From Kaathal to La Vénus d’Argent, Here Are 8 Films To Watch Out For At The Kashish Pride Film Festival This Year

film festival

The 15th edition of South Asia’s largest LGBTQ+ film festival is here, inviting everyone to attend as their true and complete self, heads held high with pride. From 15th to 19th May, the 15th edition of the Kashish Pride Film Festival will screen 133 films from 46 countries at Liberty Cinema, Alliance Française de Bombay and Cinepolis (Andheri West). These films, with their distinct narratives and unique viewpoints, aim to celebrate the joys and triumphs of the community worldwide and ask questions that are long due.

So in case you are planning to book your tickets for the festival, check out these eight highly anticipated titles that will be screened at the five day long film festival.

Kaathal – The Core

Kaathal, a Malayalam courtroom drama revolves around the complications of coming out in a world of personal duty and politics. Mathew Devassy (Mammootty) is a retired bank secretary who reluctantly enters politics for a village by-election. When his wife Omana (Jyothika) files for divorce, Mathew is forced to confront his sexuality and the nature of his marriage in a tight-knit, conservative village community.

Cast: Mammootty, Jyotika, Sudhi Kozhikode, Anagha Maya Ravi

I Am Sirat

This Punjabi-language documentary by director Deepa Mehta tells the story of Sirat Taneja, a transgender woman caught between duty and self-determination. While at home with her widowed mother in New Delhi, she must act as Aman and fulfil the traditional responsibilities expected from a man. But with her friends and at work with the Ministry of Social Defence in New Delhi, she can identify as Sirat, the woman she is. Shot on smartphones, the film has been constructed around Sirat’s lens and gives us a glimpse of the different aspects of Sirat’s life and her longing for acceptance from her mother.

Cast: Sirat Taneja

Mutt

This Sundance Film Festival winner tells the story of Feña (Lio Mehiel), a young trans man bustling through life in New York City when he is faced with an increasingly challenging day. Within a span of 24 hours, his foreign father, his straight ex-boyfriend and his 13-year-old half-sister – people who he lost touch with when he transitioned – are suddenly thrust back into his life. Feña must now figure out the new dynamics of these old relationships while tackling the day-to-day challenges that come with living a life in between.

Cast: Lio Miehel, MiMi Ryder, Cole Doman, Alejandro Goic

Oneness

Oneness revolves around Ivan Martin (Priyakanta Laishram), a young boy from a conservative Christian family in Manipur, India who finds himself developing feelings for Pamheiba (Suraj Ngashepam), a boy from the Meitei community. When their relationship comes to light, Ivan’s family, driven by their beliefs, subject him to conversion therapy. Despite the relentless efforts of both families to separate them, the love between Ivan and Pamheiba only grows stronger. This tragic film sheds light on the challenges faced by individuals who dare to love freely in a society constrained by prejudice and intolerance.

Cast: Priyakanta Laishram, Suraj Ngashepam, Maya Choudhury, Harendra Laishram, Sachinker Sagolsem

Neirud

Filmmaker Fernanda Roth Faya grew up knowing the mysterious Neirud as an “aunt” close to her grandmother. After Neirud’s death, when she tries to piece together family secrets, Faya discovers the colourful life and the secret of Neirud. The filmmaker uncovers Neirud’s controversial ring persona, Gorilla Woman, who toured Brazil as a wrestler in an underground all-female circus troupe throughout the ’60s and ’80s. This is a fascinating documentary about race, identity and queer life in the later half of twentieth-century Brazil.

The Queen Of My Dreams

Fawzia Mirza’s full-length directorial debut is a coming-of-age comedy-drama about Azra (Amrit Kaur), a Pakistani woman living in Toronto and her conservative Muslim mother Mariam (Nimra Bucha). When Azra’s father suddenly dies on a trip home to Pakistan, Azra finds herself on a Bollywood-inspired journey through memories, both real and imagined, of Mariam’s coming-of-age in Karachi and her own youth in Toronto.

Cast: Amrit Kaur, Nimra Bucha, Hamza Haq

Studio One Forever

From 1974 to 1994, Studio One and its adjoining live music venue, The Backlot, became symbols of hope and community for gay men during tumultuous times. Amidst the rise of gay rights, disco’s heyday and the devastating AIDS crisis, the club offered sanctuary from rampant homophobia and police oppression. Fast forward 26 years, as West Hollywood faces the demolition of this iconic building, a community uproar emerges to preserve its history. Studio One Forever is a documentary that delves into the historic club’s story against the backdrop of a progressing gay liberation movement clashing with ’80s conservatism and the escalating AIDS nightmare.

Cast: Chita Rivera, Bruch Vilanch, Thelma Houston

La Vénus d’argent (Spirit of Ecstacy)

Unveiled at the 48th Toronto Film Festival, Spirit of Ecstacy (yes, the name references the iconic Rolls-Royce statuette) is the story of Jeanne Francour (Claire Pommet), a 24-year-old finance prodigy living on a military base with her abusive police officer father and siblings. She is determined to make it in the harsh and discriminatory world of finance, not for the glory or wealth, but because it is her only chance for a road to freedom.

Cast: Claire Pommet, Sofiane Zermani, Anna Mouglalis, Grégoire Colin

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