From Printed Sunset (2017), dir. Andrés Baron (courtesy Finn Paul)

From every end comes a new beginning, or something like that, said every Hallmark condolences card ever. Yet while many perceive death, departure, and other endings to be bitter pills, Representations of Leaving: Queer Death and Heavens, a film program organized by curator and filmmaker Finn Paul, imagines these markers of change as something more complex. 

Screening this Saturday at Anthology Film Archives as part of its ongoing series, The Cinema of Gender Transgression: Trans Film, Representations of Leaving presents a curated program of experimental shorts focused on experiences of loss, rebirth, and queer utopia. Originally presented at LA Film Forum in June, the East Coast iteration of this program features some notable swaps and additions, including Barbara Hammer’s 1974 classic Dyketactics (which I remember squealing in delight over, when I first saw it as young, not-yet-out queer) and Nguyen Tan Hoang’s Forever Bottom! (1999), a delightfully erotic ode to bottomhood and embracing your switchier-side. More melancholic essay films such as Pol Merchan’s Pirate Boys (2018) and Ana Galizia’s Unconfessions (2018) offer visually seductive elegies to punk icon Kathy Acker and Brazilian actor and theater fixture Luiz Roberto Galizia, respectively, while Jodi Darby’s Culturetrauma (2017) meditates on the specter (and spectacle) of death more broadly. 

Joan Jett Blakk Announces her Candidacy for President (1992), dir. Bill Stamets (courtesy Finn Paul)

As impeachment gets underway in the US, there’s something nostalgic about the program’s inclusion of Joan Jett Blakk Announces her Candidacy for President — Bill Stamets’s documentation of Blakk’s historic, if ill-fated, run for office against ole H.W. Bush. The drag alter ego of artist, activist, and recent Queer|Art Prize winner Terence Smith, Blakk was the first Black drag queen to run for national office, and one can only imagine what a different (perhaps more utopian) world we’d be living in now if she had “lick[ed] Bush” in ’92. 

Filmmaker Ana Galizia and programmer Finn Paul will be present for a Q&A after the screening.

When: Saturday, December 14, 7 pm

Where: Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue, Lower East Side)

Tickets: $12 and can be purchased at the box office on the day of the screening

More info at Anthology Film Archives

Dessane Lopez Cassell is a New York based editor, writer, and film curator, as well as the former reviews editor at Hyperallergic. You can follow her work here.