Lesbian is a powerful short film based on a poem of the same name by Lisa Luxx, also the film’s writer, and is definitely worth a watch. Its main theme is fighting back against invisibility and erasure. Luxx is able to touch upon seemingly innumerable ideas in a very short space of time but the crux of her argument is that lesbians like herself, and the word lesbian, are ignored and pushed to the sidelines in the common discourse on queerness.
This is supported in visuals of a series of women who have all been painted to blend in with the backgrounds of their homes: left to sit quiet, docile and forgotten. It conveys incredibly clearly how it must feel to be invisible and consigned to the sidelines, even in your own home. Luxx herself is anything but docile, performing the poem with an incredible passion and energy that jumps off of the screen and bleeds through the speakers, demanding that you too feel that frustration that comes from being ignored for too long.
In Lesbian, Luxx also stresses that she and the rest of the queer community need to take back the word lesbian, arguing that it has become fetishized and watered down so much that people are uncomfortable even saying it. This is a perspective which I had never really considered but, as soon as I heard it, I realised the truth in her words. I often substitute lesbian for gay or queer without even realising it, feeling like the word didn’t quite fit correctly into my sentences. Luxx by comparison luxuriates in enunciating those three syllables again and again, using them and the film to stand tall and cry out proudly proclaim who she is. Not queer. Not gay. A les-bi-an.
As Lesbian goes on, these previously quiet women seem to take inspiration from Luxx’s words, scraping off the paint which made them blend in until they are visible once again. They don’t scream or shout, or kick over tables, but there is a powerful determination in how they boldly refuse to be a part of the furniture any longer.
Lesbian goes to show the great power words alone can have when delivered with a full-bodied and emotional performance. Recommended to anyone and everyone with a mere five minutes to spare; just make sure you have some time alone to digest it afterwards.
Lesbian was shown as part of the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival 2021, held in Cardiff for its 15th year from Tue 5-Sun 10 Oct. It’s available to watch online until the end of the month. More info: here
Dir: Rosemary Baker (no rating, 5 mins)
words JAMES REYNOLDS for BUZZ CULTURE
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