Dissertation Defense: Vesna Vravnik
After the Fall of the Pink Curtain: Alliances between Nationalists and Queers in Post-Yugoslavian Cinema. (Supervisor: Mireille Rosello)
My dissertation focuses on the post-Yugoslavian geographic region, where the issue of sexual minority cannot be separated from religion and nationalism. I analyze the concept of gay visibility as understood in the Western perspective and how it transforms when applied to my region of study, paying close attention to the fact that a direct application cannot be undertaken due to the specificities of the region. The corpus of my analysis are four films produced in this region: Fine mrtve djevojke (Fine Dead Girls 2002), Diši duboko (Take a Deep Breath 2004), Go West (2005), and Parada (The Parade 2011). Homophobic violence is present in all the films, sometimes to extreme physical or mental degrees, and sexuality is often inseparable from religious beliefs or ethnic identity. Despite that, I argue that these films are the beginning of an archive of anti-homophobic stories even if the message is never straightforward. They make us imagine ambivalent tactics, pyrrhic victories, and strange alliances, which I view with an eye for the local queer perspective. As I demonstrate, these tactics are solidly anchored in a context that invites ambivalent, oblique, and sometime self-contradictory practices, for example when queers and nationalists become strange or not so strange bedfellows.
By doing this, I want to raise and explore two key issues: an inclusion of queer discourses from the post-Yugoslavian geographic region that will allow a more historically and culturally accurate view of homophobia, while providing another argument for decolonizing non-Western queer discourses.
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