Reel Affirmations 2006
Review by Will O’Bryan
Rating: (3 out of 5)
Saturday, 10/14/2006, 11:00 AM
Feature presentation, $9 at Goethe Institut Inter Nationes
THE STRUGGLE FOR GLBT human rights in Europe is a far-reaching topic. Millions of people are affected by the human rights laws of the ever-expanding European Union. There’s also the question of socially conservative immigrant populations eroding the progressive values of liberal Western European locales. Add the complacency of some Internet-cruising Berlin gay guys into the mix, along with the struggle to get gay rights recognized by the United Nations, and you get some sense of the very big bite German filmmakers Jochen Hick and Christian Jentzsch are trying to make. A noble effort, but one in need of tighter focus.
If you can keep up, you’ll move from a multinational gay couple’s fight with immigration authorities in Britain, to the struggles of gay Muslims in Amsterdam, imported homophobia in greater Netherlands, the Berlin guys having a complacent night out, gay-rights marchers versus skinheads in Krakow, and so much more. But regardless of where the filmmakers take us, most of the destinations deliver at least one jaw-dropping moment. We may be dumbfounded by supposed ambassadors’ views on gay rights at the U.N. in Geneva, or drunken Nazi youths calling for gay people to be made into soap. This really is a scatter-shot 76 minutes across Europe. And the style of the film seems less a gay-targeted documentary than an evening-news special from Deutsche Welle English-language news from Germany.
Though the exact point of Rainbow’s End is elusive, the sheer volume of information presented is a fantastic primer for gay Americans wondering what’s on the minds of their European counterparts. In a world full of factions hostile to gay equality, it’s a good education to have about our obvious, though often ignored, allies. — Will O’Bryan