Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival returns for its 34th edition this weekend to screen acclaimed films about queer communities from all over the world. Kicking off on March 29, the fest is set to take over a few locations, including the Brattle Theatre, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts. Wicked Queer executive director James Nadeau gives us the scoop on five films you don’t want to miss.
1. “The Shakedown”
After spending years filming underground strip clubs run by and for black lesbians in Los Angeles, Leilah Weinraub took 400 hours of reel and made this documentary about a “scene that you would never have heard about unless you were part of it,” Nadeau says. By highlighting the households and warehouses of their operations, Weinraub captures both sweet and intense moments in the lives of the club dancers.
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March 30, 9 p.m., Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, $11
Fresh from its world premiere at SXSW earlier this month, “1985” is a quiet gesture to the AIDS crisis in Texas. Directed by Yen Tan, whose feature “Pit Stop” depicted gay men in the rural south, “1985” meditates on issues of bullying, loneliness and Christianity, in black-and-white 16mm film.
March 31, 7 p.m., Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, $11
3. “White Rabbit”
This dramatic comedy stars Vivian Bang as a performance artist in a blond wig and a white jumpsuit who is simply trying to figure how to be both Korean American and an avant garde creator at the same time. Along the way, she picks up a girlfriend. It promises to be a “art-schooly” film, says Nadeau. “Having gone, I recognize a lot of the humorous moments of it.”
April 1, 5 p.m., Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, $11
4. “Mr. Gay Syria”
Among the diversity of experiences portrayed in this year’s festival, Nadeau notes a focus on immigration and migrant status that were prominent in the national conversation.
“There’s sort of a year-long delay in how [these issues] hit the cultural memory,” Nadeau says.
One of these works is this documentary by Ayse Toprak. When Mahmoud Hassino organized a search for a Syrian candidate to compete in Mr Gay World 2016, he wasn’t only thinking of those who were murdered in hate crimes against gay people — he wanted to focus on the living gay Syrians too. Set in Istanbul, this film travels along with Hassino as he pulls refugees into a swirling world of beauty pageantry, and watches them navigate life in Turkey as stateless citizens in limbo.
April 2, 6:30 p.m., Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, $11
5. “A Moment In The Reeds”
For Nadeau, this is another film that “reminds people that gay people are also refugees, and refugees can also be gay people.” It’s about intimate encounters between a Syrian asylum seeker and a Finland native, along the summer shores of the blue-toned country. Tickets to this film include an invite to a reception afterwards with the director Mikko Makela.
March 29, 7:30 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, $30
If you go:
March 29 - April 7, various locations, wickedqueer.org