Some stories are not extended through pages and elongated durations. Some stories say what they wish to convey simply in a few minutes. Short movies do the job of catering for the short attention of span of the majority of people and providing a cinematic experience. It is a collection of ideas put together to produce a piece of art which is short and sweet.
Short films usually have an overarching theme that they function on. They commonly have a purpose or an aim, which acts as the reasoning for the making of the film. Social messages are common goals taken up by short movies. Examples of this include queer short films. These stories discuss and dip their feet into queer discourse by picking up certain aspects of the queer experience that intersect with other social parameters.
I. Geeli Puchi
A part of the anthology series on Netflix called Ajeeb Dastaan, Geeli Puchi is a lesbian-centric story about the intersection of queerness, caste, and capitalism. It follows two women, both of very different backgrounds and societal statuses. Bharti is a Dalit woman and butch presenting lesbian while Priya belongs to an upper caste family, destined to marry and hold a higher position in the factory that they both work in.
In an attempt to show how caste and queerness intersect, they also display how in certain ways sensitivity towards both is exclusive and not necessarily inclusive. What this means is that being queer does not always equate to an individual being not casteist and vice versa. The story follows the love story of both these women as two people in love who are of different castes and two different ranks in their jobs due to their caste.
The film shows us that moral ambiguity doesn’t discriminate and that the forces of caste and capitalism can overpower more humane emotions.
The general exploitation of caste and queerness in society is actualised and shown as playing out in a complex situation. The story, unlike many queer movies that show a soul-soothing ending, portrays to us that queerness is deeply interlinked to other societal norms that cannot function without them affecting your queer experience.
II. Birds of Paradise
A 2018 Malayalam short movie, Birds of Paradise is a tale of three transgender women who are shown going about their daily routine and the prejudices they face whilst doing so. One of the protagonists works at the airport and notices the doubtful looks and people unwilling to get their tickets from their counter. They come back home to our second character, who is a sex worker. The film shows the contrast in the lives of two transgender women living two different lives that they chose.
We see the second protagonist get ready to go to work as the third one comes back from their job dressed as the god Krishna. The three share their distinct experiences of being trans in public and private spaces. The film displays that there is no one trans experience in a way that differs vastly. The difficulties, the complexities, and the hardships are diverse and yet the joy and a sense of community are still present. Despite the differences, their experience of being trans allows them to laugh together. The solace they find in coming back to people who understand an ounce of what they go through pushes them to go on.
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