26 jan. 2022queer loox: A curated selection of queer-feminist films
queer loox has been filling a niche in Luxembourg’s cinematic landscape since its establishment in 2014. Five times a year, the association screens handpicked queer-feminist films at the Rotondes, spanning a wide range of genres, eras and countries. We sat down with Hélène Walland, one of the queer loox members, to find about more about the project and what’s on the agenda in the coming months.
Hélène Walland, queer loox member
Showcasing smaller productions
Whilst diverse in terms of scope, what all the films on offer at queer loox have in common is that they’ve never been released in Luxembourg before. When asked why certain films aren’t shown here, Hélène observes that “We simply don’t have the critical mass. In Paris, you have cinemas all over the city, so obviously you can see pretty much any film you want on the big screen. In Luxembourg, you have two cinemas that feature a mix of mainstream and independent films and the Cinémathèque, where the focus is on film heritage and history.” That’s why queer loox makes sense here; “We can show films that haven’t been released before because they’re too niche.”
Herself a film producer and long-time activist for LGBT rights, Hélène is well positioned to assist with selecting the films; “Because of my job I go to a lot of film festivals and when I see an awesome film, I want to share it.” queer loox is committed to showcasing productions and perspectives outside of the Western European tradition, but she notes that it’s not always easy since fewer films are produced elsewhere and so the pool to choose from is smaller, especially in countries where the state doesn’t recognise LGBT rights. “We have shown work by Iranian and Kenyan filmmakers, though,” she adds.
queer loox also sees itself as a platform for discussion and exchange. The screenings are often bookended by round table discussions, exhibitions or informal chats at the Buvette. Whilst the core audience is from the queer community, the film and event series draws a diverse crowd that varies from film to film. Some niche films have turned out to be really popular, the award-winning Kenyan production Stories of our lives, for example, was a real hit.
Barbara Hammer, Dyketactics, 1974
A varied programme for spring
After kicking off the season with a documentary on Susan Sontag and a 90s comedy-drama called The Watermelon Woman, queer loox has some more treats in store for us in spring, starting with a double bill on the 8th of February. Released in 1999, Monika Treut’s Gendernauts documents individuals from San Francisco’s trans community whilst her film Genderation revisits the same people twenty years later. “It’s really interesting to watch the two films alongside each other,” Hélène notes, “San Francisco is a different place today than it was back then and the perception of trans people has changed quite dramatically in mainstream media and society.”
Next on the agenda is Body : Politics on the 8th of March, which will feature a selection of experimental feminist short films. “We’re really going for avant-garde filmmakers from the 1950s to the 1980s,” Hélène explains, “Over that period, cameras became more affordable and female artists used their body as the medium and the subject of their films. It was about self-representation and empowerment.” She reveals that they’ll be featuring work by Austrian avant-garde artist Valie Export and Barbara Hammer, who was one of the first filmmakers to stage the lesbian body.
Finally, the season will end on a light note on the 5th of April with Hedwig and the Angry Itch, a high-energy turn-of-the-millennium drama about a punk-rock singer from East Berlin. Despite its cult status, the queer loox team couldn’t find any record of it having been released in Luxembourg. “It’s high time it was shown, the film is so much fun!” concludes Hélène.