In her stunning poem on immigration entitled “Home,” Kenyan-Somali poet Warsan Shire writes “no one leaves home unless / home is the mouth of a shark.” As the so-called “immigration debate” wages on in American politics and media, many glibly wonder why refugees flee from their homes. In UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA, director Tom Shepard provides a profound rebuttal to immigration critics by highlighting the lives of four LGBTQ individuals fleeing for their lives and finding refuge in the United States.
For Cheyenne and Mari (Angolan), Subhi (Syrian), and Junior (Congolese), seeking asylum is a matter of a new life in the US or an almost certain death in their countries of origin due to their sexual identities. But as all four learn, even with a team of lawyers, and new-found friends, the road to asylum is an uphill battle that can take years. Shephard’s work is a timely portrait of the painful struggles and small joys of refugees seeking asylum in the United States.
The opening scenes of Simone Godano’s AN ALMOST ORDINARY SUMMER present two dramatically different Italian families arriving, to their shared surprise, at the same property for their summer holidays. Disagreements about what constitutes a good time – loud music and banana boats or sipping wine and peaceful contemplation – immediately become a source of tension, though these arguments are just the beginning.
The plot quickly thickens as Tony and Carlo, the family patriarchs, reveal that they’ve fallen in love. The shared property was part of a scheme to come out to their loved ones all along, and what’s more – they’re getting married! But the story doesn’t end once the secret is out. Both Tony’s daughter Penelope and Carlo’s son Sandro join forces to try to sabotage the impending marriage between their fathers. Will Penelope and Sandro succeed in splitting their fathers apart, or will the marriage go on without their blessing?
Part underdog sports story, part Priscila, Queen of the Desert-esque road trip saga, Maxine Govare and Cédric Le Gallo’s THE SHINY SHRIMPS is an instant queer classic. Matthias, a top French swimmer, is striving to get a last win under his belt before he retires, but all his plans change when he lets loose a homophobic comment during an interview. His punishment? Matthias must coach an LGBTQ water polo team, The Shiny Shrimps, to their Gay Games debut in Croatia in order to return to his own competitions.
While Matthias is initially selfish with his time and resistant to working with the Shrimps, the team’s heart and the influence of his own daughter change his priorities. Still, the task ahead of Matthias is not an easy one, and wrangling these Shrimp into competition shape will be full of surprises for this not-so-queer professional athlete.
This fun but still emotional film brings its audience along for the ride as The Shiny Shrimps face issues of identity, athleticism, and roadblocks along their way to Croatia. THE SHINY SHRIMPS reminds us to face the hard-hitting realities of life, in or outside the queer community, together, and maybe with a bit of campy humor.