Tropical Malady, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004

Queer Cinema as Counter Cinema in the 21st Century: Lecture by Nick Davis

Counter Cinema/Counter Media
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 5:00pm

Note location: Cobb 307, 5811 S. Ellis Ave.

Nick Davis, Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University, explores recent practices in global queer filmmaking from artistic, ideological, and theoretical vantages, assessing how they function as “counter cinema” and how they expand or depart from prior, collective impetus within LGBT filmmaking.  Compared to the much-heralded New Queer Cinema of the early 1990s—influenced strongly by postmodernist aesthetics, AIDS activism, and queer theory’s critiques of identity politics—more recent queer cinema is often arraigned as diffuse in both its cinematic and its counterpublic orientations.  This talk confronts two seemingly opposed projects that have been ascribed to recent queer cinema on a global scale: a reclaiming of realism, in both narrative and photographic senses, and a heightening of abstraction, often within enigmatic national allegories that make queer or crypto-queer subjects central to both image and story.  Both of these trends within queer cinema have been frequently indicted as insufficiently “political.”  However, when considered via Gilles Deleuze’s notions of crystalline cinema and of minor aesthetics and politics, each reveals abundant potentials to resist standard ideologies of how images are organized and of how queerness is conceived.

Counter Cinema/Counter Media Series
What is the visual language of opposition? Does the form of resistance matter today? The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality's Counter Cinema/Counter Media Project focuses on film and media practices that use form to resist and "counter" dominant film and media outlets, platforms, and traditions. In 2013, the Project will mount a series of talks and screenings curated by project director Jennifer Wild (Assistant Professor, CMS), and international film programmers, makers, collectives, and critics.