At Mezipatra we build bridges and try to connect people through the stories on the big screen. With this year's theme of Breaking the Ice, we want to underline the key aims of the festival once again: we should be seen and heard, communicate our needs, and pull together. In this year’s festival films, I hope that you will find inspiration and new ways of understanding yourself and those around you. We hope to encourage everyone to defend our shared values, even if it sometimes requires stepping out of our comfort zone. It truly is needed.
The festival takes place in the shadow of the act of terror in Bratislava directed against LGBTQ+ communities, during which two young queer people lost their lives. I want to dedicate this year's festival to the memory of Juraj and Matúš.
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM COMPETITION
The ten stories in this year's feature film competition are united by the protagonists’ courage to dash towards an ice wall.
While Mira from Breaking the Ice tries to overcome her own caution, the characters from the coming-of-age road movie Swing Ride and the horror thriller The Attachment Diaries struggle to understand the newfound intimacy they’ve rashly plunged into.
Joanne from The Five Devils, Lieutenant Eismayer, and Paloma the farmer gradually discover that the inevitable final step towards their own authenticity will also be the hardest. However, the musical fantasy Will-o'-the-Wisp proves the relief it brings is worth it.
The Polish drama All Our Fears shows that breaking the ice means giving things their true names. Socially critical Concerned Citizen and radical satire Horseplay add their urgent voices in the chorus, as both films examine privileged young men and hold up a stern mirror to their hypocrisy.
This selection of five documentaries will take you across genres and continents, offering stories that are romantic, historical, dramatic, as well as ethically pornographic.
An incredible love story is brought by Nelly & Nadine, who have spent a lifetime together despite the cruel circumstances of their first meeting in a concentration camp. Boylesque is an inspiring and amusing probe into the life of a Polish drag queen who, at the age of 80, is still switching dates as fast as her dresses.
In Fierce: A Porn Revolution, feminist porn producers reveal more than just their vision to bring down patriarchy. In turn, Zuhur's Daughters, living in Germany, rebel against their parents' principles on their journey to transition and the right for a teenage party life.
You can reminisce about the magazine that served as a catalogue of men's peculiar outfits, but also as an inspiration for erotic fantasies, in All Man: The International Male Story.
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION
This year’s Mezipatra offers an abundant harvest of short films which we’ve divided into six feature-length blocks. Each of them expresses the diverse identities within the queer community, as well as the necessary cohesion. All collections break the ice in precisely the places that are most fragile, while forming powerful vortices around them. Whether it's the double-edged power of stereotypes, the inability to communicate directly, or the need to stand up for oneself. The protagonists of Boys Don’t Talk and Home, Bittersweet Home are faced with obstacles built by people among each other. In turn, the blocks To the Bone and First Signals show what sacrifices one must make to get one's way. And the stories in Let the Girls Melt and Gender Upgrade remind us that no one can tell us who to be. The only thing that matters is what we choose ourselves.
QUEER KINO PRESENTS
For the fourth year, we are continuing in the tradition of screening selected films from our Queer Cinema distribution brand.
Lola, the winner of the 2020 Audience Award, tells the story of the relationship between the quirky protagonist and her father, whose conservative views of gender complicates their bond.
Amber and Eddie attempt to deal with a similar mentality in their own way. This feel-good summer comedy named Dating Amber takes us back to the mid-1990s, when the queer protagonists start pretend-dating.
We return to the present with No Hard Feelings, a drama about a young German man with Iranian roots who ends up working at an immigration centre because of his thefts. There he meets two siblings and his whole world changes.
The last two films are set among sex workers. While Bliss remains in Europe and follows a brothel romance, Moneyboys teaches us about the Chinese culture of illegal gay prostitution, which is sought after by rich men.
Once again, queer films that transcend festival categories have increased in numbers, and this year, they are joined by a range of student films from Central Europe and Ukraine.
Alli Haapasalo's fresh romantic comedy about three Finnish teenagers, Girl Picture, has already reached an almost iconic status at festivals worldwide. The intimate Elephant depicts the hostile environment of the Polish countryside and the fate of two men who are tired of hiding their love and identity.
The Queer as Film Schools short films block presents the best of queer films made at film schools in the Central European region. And with the Ukraine is Queer series, we also get a perspective that we immensely appreciate - the perspectives of Ukrainian filmmakers who are currently defending their country against the Russian invasion.
Looking at most pictures today, one realizes that queer representation still has to break through the dominant cis-heteronormativity. Let's look back at films that did it with a proper bang.
The arthouse sensation My Life in Pink was one of the first films to depict a gender non-conforming childhood. The story of pain caused by the pressure not to stand out and follow some life template is still poignant and powerful even 25 years later.
In today’s Europe, we can see a disturbing drift towards conservative and populist politics, so it’s empowering to look for any inspiration for activism. Audience hit Pride returns to the mid-1980s, when an unexpected alliance between the LGBT and trade union movements emerged – united by the need to resist Margaret Thatcher's regime.
Cinematically daring films made by lesbians about lesbians can still be counted on one hand, unfortunately. So you shouldn’t miss the chance to see Taiwan's Spider Lilies on the big screen.
Who would we be if we spent our entire lives solely in the safety of our comfort zone? Whether it's new encounters or experience, daring to cross the line between the familiar and the unfamiliar is always a test of our character – but it's also our own choice. Breaking the ice means facing our uncertainties head on. Taking one more step, even though every part of our body is screaming to run away. It's a coming-out and a first date. Starting a new job and confronting your parents. It's deciding to drop out of school and answering an unknown number. This year's Mezipatra wants to emancipate and inspire you to break the ice around you. Step into the cold water with us! Smash glass ceilings, overcome stereotypes, call attention to injustice. The first step is up to each of us.