Private Fictions: A Spotlight on Neighboring Scenes

Above: LemebelIn Joanna Reposi Garibaldi’s documentary, Lemebel—an ardent homage to the Chilean artist, essayist and queer activist Pedro Lemebel that opens Neighboring Scenes festival dedicated to Latin American cinema—Lemebel looks at the black-and-white photograph of his adolescent self and his mother, leaning into each other, and croons repeatedly, “My mommy… my mommy.” It’s a moment so whispery and delicate a filmmaker less attuned to its emotional portent would have probably edited it out. But Garibaldi clearly sees her work as a farewell not just to the artist but also the person, an emphasis on affect that cuts across the various programs. When Garibaldi’s film opens, Lemebel, who passed away in 2015, from laryngeal cancer, is already quite frail. His physical state makes for a poignant contrast to his intellectual vitality, as demonstrated in clips from his lectures, and also to the provocative and often taxing nature of his early performances.
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