What stands out for me when tracing a string connecting all the films we have watched and discussed over course are politics of representation. By this I mean the visibility of queer sexuality, gender, queer families and kinships, relationships, and bodies. Questions were raised regarding the purpose: Was it personal? Was it political? Was it authentic? In what ways is queerness deployed in film, by whom and for whom?
My favorite film(s) that we watched over the course were But I'm A Cheerleader (an old favorite), and By Hook or By Crook (which I had not seen until our viewing last Wednesday). I am pleased with the deployment of camp within But I'm a Cheerleader, both for the affect of humor, but also for the spaces and contexts in which more serious conversations can occur. When showing this film to friends, questions would come up about medicalization of LGBTQ folk and approaches of psychological violence through cognitive behavorial therapy and electroshock therapy. "Is this real?," folks would ask.
In By Hook or By Crook, I love how the possibility of queerness as central, rather than on the periphery, allows for the recognition of a queerness that is not read in comparison (or in opposition to) heteronormativity. The depiction is not utopic. This isn't because there is something less desirable about queerness, but because life in general can be incredibly complicated, trying, and messy at times. I believe it presents an aspect of realness.