Queer Cinema of the New Millennium: Auteurs, (Meta)Narratives, Perspectives (Panel)


Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Francesco Pascuzzi (Rutgers University)

Sandra Waters (Rutgers University)

New Queer Cinema as defined by B. Ruby Rich in the early ‘90's described a movement in queer independent filmmaking that confronted and politicized LGBTQ themes and culture. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and the fight for equal rights, titles such as Norman Rene’s Longtime Companion, Jennie Livingston’s Paris Is Burning, and Todd Haynes’ Poison rejected the perceived need to normalize the queer experience to the benefit of a presumed straight, cisgender, white audience and instead focused their attention on the portrayal of different gender and sexual identities, queer activism and sexuality; the avant-garde documentary style of several of these titles further enhanced the impact of these stories by making them look real.

Queer film had of course always existed (Cocteau, Genet, Warhol, Fassbinder), but Rich correctly identified the rise of a movement which mobilized a more cohesive and rigorous approach to queer narratives that challenged traditional views and at the same time, expanded and re-qualified notions of a homogeneous pool of spectatorship. In 2000, Rich declared the movement extinct due to its failure to find a place within mainstream Hollywood cinema; Joanne Juett and David Jones, however, correctly pointed out that queer cinema never ceased to exist and that New Queer Cinema “has re-emerged in its revised, expanded form in the 21st century.”

This panel aims to explore the reemergence of a third wave of queer cinema that is shifting focus to become increasingly self-reflexive and introspective. Several recent queer films directed by and/or written by and/or starring queer artists/characters (Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, Andre Techine’s Being 17, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Color, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, Erlingur Thoroddsen’s Rift, Mikko Mäkelä’s A Moment in the Reeds, just to name a few) mobilize and investigate narratives in which queer individuals from different social, cultural, and otherwise formative backgrounds negotiate idiosyncrasies and face conflict and opposition indigenous to their experience as part of the queer community itself. This suggestive topic begs to be further investigated.

This panel aims to explore the (re)emergence of a new wave of queer cinema that, over the course of the past two decades, has given rise to auteurs and narratives that consider the complexity of queerness through and beyond matters related to visibility and acceptance. Different theoretical frameworks are welcome, and relevant comparative studies among American, European, and/or non-Western cinema are strongly encouraged.