1775 Ammonite

Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in 'Ammonite'.

Pink Screens is back with a rock-solid edition

Niels Ruëll

Honks and bells, Pink Screens is getting ready for its twentieth edition. From Ammonite to Moffie via Große Freiheit: the pink film festival has a programme to excite and interest you.

Pink Screens is certainly not a safe space for people who do not tolerate great films. The Brussels queer film festival has packed its anniversary edition with it.

Oliver Hermanus' tantalizing Moffie is even material for year-end lists. The South African, who earlier proved his great talent with Skoonheid, portrays a white eighteen-year-old still struggling with his sexual orientation who is drafted by the South African army in the early 1980s. It turns out to be a disgustingly racist, homophobic and anti-communist environment. It's incomprehensible that the cinemato­graphically and substantively rock-solid hybrid of Claire Denis' Beau Travail and Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket has remained so far under the radar.

The Brit Francis Lee also had the brutal misfortune that his follow-up to the acclaimed God's Own Country was ready while the cinemas had to close their doors. Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) star in Ammonite, a deliberately sober costume drama about the love between two women.

Hopefully, the measured Große Freiheit will soon get a chance in the arthouse circuit. Austrian Sebastian Meise deservedly won prizes at the Cannes Festival this summer for his modest but sharp prison drama. A gay man who survived the concentration camps then lands himself in jail among homophobic murderers because of his orientation.

With the theme “Meanwhile in the East”, Pink Screens aims to support the resistance against the encroaching religious conservatism and the so-called “LGBT-free zones” in Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary.

Nabil Ben Yadir shows that there is also work to be done closer to home. The Brussels native, who launched his film career with the loafer comedy Les Barons, this time strikes a sledgehammer blow. For Animals, he was inspired by Ihsane Jarfi, who was murdered by homophobes in Liège in 2012. It promises to be a solid edition.

11 > 20/11, various locations, www.pinkscreens.org

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