Femme Brutal

DIRECTORS: Liesa Kovacs, Nick Prokesch

Expected to attend: Director Liesa Kovacs, Director Nick Prokesch, Producer Sunanda Mesquita

When all the world’s a stage, crafting identity and desire is a performance that develops with and without an audience. In this Austrian documentary, the seven queer- and lesbian-identified performers who make up the performance troupe Club Burlesque Brutal discuss—in honest, ironic, and often humorous tones—their varied experiences with identity and power. Clips of live performances—which range from raw and political to fiercely sexy—are seamlessly merged with discussions in which the women provide the camera and each other a candid view on the thrills and challenges of performing.

Unpacking a wide range of issues—such as audience gaze, femme identity, and what body parts each is most comfortable exposing (or not)—the women offer varied insights and perspectives that are both political and personal. The women frequently appear united on stage, but the intimate exchanges between performers reveal the often contrasting and unique queer identities of each, both in and out of character. And just as offstage life inevitably influences their performances, their discussions shed light on the ways onstage experiences impact life when all the glitter and costumes are gone.

Although specific to the burlesque troupe, the thought-provoking insights uncovered in this film also touch on broader concepts of performative identity and the creation of a public persona as a source of social commentary and power—issues relevant to a variety of audiences.

— Sophia Lanza-Weil

In German with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D301

Co-presented by:
Center for Sex and Culture
Berlin & Beyond Film Festival (Goethe Institut)

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