Following the Nice edition, the Queer Film Festival continues this autumn in Cannes and Toulon, presenting an international selection of films, meetings and talks intended for the general public.
You may not have noticed, but for the past 10 years the Cannes Film Festival has been awarding a special prize – the Queer Palm – to films that focus on feminist issues or the LGBTQIA+ community, that is, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, intersexual, asexual, and all those who do not recognise themselves within the traditional binary system that establishes a distinction between the male and female sex. In 2022 the prize was won by the Pakistani film Joyland by Saim Sadiq, the first film to be presented by that country. The film can be seen or re-seen in Cannes, as part of the In & Out Festival. “Many LGBTQIA+ and Queer festivals have sprung up over the past thirty years, first in Paris, then Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier and the Riviera,” says Jean-Pierre Paringaux, a contemporary art collector who is actively engaged in the fight against sexual discrimination, and one of the main organisers of In & Out. “The events were originally started because these films weren’t making it into mainstream cinemas, since the major film distributors felt they only appealed to a small minority. But the whole point we wanted to make was that these issues should be shown to everyone.”
This is the challenge: to emphasise that viewers have the right to reject certain forms of prevailing ideas and to grant everyone the right to choose their sexual identity. As well as opening people’s minds, the success of these events can be measured by their international reach, as evidenced by the cosmopolitan selection of films in this festival. “The Asian film industry is a big supplier, and even Russia has an underground film community in the galleries. Northern European countries are much more advanced than we are on these subjects, but the situation is changing,” says Jean-Pierre Paringaux. In Cannes, the screenings can be seen in Les Arcades cinema, and the programme is complemented by exhibitions, readings, discussions and meetings with the filmmakers. The issues raised by the film industry are also being addressed elsewhere, for example in fashion and jewellery collections that are breaking away from heteronormative cisgendered compartmentalisation. “In their bios, artists are now talking about their homosexuality and lesbianism, and art schools are helping to change people’s mindsets,” says Jean-Pierre Paringaux. “Nowadays many young artists claim to be trans. The younger generation is more open-minded, less gendered, and more international in its outlook.”