I have often commented on the bravery of bringing LGBTQ stories to our screens from those countries where oppression is still rife. But when this bravery is coupled with a mission to break down the stereotypes and perceptions leading to segregation and discrimination. While exploring culture, identity and history that directly influences homophobic actions. Film can not only open doors to understanding, diversity and cultural change. But also enable wider discussion and reflection on the interface between a countries history and imbedded discrimination. And that is exactly what is achieved through Swedish filmmaker Leven Akin’s new film And Then We Danced.
LGBTQ films that manage to achieve this are rare delights in sea of similarity. But when they do appear, they sear themselves into one’s memory, while equally challenging and changing audience perceptions. From the social isolation of LGBTQ Brazilian young people in Socrates. Through to the rural isolation and community fears of Gods Own Country. Or the power of belief, passion and love against a backdrop of mortality and discrimination in 120bpm.
These are LGBTQ stories that transcend the boundaries of their genre. Dovetailing sexuality and gender identity with wider themes of social and cultural change and belonging. And it is here that ‘And Then We Danced’ shines as brightly as many of its ground-breaking predecessors. Providing us with a journey that not only reflects the cultural and artistic landscape of Georgia. But layers it with a brave and bold journey of both personal and community acceptance. Where the barriers of institutionalised and internalised homophobia find voice in the life of two young dancers. As the power and energy of Georgian dance swirls around their brief but pivotal love affair.
Director: Levan Akin