//Documentaries

Room for a Man

Sunday: 29/3 @ 7:00 p.m. - Venue: T2F, Karachi

Directed by: Anthony Chidiac  |  Country: Lebanon and USA  |  Year: 2018  |  Duration: 77 min  |  Language: Arabic, French with English subtitles

 

The first thing Anthony says about himself is that life scares him, and he is paralyzed by fear. He lives with his mother, a French teacher, in Beirut, and rarely leaves the house. His home is a refuge, but in some respects also a prison.

“Room for a Man”,  an intimate documentary about a memoir of Lebanese filmmaker Anthony Chidiac himself, explores identity and family history, first through discussions with the Syrian builders refurbishing the Beirut apartment he shares with his mother; then by traveling to Argentina with his formerly estranged father. Favoring artful, static camerawork and a yearning voiceover, this hypnotic personal essay meditates on masculinity, sexuality and a lifelong quest for acceptance. 

 

Call her Ganda

Tuesday: 24/3 @ 6:00 p.m. - Venue: Mocca Coffee, DHA phase 5, Lahore

Directed by: PJ Ravel  |  Country: USA & Philippines  |  Year: 2018  |  Duration: 93 min  |  Language: Filipino, Tagalog, English with English subtitles

 

The 2014 murder of a transgender Filipino woman by a US Marine provides the jumping-off point for this potent and eye-opening documentary, which delivers history lessons about America’s presence in the Philippines, the latter country’s transgender community, and the rise of dictator Rodrigo Duterte. The movie isn’t overwhelmed by any of these subjects; director PJ Raval fluidly interweaves them into an effective nonfiction legal drama that charts the fallout of the murder and the Marine’s subsequent trial. Raval also paints a commanding portrait of Meredith Talusan, a transgender Filipino-American journalist who devoted years to report on the case. Her tireless efforts to make the world know about the murder—and what it reveals about unchecked American privilege—prove her to be an exemplar of journalistic integrity. In English and subtitled Tagalog.

 

Yours in Sisterhood

Sunday: 29/3 @ 5:00 p.m. - Venue: T2F, Karachi

Directed by: Irene Lusztig  |  Country: USA  |  Year: 2018  | Duration: 101 min  |  Language: English with English subtitles

Irene Lusztig’s performative, participatory documentary is inspired by the breadth and complexity of letters that were sent in the 1970s to the editor of Ms.- America’s first mainstream feminist magazine. The film documents hundreds of strangers from around the U.S. who were invited to read aloud and respond to these letters written by women, men, and children from diverse backgrounds. Collectively, the letters feel like an encyclopedia of both the 70s and the women’s movement- an almost literal invocation of the second-wave feminist slogan “the personal is political.” The intimate, provocative, and sometimes heartbreaking conversations that emerge from these performances invite viewers to think about the past, present, and future of feminism.

 

Normal

Monday: 23/3 @ 6:00 p.m. - Venue: Community Space, Lahore (for info email: lahore@aksfestival.com)

Directed by: Adéle Tulli  |  Country: Italy and Switzerland  | Year: 2019 |  Duration: 70 min  | Language: Italian with English subtitles

 

Adele Tullis’s formally straightforward but aesthetically convincing documentary examines rigidly defined gender roles and the uncritical submission to the dictates of (hetero)normativity. Turning her camera’s gaze on everyday actions, rituals, and scenes, the director makes some of the situations she records seem disconcerting by juxtaposing sounds and images in a contradictory montage. In long, static shots she depicts girls being made up to look like princesses; a father accompanying his son to a motorcycle race, and a group of screaming teenage girls having their photos taken with an idolized YouTube star. She also shows boys playing first-person shooter games and Gotcha; she follows the photoshoot of a newly married couple, watches hen nights getting out of hand, films a course designed to show young men how to become alpha males, and another in which women learn how best to serve their husbands in marriage. Tulli remains consistently observant, almost distant, throughout. But in the end, we realize that this succession of countless uncommented stereotypical actions does contain a commentary after all.


Changing the Game

Sunday: 31/3 @ 6:00 p.m. - Venue: Venue: NCHR  (for info email: karachi@aksfestival.com)

Directed by: Michael Barnett  |  Country: USA  |  Year: 2019  |  Duration: 82 min  |  Language: English with English subtitles

 

For young transgender athletes, the sport they love often turns into a minefield of controversy. Either decried as cheaters if they excel, or barred from competing among the gender they identify with, positive outcomes are rare. But when a sport is a lifeline, what is fair? This exceptional film mines that question through intimate portraits of three trans athletes. Mack isn’t allowed to wrestle boys in his home state of Texas, leaving him to demolish the competition as he wrestles girls. Sarah nordic skis in New Hampshire with the girls she identifies with but admits that she holds herself back. And Andraya runs track with girls in Connecticut but has to fend off brutal criticism when she prevails. For these athletes, media attention and ugly remarks only fuel the fire of confusion that is teenagehood. 

 

Man-Made

Saturday: 28/3 @ 6:15 p.m. - Venue: HOPE, Lahore(for info email: hope.positive.expectations@gmail.com)

Directed by: T Cooper |  Country: USA  |  Year: 2018  |  Duration: 93 min  |  Language: English with English subtitles

 

T Cooper, a trans* activist, and filmmaker take us into the heart of transgender male (FTM) culture, revealing unexpected truths about gender, masculinity, humanity, and love. Four trans men take a variety of life paths toward stepping on stage at Trans FitCon, the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world. Rese is a young father struggling with periods of homelessness; Dominic seeks out his family of origin, confronting an alternate history for himself; Kennie admits to himself and his loved ones who he is for the first time in his life; and Mason, a loving husband who struggles with mental illness, works daily to be the man he always wanted to be on both the inside and out. We follow their emotional and physical journeys as they navigate lives as the men they are, despite very real risks inherent in the current social and political climate. For them, it’s not about winning, it’s about being seen.

“Man-Made” is a character-driven, intimate, and riveting verité-style competition film, but also a unique social justice narrative. It speaks to the ways in which we all choose to define and reshape ourselves, both figuratively and literally.