Lesbian Camp: Pumping Iron II: The Women by George Butler

Selina Robertson Writing

By Annette Kuhn. I observed that the all-female audience in the packed auditorium responded gleefully as one, talking back to the characters, cheering on the “goodies”, booing the “baddies”. Everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time.

The image is a colour screenshot from the film But I'm a Cheerleader. It shows a life-size model of a pale blue living room, with a false fireplace and false window. Two characters in pink dresses and grey aprons are pushing pale blue vacuum cleaners from opposite sides of the room. An older woman in a pink cardigan and skirt sits on the floor instructing them. Another character in pink sits sideways on a chair in the background.

Lesbian Camp: But I’m a Cheerleader by Jamie Babbit

Selina Robertson Writing

By Clara Bradbury-Rance. Jamie Babbit’s characters have a habit of wreaking as much as havoc as possible, romantically or otherwise, in the cisheteropatriarchy. This politics is profound but it’s also pink, personal, parodic and it pops.

The image is a still from a colour film. It shows a dark-skinned woman's face in extreme close up against a black background. She is looking off to the left, and her eyes are bloodshot as if she has been crying. She is dramatically lit, with the left side of her face in shadow.

Culture Club: Watching SHE MUST BE SEEING THINGS by Sheila McLaughlin

Selina Robertson Writing

By Jacob Engelberg. Where Sheila McLaughlin’s 1987 lesbian-feminist film She Must Be Seeing Things goes, heated discussions follow. The film doesn’t, however, provide simple answers to the questions of power, gender, desire, and paranoia that it raises. Instead, Seeing Things stays with the tensions and contradictions around these issues, giving form to them in ways that have proven, over time, both alluring and troubling.

The image is a still from a colour film, watermarked CINENOVA in the upper right hand corner. It shows a dark-skinned woman wearing a silver blouse and grey slacks. She is standing behind a camera on a tripod. There are camera lights in front of her, and an abstract black and white image on the wall behind her.

Culture Club: Watching A PRAYER BEFORE BIRTH by Jacqui Duckworth

Selina Robertson Writing

By Lucy Howie. Sitting in the Cinenova online archives is the work of lesbian, feminist filmmaker Jacqui Duckworth, whose semi-autobiographical film A Prayer Before Birth (1991) has remained untouched by secondary scholarship. I felt a sense of urgency in writing on Duckworth, whose name I had not encountered before and is one that could so easily disappear from contemporary lesbian feminist collective consciousness.

The image shows the back cover of the book Paradise Rot. There is a pink filter over the image. The back cover features a white moth and pink print that looks like lichen. It has a blurb text that reads: "Jenny Hval creates a parallel world that's familiar but subtly skewed. As intriguing and impressive a novelist as she is a musician, Hval is a master of quiet horror and wonder." The blurb is by Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick. There is a second copy of the book face-upwards beneath the main copy, and some drooping pink tulips in the top left hand corner of the image.

Culture Club: Reading PARADISE ROT by Jenny Hval

Selina Robertson Writing

By Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou. During the second lockdown, I started to reread Jenny Hval’s Paradise Rot. Looking to Hval’s novel, I wanted to see the beauty in it all, the thread of life holding it all together, the brownish stain of the rotting apple leading us outdoors, into light, into spring, into a reinvigorated and reconstituted sense of self.

Culture Club: Watching IT’S A SIN by Russell T. Davies

Selina Robertson Writing

By Annie Ring. Davies’ show robs Jill of ambivalence in a way that made me wonder how we can avoid our queer kinship relationships being complicit with neoliberal reductions of the state. Thinking through ambivalence, as I do below with reference to Roszika Parker’s feminist psychoanalysis, can help us by contrast to build more critical kinship for viral times.