08/04/2024 | Writer: Kaos GL

We’ve curated a list of queer-themed films which will be featured at the 43rd Istanbul Film Festival, hosted by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts from April 17-28.

43rd Istanbul Film Festival’s queer-themed films Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Woman Of…

Here is the trailer of the film:

“Often taking interest in matters of body, transformation, and societal conflict, Polish directors Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert in their most recent film tell the story of the transformation of an individual set against the landscape of the Polish transformation from communism to capitalism. Selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival, Woman of... spans the life of Aniela Wesoly, who lived more than half of her adult life in a provincial Polish town as a man. Aniela’s journey to find personal liberty as a trans woman reveals hardships in marriage and parenthood, strained family relations and complicated attitudes in her environment, which constantly place her in impossible situations. What choices will Aniela have to make? Will she be ready to sacrifice all to become who she truly is? According to The Hollywood Reporter ‘as much as an individual character study, the real strength of A Woman of... is as an unconventional love story.”

You Burn Me

Directed by Matías Piñeiro, here is the introduction of the movie:

“Questioning the limits of film and film adaptations, dreamy, beautiful both in image and content, image and sound (music composed by the actress Gabi Saidón herself), You Burn Me might be described as experimental cinema, image fragments, poetic philosophy, or simply as visual poem. Argentinian director Matías Piñeiro’s You Burn Me is an adaptation of ‘Sea Foam,’ a chapter from Cesare Pavese’s Dialoghi con Leucò, published in 1947. The ancient Greek poet Sappho and the nymph Britomartis meet beside the sea and have a conversation about love and death. ‘Everything dies in the sea and comes back to life,’ says Britomartis in You Burn Me that was shot in 16mm, and premiered at the Berlinale within the Encounters section.”

The Summer with Carmen

The trailer of the film directed by Zacharias Mavroeidis is as follows:

“While enjoying a day at Athens’ queer beach, Demosthenes offers to help his bestie and aspiring filmmaker Nikitas in drafting an idea for his feature debut, inspired by the events surrounding a certain dog named Carmen. The plot involves Demosthenes, stuck in Athens during the summer, who reaches out to his ex, Panos, who gets an overly cute doggy Carmen, and immediately regrets it. As they discuss the film, the two friends question the hero that transforms through the story while turning a page in their long-lasting friendship. A delightful, lighthearted comedy which describes itself as ‘fun, sexy, Greek, and low-budget,’ The Summer with Carmen premiered at Venice Days in September.”


The trailer of the movie directed by Sally El Hosaini, James Krishna Floyd is as follows:

“When Luke stumbles across an underground nightclub he meets Aysha, and their first kiss yields fireworks. Spending more time together, they soon reveal their double lives: a single father working as a mechanic, Luke’s world is grey, austere. While Aysha’s world is adorned with sparkly dresses and colourful makeup, to her suspecting parents, he is Ashiq. Premiering at Toronto Film Festival’s special presentations, Unicorns gently navigates the emotional journey they go through as their awkwardness melts away, but will they be able to see who they truly are across colours and across cultures?”

Pet Shop Days

Directed by Olmo Schnabel, here is the introduction of the film:

“The adrenaline-filled, sure-to-shock debut film of Olmo Schnabel (son of Julian Schnabel) follows two young bohemian young adults’ coming of age in New York through mischief, trouble, and lethal family issues. In an act of desperation, impulsive black sheep Alejandro flees his home in Mexico to New York City. There he meets Jack, an aimless 20-year-old pet store employee. Both spoiled by their wealthy parents and in search of a moral foothold, the two enter a whirlwind romance sending them down the rabbit hole of drugs and depravity in Manhattan’s underworld. With cameos from Peter Sarsgaard and Maribel Verdu, and executive producers including Michel Franco and Martin Scorsese, Pet Shop Days is shot on grainy 16mm film evoking 1990s independent cinema as well as Andy Warhol and Larry Clark. Pet Shop Days premiered at the Venice Film Festival’s Horizons Extra section.”


The trailer of the film is as follows:

“The directorial debut of Belgian-Congolese rapper and visual artist Baloji, Omen is a visually stunning film about prejudice, identity, and social injustice. The film follows Koffi, one of these four characters, who is banished from his hometown in Congo. Fifteen years later, Koffi returns to confront his past and find redemption. Employing a unique blend of realism and fantasy, Omen explores the weight of beliefs on one’s destiny through four characters accused of being witches and sorcerers, all of them intertwined and guiding each other into the phantasmagoria of Africa. Belgium’s Oscars nominee, Omen features a diverse cast of professional and non-professional actors from Congo, Belgium, and France. Four music albums, each written from the point of view of the four characters, were written and published by Baloji.”

Meze-Music-Muhabbet by Ferzan Özpetek, Passage by Levan Akin

The Istanbul Film Festival will also feature “An Istanbul Trilogy: “Meze-Music-Muhabbet” directed by Ferzan Özpetek and including Ayta Sözeri as an actress. Here’s a brief overview of the film:

“Ferzan Özpetek’s Istanbul Trilogy explores the rich and deep-rooted tradition of raki banquets, where beautiful people who share life, cheer up or get sad, come together, with the unique beauty of Istanbul in the background, and comprises of three independent stories:

‘Meze’: Life is disappointing sometimes. You might think you’re having your worst day. But if you have close friends with whom you share your life, maybe that day is not as bad as you think... and maybe it is a day worth celebrating. ‘Music’: A childhood memory that you didn’t care about at first can affect your destiny and your future. It can shape how you grow up, what you do, what kind of life you live. Sometimes life gets better with coincidences. ‘Muhabbet’: Missing a person, a city, a friend, a lover is a heavy burden you always carry on your back. You try everything to satisfy the longing inside you. The longing never ends, but you learn to live with it.”

As part of the festival lineup, Crossing (Passage) the newest creation by Levan Akin, renowned for the film And Then We Danced, will be presented. Below is the trailer of the film:

“Set mostly in Istanbul, Levan Akin’s follow-up to the acclaimed And Then We Danced is a touching drama about blood families and chosen families, elaborating on solidarity as a most powerful bond. Described by Akin as ‘my tribute to solidarity and my love letter to Istanbul,’ Crossing follows Lia, a retired teacher, who has made a promise to herself to find her long-lost niece, Tekla. Joining forces in her quest with her young neighbour, whom she feels separated by worlds, she is led to Istanbul, a beautiful and huge city that seems full of connections and possibilities. There, she meets Evrim, a lawyer fighting for trans rights, and amidst alliances and communities she is a stranger to, Lia starts to feel closer than ever to Tekla. Crossing opened the Panorama section of the Berlinale in February.”

For detailed information and the full program, please visit İKSV’s website.

Tags: arts and culture