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The Colors of Life

Oliver Armknecht
Oliver Armknecht

From Brazil to Fuerteventura: Queerness against the backdrop of societal conventions

The Colors of Life

In June, the LGBTQIA+ community traditionally celebrates its Pride Month — with lots of rainbows on Christopher Street Day, the big demonstration advocating the social acceptance of queer people. Just days after the Pride parade on June 21, the Munich International Film Festival is offering another highlight: we’re screening a colorful set of films that approach queerness and diversity from different countries and perspectives.

Even though many societies have grown much more tolerant, being a little different is still problematic in some places. This is what 17-year-old Tiquinho experiences in TOLL. Until now, he has been an openly queer influencer. His mother is not at all happy about this, so she urges her son to undergo conversion therapy. But how will they pay for it? The protagonists in VIÊT AND NAM fare a little better. At least the two young men, who work side by side in a coal mine, have found each other, even if nobody is allowed to know. But it’s unclear whether their relationship has a future. Haunted by the ghosts of the past, Viêt and Nam are in search of a happiness that no one knows where to find.

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sad jokes

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viÊt and nam
Photo: Nicolas Graux

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Days of happiness
Photo: Laurence Grandbois Bernard

Emma is also at a turning point in DAYS OF HAPPINESS. This talented conductor is about to make it big as she prepares for a major performance. She also has a lot on her mind in her personal life, especially with regard to her father, who is very supportive, but also very demanding. And then there’s her romantic partner, who’s still getting over her previous relationship with the father of their daughter. Complicated family relationships also come up in the tragicomedy SAD JOKES. This film centers around Joseph, a homosexual film director who has fathered a young son with his best friend. When she’s hospitalized, Joseph is thrown for a loop and has to juggle his family commitments, his filmmaking, and the aftermath of a previous relationship. Things get really chaotic in the comedy STRESS POSITIONS, set in New York City. The coronavirus lockdown confines Terry to his ex-husband’s apartment and forces him to deal with Bahlul, his outrageously good-looking nephew, who is a model from Morocco — and all the other people who show up and cause major commotion.

A similarly wild mixture of different cultural influences awaits the audience in THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS. Here we meet Azra, whose family has emigrated from Pakistan to Canada. As a homosexual Muslim, she, too, is used to straddling a line — especially as her conservative mother doesn’t think much of her lifestyle. But when a tragedy occurs, Azra realizes that she and her mother have more in common than she might admit. Identity is also a major theme in ALL WE EVER WANTED. This plot, too, starts off with a difficult mother-daughter relationship. However, this leads to Désirée, her lover Elias, and her gay friend Sal embarking on a journey of self-discovery across Fuerteventura and continually slipping into new roles.

The Queen Of My Dreams Online3

THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS

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woman of ...

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ALL WE EVER WANTED

But what if the role you’ve been assigned isn’t right for you? Two other films being screened at the Munich International Film Festival deal with such cases. WOMAN OF... tells the story of Anieli. Born as Adam, she tried to fulfill everyone’s expectations: as Adam, she keeps up appearances, gets married, and starts a family. But over a long period, the protagonist becomes aware that she is a woman inside and takes up a struggle that lasts several decades — with the sole aim of finally being allowed to be herself.

The title character in JOSEFA’S RETURN has already completed her transition. After more than 40 years, she returns to the village she’d grown up in and stormed out of. Still known as Josef there, she must confront her past and figure out how to reconcile her memories with her life in the present day.

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