Having failed to break into professional opera in his native Germany (where, as an usher in West Berlin's Deutsche Oper, he would serenade the staff after the 'real' performances were over)... See full summary »
Karl Foyle and Paul Prentice were best mates at school in the Seventies. But when they meet again in present-day London things are definitely not the same. Karl is now Kim, a transsexual, ... See full summary »
Khoi, a naive twenty-year-old, travels to Ho Chi Minh City from the countryside to begin a new life. It's his first time in the big city and he's looking for a place to live. He befriends ... See full summary »
Ngoc Dang Vu
Manh Hai Luong,
Vinh Khoa Ho,
Linh Son Nguyen
Joaquin (Polo Ravales), an unassuming fisherman, is forced to confront his homosexuality when his sex-starved wife Cynthia (Althea Vega) returns from her overseas job eager to get pregnant.... See full summary »
Fernando, a.k.a. Fernanda, a 19-year-old Brazilian transgender woman, travels to Milan and becomes a prostitute to finance sex-change surgery. Fernanda dreams of becoming a "real" woman, ... See full summary »
Ingrid de Souza,
Felix is secretly in love with Ralph. This doesn't seem to be the biggest problem. But Felix is 15 and Ralph his 34 years old soccer coach. They meet every day in an ambush. One day Felix ... See full summary »
A portrait of the last days of high school. Two friends spend all day long together, but this will inevitably come to an end. A beautiful sincere story of mixed emotions and secrets that dare not speak loud.
Juan Felipe Villanueva
Fifteen-year-old Beni falls in love with Fögi, a singer in a Rock band. As Fögi seduces him, Beni is willing to follow him where ever he takes him. But Fögi is a drug addict and pulls Beni ... See full summary »
Urs Peter Halter
n a time, when Islam is under tremendous attack-from within and without-'A Jihadfor Love' is a daring documentary-filmed in twelve countries and nine languages. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has gone where the silence is strongest, filming with great risk in nations where government permission to make this film was not an option. A Jihad for Love is the first-ever feature-length documentary to explore the complex global intersections of Islam and homosexuality. With unprecedented access and depth, Sharma brings to light the hidden lives of gay and lesbian Muslims from countries like Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, France, India, and South Africa. The majority of gay and lesbian Muslims must travel a lonely and often dangerous road. In many nations with a Muslim majority, laws based on Quranic interpretations are enforced by authorities to monitor, entrap, imprison, torture and even execute homosexuals. Even for those who migrate to Europe or North America and adopt Western ... Written by
Director Parvez Sharma himself wrote the detailed plot outline here at IMDb about this documentary on gay and lesbian Muslims struggling to reconcile their religious faith and their homosexuality in the homophobic Islamic world. Most of the interviewees are outcast, exiled men and women leading secretive, guilt-ridden and sometimes even sexless lives away from their native countries, family and culture. Some have escaped prison or execution, but continue to be segregated in their exile, this time not because of their sexual orientation but for their Muslim faith or ethnic background.
In one of the film's most shocking scenes (for a non-religious person like myself), an outcast South African gay Muslim scholar politely confronts an imam, stating that the Qur'an lines that rule homosexuality as an aberration (similar to what the Old Testament says) is a problem of translation and interpretation, since the original Qur'an verse condemned male rape, not gay sex. The imam bluntly responds that the issue is not open to ANY interpretation; what CAN be open to interpretation, says the imam, is the punishment to be applied to homosexuals: stoning, whipping, imprisonment, death, etc.
The people in this film are dreaming very simple dreams: to be able to live in their native countries, near their families, to cherish their cultural background (of which religion is a big, big part), and to be granted the basic universal right to have a sexual and love life without fear of being humiliated, imprisoned or assassinated. "A Jihad for Love" tries to clarify the notion that it's not the fundamentals of Islam that reject and condemn gays, but the men who control the interpretation of sacred texts: the religious bosses who, in those countries, are also the political bosses.
A kin film to Sandi Dobowski's "Trembling Before G-d" (which covered similar ground within orthodox Jewish communities), "Jihad" is of course urgent and important. Yet it lacks cinematic lure, not only technically (it's visually very poor), but also because it's more of a journalist's piece than an elaboration on the theme. "Jihad" can't help being a little repetitive -- most of the interviewees' stories are very much alike, most of them can't show their faces -- and incomplete -- most of them seem reluctant or frightened to tell their full stories and even their real names for fear of retaliation.
As most non-orthodox gay Catholics, Protestants and Jews have learned in the last 100 years -- through generations of courageous men, women and organizations, and with many casualties along the way -- it's only possible to be religious AND gay in a lay state, where law and religion are independent, where religious faith is an individual right and not a public dogma. There will always be prejudice against gays in every society (gays will always be minorities), so it's the changes in the legal system - - the right of gays to freely express and exert their sexuality and the possibility of legal punishment for sexist behavior -- that will gradually force non-gays to accept the fact that gays are their equals.
Though the film tries to instill the hope that Islam will eventually soften its heart and tolerate gays, reality shows us, sadly, very much the opposite: that intolerance against any type of minority (sexual, racial, religious) grows rougher and stronger every day in all cultures where orthodox monotheist religions thrive. And that the only possible choices left for Muslim gays and lesbians, right now, are -- tragically, inconceivably -- either the closet, exile or self-denial, with punishments varying from humiliation, self-repression, sexless lives, emotional and psychological ravaging to physical torture, imprisonment, death. Foucault knew what he was talking about.
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