SQIFF 2019, Glasgow
(Screened at CCA as part of The Scottish Queer International Film Festival, 2019)
Neelu Bhuman has created a sweet, pithy and thoughtful film here, pulsing with beats, vibrancy and multicultural flavours. Created in response to the Trump administration, and featuring trans actors playing trans characters rather than cisgender actors, there are seven standalone films which interrogate lived trans experience. It’s a big bear hug to the trans community.
Najma, starring Harmony Santana, is a magical realism journey of love and acceptance, where music producer Najma has to face off against her partner’s transphobic best friend.
In Nova, the wonderful Aditi Bhuman stands up to a school bully, and there is a touching polyamorous relationship at the core.
What’s refreshing is that nobody is struggling with their identity; no-one is clichéd or tortured, and the utopian vision of a caring society is pitched just right.
It’s very wry and knowing, touching on skewering genres like martial arts or sci-fi, but never in a heavy-handed way, where the audience is force-fed issues.
The very best film is the last. Viva features a dominatrix who turns the tables on a Republican politician. It’s hilarious, audacious and heartwarming all at once.