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Queer Region: Closer and Mother/Country + Q&A with Tina Gharavi

This event brings together Tina Gharavi’s work and the ‘Queer Media, Culture, Heritage’ (QMCH) seminar series and project which is led by Gareth Longstaff at Newcastle University. The event and both films connect to the themes of location and dislocation and the tensions between ‘Who we are’ and ‘who we are not’ as queer subjects in the North-East region and far beyond. How this maps into collective and subjective questions of identity, diversity & community will then open up a dialogue around how broader cultural change might be connected to changes in queer community, resistance and performance in a cross-cultural and inter-sectional setting.

Closer (2001, 24 mins)

This experimental documentary is a poignant character study of 17 year-old lesbian Annelise Rodger in Newcastle, England. An official selection at Sundance, the film explores the process of documentary filmmaking and challenges traditional forms of storytelling. Fiction and documentary collide as "scenes" from the main subject's life are reenacted for the camera. Produced without a script and in close collaboration with the subject, the filmmaker presents a hypnotizing array of montages and sequences to introduce the day-to-day happenings of this extraordinary person. From the streets of Newcastle – where we find Annelise speaking frankly to the camera about her experiences as a young lesbian – to the emotionally charged reenactment of her coming out to her mother, what emerges is a remarkable encounter with a young woman, and a story that has broader implications about being young and finding one's identity.

Mother/Country (2003, 24 mins)

At the age of six, director Tina Gharavi left Iran and her mother, to live with her father in the West. She has not seen mother or homeland since. This intensely personal film follows her as she returns to Iran to confront her past and understand why her mother sent her away. As well as filming her own experiences, Tina employs actors to play out the roles of her and her mother as they look on, in order to facilitate communication between the pair. But as the visit draws to a close, her mother remains elusive about why she sent her away, while Tina has a bombshell of her own to drop.

Mother/Country is a self-reflective documentary film, a return journey or self-portrait that deals with emotional issues that are often difficult to confront. A sister-piece to Closer, the film investigates the ‘truth’ documentaries allegedly contain. The film mines a personal autobiography in an attempt to investigate the role of reality in documentary storytelling. ‘Whose truth is this?’ the film asks.

Tina Gharavi is a BAFTA and Sundance-nominated writer and director born in Tehran and now based Newcastle (UK) and Los Angeles. Her debut feature I am Nasrine, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2013. She is currently finalizing development on her next feature film Good Iranian, developed by Film 4/BFI.

Event Information

Running Time: 1hr 30mins

BBFC Advice: TBC

Director(s): Tina Gharavi

Year of release:

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