From the Margin to the Center | Chicago Reader

From the Margin to the Center

The longest and strongest of these three video documentaries, I Exist (2002, 54 min.), details the frightening bigotry experienced by gay and lesbian Middle Eastern-Americans. Directors Peter Babosa and Garrett Lenoir tightly orchestrate diverse voices to describe a culture in which the family is “a web where every action affects everyone“—and so a brother beats his sister for being a lesbian. The pressure to choose between their antigay families and their true selves drives some of the subjects to the brink of suicide; the parents suffer too, as demonstrated by a mother who starts smoking when she learns her daughter is gay. Romeo Candido's Dancers Pick Up Your Bamboos (2002, 26 min.) depicts a traditional Filipino dance troupe in Toronto, whose amazing performances would be easier to see without annoying mannerisms such as split screens and on-screen titles. 112 min.

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