A still from 'Walking the Walk', one of the movies to be screened at the Bangalore Queer Film Festival
A still from 'Walking the Walk', one of the movies to be screened at the Bangalore Queer Film Festival

The ongoing Bangalore Queer Film Festival 2016 was kicked off at the Max Mueller Bhavan on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. Along with the inauguration of the photography exhibition, attendees of BQFF's Day 1 events saw three gems that activist Thomas Waugh uncovered from the Canadian film archives and a performance art relay.

The photography exhibition at Max Mueller Bhavan will remain open till Monday, Feb. 29, and it features the works of Vietnamese photographer Maika Elan. Her series The Pink Choice depict same sex couples and their lifestyle from the length and breadth of Vietnam.

Pakistani artist Ayqa Khan's illustrations, exhibited at the gallery, defies the conventional hairless idea women and celebrates dark-skinned woman in flowery clothes, proudly showing off her hairy armpits and other body parts.

Akshay Mahajan has taken a collection of photographs that show the beautiful and vibrant Hijra community in Bhopal titled The Real Begums of Bhopal. The photo of a woman, casually raising the middle finger at the person on the other side of the frame, stands out in the collection.

The events of the night began with Joshua Muyiwa's welcome speech and the introduction of Thomas Waugh, the Canadian critic, lecturer, author, actor and activist, who explained what decriminalisation of "Unnatural sex" had meant to Canada in the 1960s. The points he raised about the lack of freedom despite the repeal of the archaic law rang true in the three movies he presented.

Also Read: Rishikesh Malkhede on happily married gay couples and their "Battle for 377"

The movies show how pleasure and consensual sex between two adults were still happening in the privacy of public bathrooms. "In Black & White" by Michael McGarry showed how the state was watching the public in their moments of vulnerability and restricted pleasure.

Meanwhile "Ten Cents a Dance: Parallax" pitted lesbian seduction against gay lust, and ended with an ode to technology's influence in heterosexual relationships. The third film screened was "Kipling Meets the Cowboys," which uses a series of explicit cowboy lip sync gang-bangs and the resurrection of Rudyard Kipling to make a statement against the surge of imperialism.

Day 1 of the film festival ended with eleven artists' take on "Body and Vulnerability." Curator Suresh Kumar, Arpitha Gangadhariah, Dimple Shah, Jeetin Ranger, Katarina Rasic, Prasad KT, Ranjana Nagaraj, Raghu Wodeyar, Smitha Cariappa, Sridhar Gangoli and Yash Bandhari showcased their interpretation of the topic in various ways.

Every piece made the viewer think and gave them space to make their own derivations from the five-minute relay acts.

Next day of the BQFF 2016 will take place at both Max Mueller Bhavan and Alliance Fran├žaise. For the complete schedule of events, visit their website.

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