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WIPCAD Movie & Discussion Series - Moving pictures of gender: Cinematic insights into a wicked social category

Do you want to watch good movies? Do you care to broaden your horizon in an informal setting? Are you open to engage with a new topic and be challenged? Join us for interesting and enjoyable six films in six weeks, starting on Tuesday 29 April and then every Monday at 6pm. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

This film and discussion series will be an opportunity to look at gender and related issues such as sexual orientation and identity more generally. We'll think about gender as a 'wicked' category, created and (re-)enforced through society and public administration (only think of forms, male/female toilets, institutions like marriage etc.) All are welcome, regardless of background, whether you've got previous knowledge on gender or not. We look forward to seeing you there.

The event is organized in cooperation with WIPCAD, PCPM, Chair of Gender Sociology and Netzwerk Interdisziplinäre Geschlechterforschung.

  • <address>Time: 6 pm (s.t.)</address>
  • <address>Location: University of Potsdam, Campus Griebnitzsee, Building 7, Room 227-229</address>
  • <address>Program as Download: here</address>

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The Program - six films in six weeks:

29 April 2014
"That's so Gay!”. Gender & Sexuality in Education. Film: FIT
+ Celebrating Difference
, Stonewall, 2010 – Introductory Session

A recent proposal by the in Badenia-Wuerttemberg to mainstream sexual diversity throughout the curriculum has given rise to heated public debates. In the UK, many schools, primary and secondary, already use materials to discuss issues around sexual orientation and gender identity with students.

Produced for secondary schools, but also successfully screened at international film festivals, the film FIT is an intelligent, powerful and entertaining film that tells the individual stories of six young people who think that all they have in common is dancing. In an up-beat format, this film works on different levels as it introduces issues around language, identity and sexuality.

FIT, together with a short snipped of Celebrating Difference, which was produced for primary schools, are an ideal kick-start of this series on gender as a wicked issue. These films invite to a discussion about concepts and terminology and link to current debates in Germany on the role of the state in shaping society, sexuality and identity through education.

5 May 2014
"Sewn Identities". Film: La piel que habito, Pedro Almodóvar, 2011.

Surgeon Robert Ledgard was successful in cultivating artificial skin. Vera, a young captured woman is used by Robert as guinea pig. Zeca, Robert's half-brother and bank robber arrives after a hold-up looking for a hiding place. The not welcomed Zeca finds Vera and rapes her. A clash breaks out after Robert entered the situation. Peu à peu a sophisticated story evolves that ties the involved together. The dichotomy of (self-) identification and alterity, an interplay of revenge and love as well as the iron curtain of biographical path-dependency are the driving moments that make this movie exceptional. In the light of a far away, abstract, heterogeneous setting the engaged viewer becomes confronted with the "making up" of identity and belonging. Gender relations, coming in from the back door, raise ethical questions of the integrity of creation. Pedro Almodóvar invites us to an irritating voyage through manifold obsessions as betrayal, anxiety, loneliness, sexual identity and death. "The skin I lived in" is a modern and complex adaption of the Frankenstein theme that offers deep insights of human desires.

12 May 2014
"When friends are all you've got". Film: Saturn in Opposition, Ferzan Özpetek, 2007.

Davide and Lorenzo, a gay couple, live happily together surrounded by their long-time friends: Antonio and Angelica, a married couple with two children; Neval, a voluble Turkish interpreter and her submissive husband Roberto; Sergio, an aging and sensitive gay man; Paolo, a new friend of Lorenzo’s; Roberta, beautiful, expert on horoscopes and heavily into drugs. Love, stability, apparent harmony will be put at stake when a sudden tragedy happens, and little and big secrets will emerge. The power of friendship pulls the group of people together, but is that enough to face problems? What if your form of family – with your same-sex lover, your friends – is not considered by the law, invisible for the State?
Ferzan Özpetek and Gianni Romoli offer us a realistic, moving film on gay love and true friendship, totally far from clichés, where joy, drama and hope are perfectly balanced. Without being openly critical about the Italian situation, the authors introduce the audience to the possible problems that homosexual couples can meet if a legal status of their unions is inexistent.

19 May 2014
"Living Beyond Categories". Film: XXY, Lucía Puenzo 2007.

Since the end of last year birth certificates for babies born with "ambiguous genitals" in Germany can be issued without having to choose between the male/female binary. This option reduces the legal pressure on parents and their intersex children. But the social reality of growing up between or beyond these categories remains harsh. The Argentinian film "XXY" portrays this struggle from the point of view of the 15-year old Alex who, supported by hormones, has been living as a girl until the point where the film sets in. While her mother looks out for options to finalize the female assignment surgically, Alex drifts towards the other pole and stops taking the hormones. While he embraces his male genitals making love to a boy, he has to deal with society's intolerance in a gang of teenagers harassing him. Taking the film and the Alex's fate as our starting point we will reflect on the prerequisites for acknowledging gender diversity socially, politically and legally. We can address issues such as "corrective" surgery, pronouns, discrimination at the restroom door and the overall question: why do gender identities diverging from the societal standard engender so much hatred and fear?

26 May 2014
"A queer love story?". Film: Laurence Anyways, Xavier Dolan, 2012.

"Is this a revolt? No, Sire, it's a revolution." In the context of the 1789 France, this sentence, pronounced by the Duke of Liancourt to Louis XVI, meant the disruption of social and political norms, from the Ancien Regime to a new social order. In the 1990s Montreal, it's also about norms and social order. Laurence Anyways tells the story of an impossible love between Fred and Laurence, an author and teacher, who reveals his inner desire to become his true self: a woman. In a very epic and aesthetic way, Xavier Dolan, the Canadian "wunderkind", depicts an absolute love story, far away from clichés and stereotypes. The film raises issues which are not limited to any social groups: How far will you go for love? And: How does society react to people who are seen as "different" in order to protect social order? And what if marginality and normality were actually not more (and not less) than a product of this order? In this sense it's not a "queer" love story, but a love story between two people, embedded in a particular social context.

02 June 2014
"Kill Bill - The LGBTI Movement in Uganda". Film: Call me Kuchu, Katherine Fairpax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, 2012.

Legislation criminalizing homosexuality was already quite strict in Uganda before this new law came into force at the beginning of 2014. And yet, despite this, there is a strong network of local activists using existing laws to fight discrimination. One of the most vocal and brave activists was David Kato who was killed in 2011.

This engaging documentary follows the Ugandan lesbian, gay and bisexual community’s fight for human rights at the time before and beyond David Kato’s death. In a powerful and empowering way, it gives a face and a voice to the headlines in recent months.

With this last film in the lecture series, we will be able to discuss issues around universality of human rights versus arguments of cultural imperialism. Furthermore we will critically reflect the role of donor countries with their colonial legacy, EU external action and the way the ‘international community’ deals with these developments.