Itâ€™s that time of the year when cine-gluttons get ready to witness the largest and the grandest of all Asian film festivals: The International Film Festival of Kerala. With a whopping 13,000 registrations for delegates, the 21st edition of the festival is being held in Thiruvananthapuram from December 9-16.
A medley of 184 films from diverse genres including masterpieces from across the globe- international classics, Indian and regional gems, and also a carefully curated collection of films on social change- will be screened at the IFFK.
One such collection is the category of â€śGender Benderâ€ť, which includes a list of 6 films in total.
Sheetal Shyam, a transgender activist appreciated the much needed space given through cinema to the often ignored subject of gender diversity and sensitivity. Ka Bodyscapes, a film she starred in, had garnered much controversy, before finally making it to the festival. Her film, however, is not in the category of â€śGender Benderâ€ť.
The film festival adorns many more gender sensitive films that travel beyond the boundaries of a single category. Hereâ€™s a list.
1. Being 17
Director: Andre Techine/ France
A story of two boys in the midst of their adolescence battling with their sexuality to reach an inevitable awakening.
Show-timings: Dec 10: Ajanta @ 9:45 am
Dec 14: Ajanta @ 9:45 am
Director : Pepa San MartĂn/Chile, Argentina
The film views a lesbian marriage from the perspective of a 13-year-old girl, Sara, who in the backdrop experiences her own sexual awakening as well.
Show-timings: Dec 10: Kalabhavan @ 11:45 am
Dec 11: Sree Padmanabha @ 5:45 pm
Dec 14: Sree Padmanabha @ 6:15 pm
3. The Summer of Sangaile
Director : Alante Kavaite/Lithuania, France, Netherlands
A tantalizing tale of a 17-year-old girl, Sangaile whose obsession with stunt planes leads her to meet her counterpart- a vibrant and impulsive Auste - who helps her to come out of her inhibitions and embrace her true self.
Show-timings: Dec 10 : Sree Padmanabha @ 2:45 pm
Dec 11 : Kairali @ 11:30 am
Dec 14 : New Screen 1 @ 8:15 pm
Director : Elia.K.Schneider/Venezuela, Uruguay
A family man and a successful lawyer, eventually decides to risk it all and come to terms with his sexuality and undergo a gender reassignment surgery. The film elucidates the struggles and triumphs of Tamara Adrian, the first transgender candidate to be elected to the National Assembly of Venezuela.
Show-timings: Dec 10 : Nishagandhi @ 5:45 pm
Dec 11: New Screen 1 @ 9:15 am
Dec 12: Kalabhavan @ 6:15 pm
5. The Neon Demon
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn /Denmark, USA ,France
After her 16th birthday Jesse moves to Los Angeles to pursue her career as model. But exposed to a competitive and cannibalistic fashion industry, she is met with ruthless women who would do anything to take her place.
Show-timings: Dec 10: Ajanta @ 3:15 pm
Dec 11: Dhanya @ 9:30 am
Dec 13: Remya @ 9:45 am
Director : Reza Mirkarimi/Iran
A young Iranian woman, breaks free from a conservative family to set forth a journey to Tehran, all by herself, to meet friend who is leaving Iran for good. The troubles and tribulations that travel follows, forms the crux of the narrative.
Show-timings: Dec 10: Ajanta @ 8:45 pm
Dec 12: Remya @ 9:45 am
Dec 13: Dhanya @ 6:00 pm
Director: Leena Yadav/India
Set in the backdrop of a parched rural landscape of Rajasthan, India, this is a story of four women, Lajjo, Rani, Bijli and Janaki, who continue to lead their ordinary lives, amid their daily chatter about men, sex and life; while battling their own demons on the hindsight.
Show-timings: Dec 10: Kairali @ 8:30 pm
Dec 14: Remya @ 9:45 am
8. Oscuro Animal
Director: Felipe Guerrero/Argentina, Colombia, Greece, Netherlands
In a war-torn region of Colombia, three women are forced to flee their homes, and embark on a treacherous journey to start a new life.
Show-timings: Dec 10: Sree Padmanabha @ 6:15 pm
Dec 14: Kalabhavan @ 11:45 am
Dec 15: Kairali @ 9:00 am
9. Anatomy of Violence
Director: Deepa Mehta/Canada,India
Exploring the idea, â€śWhat makes a monster?â€ť, the film reviews the fateful night of December 16, 2012, when a young woman was brutally raped by six men in a moving bus in New Delhi.
Show-timings: Dec 11: Kairali @ 8: 30 pm
Dec 15: Ajanta @ 12:15 pm
Director: Paul Verhoeven/France
A successful CEO of a gaming company, MichĂ¨le is a strong and an unsympathetic woman both in her professional and personal life. She embarks on a journey to hunt down her rapist and seek revenge, but instead finds love.
Show-timings: Dec 11:Dhanya @ 6: 00 pm
Dec 12: Ajanta @ 6:15 pm
Dec 13: Sree Padmanabha @ 2:45 pm
11. Sand Storm
Director: Elite Zexer/Israel
A woman in a Bedouin village is confronted with an awkward task to host her husbandâ€™s second marriage to a much younger wife.
Show-timings: Dec 11: Ajanta @ 9:45 am
Dec 12: Dhanya @ 9:30 am
Director: Sudhanshu Saria/India
A weekend spent with friends who rediscover themselves through nostalgia and confessions, while on backdrop a silent and unexpected love blossoms and entangles them.
Show-timings: Dec 12: Kalabhavan @ 11:45 am
Dec 13: Sree @ 12:00 noon
Dec 14: New Screen 3 @ 12:15 pm
13. Quick Change
Director: Eduardo Roy Jr./Philippines
Manilaâ€™s transgender community have girls who compete at beauty pageants and perform at talent shows to earn a living. Beauty is all they have, and they go to all measures to attain it, often artificial. Caught in this web the film explores their obsession, and the dark reality of the society which perceives them derogatively.
Show-timings: Dec 13: New Screen 1 @ 2:45 pm
Dec 14: Sree Padmanabha @ 5:45 pm
14. Front Cover
Director: Ray Yeung/USA
Ryan Fu is chasing his dream job as a celebrity fashion stylist. A gay chinese American who detests his Asian heritage, meets an actor Ning looking toward re-establishing his Chinese heritage, but conceals his true sexuality. Their ideas clash, yet they grow intimate and eventually Ningâ€™s sexuality is exposed in media.Now, Ryan has to choose between himself and Ningâ€™s reputation.
Show-timings: Dec 14: New Screen 1 @ 9:15 am
Dec 15: Sree Padmanabha @ 2:45 pm
15. Something Must Break
Director : Ester Martin Bergsmark/Sweden
A story of love between an androgynous Sebastian and Andreas who is not gay, stands against the sophisticated Swedish society which tries to pull them down into becoming ordinary, something they unitedly detest. And, how in the process Sebastian decides to let loose the true self hiding within him.
Show-timings: Dec 15: New Screen 1 @ 8:15 pm
Dec 14: Sree Padmanabha @ 11:45 am
16. Ka Bodyscapes
Director : Jayan Cherian/India
A painter, a rural kabaddi player and an activist refusing to conform to dominant norms of femonity, explore themselves and struggle to find their position in the world.
Show-timings: Dec 15: Kalabhavan @ 8:45 pm
Dec 16: Nila @ 3:30 pm