When people come to know I’m an Indian feminist (from India even! That, somehow, is always an extra bonus), after a quick round of, “What do you think about child marriage/sex-selective abortions/sati?” inevitably the question of the film Fire comes up. Hilariously, people are offended that I don’t quite have an opinion or any interest in assessing whether Fire is “really” queer or if it’s simply a story about loneliness (anyone who has ever been a token feminist knows what a blasphemy it is to not have an opinion on the 0.3 topics your opinion is demanded on), and that I’d rather talk about the events the film spurred on.
"I see little of more importance to the future of our country and of civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him."
As the loud and obnoxious daughter of an extremely religious Hindu family, I grew up very fascinated with Ma Kali. Considering the fact that her anger defines her and that she is worshipped for her powers of destruction made me feel less like a freak for being so angry all the time. Today I would tell my 12- year-old self that I wasn’t so wrong for being angry at misogyny or racism, but in those days Kali was a figure I could cloak my my impolite opinions in. I reveled in her anger, and didn’t question this until very recently: Why does our anger need to be subsumed by religion to achieve its legitimacy? I’ve always thought of her as "the Avenger," a more radical version of Durga even, but at the time I didn't really ask why most representations of "anger" onscreen need to fit in an "avenging goddess" narrative.
With its thumping soundtrack, glitz, glamour, tragic romance, and frenzied edits, you'd know this thing was a Luhrmann production from a mile away. And if opinions around the Bitch office are any indicator, you either LOVE it or you LOATHE it. To help you further appreciate (or hatepreciate as the case may be) the Great Gatsby, let's look at the trailers all of Baz Luhrmann's feature-length films (don't worry, there are only five) and rate them on what I'm calling The Luhrmann Index.
Andi and I saw this movie on Friday so that you wouldn't have to, but if you do decide to go, besides the obvious product placement—copies of the book pop up nearly everywhere but in sonograms—here’s our list of 10 things you can expect from What to Expect When You're Expecting.
The sixth annual Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival (or QDOC) is happening this weekend at the Kennedy School (nearby our office!) You can check out the full line-up of films at their website, but read through for some of our picks—from peeking inside the Celluloid Closet, to the openly-gay '70s superstar that never was, and a meditation on South African artist and activist Zanele Muholi. And if you're not in Portland, make sure these films and filmmakers are still on your radar!