Lionel Soukaz (b. 1953) is one of the pioneers of French queer cinema. His work, especially in the first part of his career, reflects a synthesis of the various avant-garde movements he was drawn to in the 1970s and 80s. Affiliated with the activists and intellectuals of FHAR (the Homosexual Front for Revolutionary Action) and the magazine Gai Pied, such as Guy Hocquenghem or Copi, he was also active within the experimental film scene, working to promote Super-8mm filmmaking at the Festival des Cinémas Différents (Hyères) or Cinémarge (La Rochelle), and ultimately organizing his own event in 1978: the first Gay and Lesbian film festival in Paris, “Écrans roses et nuits bleues.”
His own films are unlike any others, then or now, displaying an uncompromising commitment to self-narration and the expression of desire, as well as embodying his unlimited craving for freedom – as a result of which his work has often faced censorship. Rediscovered in 2004 thanks in large part to the advocacy of French critic Nicole Brenez, his early film work has been lavishly restored by the CNC (French National Film Board), with the creation of beautiful new 35mm prints. These programs represent the North American premiere of the new restorations, and, thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Soukaz will be here in person to present them!
Co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and by MIX NYC, producer of the NY Queer Experimental Film Festival, which will be taking place in November (www.mixnyc.org).
Special thanks to Lionel Soukaz, Stéphane Gérard, Stephen Kent Jusick (MIX NYC), Cassie Blake (Academy Film Archive), Kristen Fitzpatrick (Women Make Movies), Barbara Hammer, Jim Hubbard, and Greta Schiller & Andrea Weiss (Jezebel Productions).