official section:
Institut Francès, Barcelona

Among the documentaries on the FIRE!! programme this year, Queerama is perhaps the most totemic. This dazzling spectacle of image and music, created from cinematic treasures conserved in the archives of the British Film Institute, not only presents a masterful review of the history of homosexuality in film, but also illustrates how creative activity can help to speed up social processes, in this case in favour of LGBTI rights through the Seventh Art. Queerama traverses nearly a century of gay history on celluloid. Starting with the first gay relationship on film, in Different from the Others, released in 1919, Queerama includes both fictional stories and documentary narratives like those that we present at FIRE!! this year. In these works, creativity always embodies a vital, powerful weapon against discrimination and social invisibility, if not actual physical torment. All this is illustrated brilliantly by Ins A Kromminga’s drawings in Entre deux sexes, a piece that denounces the arbitrary approach of modern medicine to “reassigning” genitalia to intersex people.

Life and Death of an Architect takes us back to the shuttered world of the Balearic Islands in the nineteen-fifties, where Josep Ferragut, unable to live his homosexuality openly, took refuge in methodical architectural creations. In Love, Cecil, we see how Cecil Beaton, a vital artistic force but not for that any less closed in terms of his sexuality, bequeathed us some of the “campest” creative heritage in history, from the extravagant costumes of My Fair Lady to his acclaimed set designs for Gigi. In the field of poetry and painting, As cartas do Rei Artur enables us to discover the work of Cruzeiro Seixas, a member of the Portuguese surrealist movement still active today, and his intense relationship with the Portuguese painter Mário Cesariny. Although they were prevented from using their creativity as a tool to gain greater visibility, at least art may have been for them a comforting and indispensable companion in their lives.

Antoine Leonetti, Co-director of Mostra FIRE!!