Op-ed: Queering the Cannes Film Festival
BY Moira Sullivan
May 30 2012 12:20 AM ET
For me, we were the Queer Palm. We embodied the principles of our mission in our vision and teamwork. We exhaustively dissected each film that was on our program. Many of them were obviously not queer. But we loved them anyway for their unique perspectives. Franck told us that the definition of "queer" cinema would be of meaning to a young spectator seeing the Queer Palm winner, and would know it was a representation of him or herself. For this reason, even if Dolan (or his producer) may not have not wanted us to award the significance of his film, we chose Laurence Anyways — a prophetic title for us. The French queer press in Nice and a Cineffable programmer in Paris agree. It is a paradox that what is obviously queer runs the risk of being ghettoized at a box office. Sometimes it does work like that. Dolan's film that was in the division Un Certain Regard went home prize-less from the "official juries" and snubbed the Queer Palm.
The Queer Palm may not make a real dent in the architecture of the pageant now, and it may take 10 years to do so. But queer audiences know of the Palm award. Regardless, making your way through the jungle of Cannes is often depleting, and for the queer spectator it's best to note the invisibility, continue to affirm queer identity, and not internalize the forces that don't matter.
When people unknown to each other assemble from all parts of the world and meet, they create a "dragon." In the spiritual sense a dragon is created out of order and chaos, the bound and the unbound. We are the mirrors of the conventions of society, and we have completed an odyssey, on a vision quest that has liberated those frozen steps. This is one memory I will cherish forever. Je t'embrasse toujours.
MOIRA SULLIVAN is a film critic with Fipresci Movie Magazine International and San Francisco Film Festivals.com
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