Provincialising heterosexuality

Queer style, World Cinema

Authored by: Rosalind Galt , Karl Schoonover

The Routledge Companion to World Cinema

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138918801
eBook ISBN: 9781315688251
Adobe ISBN:


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Queer theory has always asked what counts as a queer text. Is a queer film one made by a filmmaker who is queer, or featuring queer characters, or does queerness rather inhere in a film’s political commitment or its affective registers? Is queerness a matter of form? Ten years after the Museum of Modern Art in New York curated an exhibition of LGBT films from around the world, confidently entitling it “Another Wave: Global Queer Cinema”, can something like a coherent queer global style be identified? Queer cinema speaks to world politics, whether in relation to globalisation efforts by governments, corporations and NGOs, or in human rights debates, conflicts around national and regional sovereignty, anti-homophobia grassroots organising, or fostering cultures of resistance. Where Western-centric understandings of both film history and queer experience have often viewed Euro-American practices as a norm against which the rest of the world could be compared (and with which it has to catch up), our work begins from an assumption that queerness––in whatever form or style it takes––shapes and always has shaped the world. In contrast to narrow definitions of queer cinema that focus only on Western forms and LGBT identities, we insist that all non-normative modes of being and the texts that register them contribute to queer cinema and its global life. To think queer cinema in the world, we must shift our perspective towards our understanding of film history and of the place of sexuality and gender within it.

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