2002)—it is exhilarating to see its LGBTQ cinema flourish today.
Brazil’s contemporary LGBTQ directors embrace plurality. Taviniho Teixeira, in Sol Alegria, demonstrates a strong satirical bend and influences from Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Pier Paolo Pasolini to Brazil’s Cinema Marginal and Tropicalismo. The film’s protagonists—renegades, circus performers, nuns, and priests touting guns and staging orgies—flaunt every cultural and social norm. Ismael Caneppele’s debut, Music For When the Lights Go Out, centers on gender performativity; Luiz Roque’s short, Heaven, depicts the demonization of transwomen in a futurist scenario, while Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Búrca’s short, Terremoto Santo, explores the complexities and perils of religious fervor.
A number of featured filmmakers experiment with mixing sci-fi, horror, music video, and the musical. In Uirá dos Reis and Guto Parente’s feverish Sweet Amianto, Leonardo Mouramateus and Andreia Pires’s choreographed Vando Vulgo Vedita, Fábio Leal’s light-spirited The Daytime Doorman, and Daniel Nosco’s fetish-driven Sr. Raposo, fluidity and play take center stage, against the poignant evocations of violence, fear, and discrimination. Meanwhile We Are All Here and Bixa Travesty are both potent love poems to trans performers’ spunk and courage.
Programmed by Ela Bittencourt