lifestyle

Want to discuss the winner of Tropfest 2013? Let's start with homophobia.

Some serious shit went down at Tropfest 2013 last night. It had to do with the winner and I think it needs to be discussed.

Tropfest is a short film festival held every year and it sees thousands of cool, film-type people gather to celebrate art, film making and generally being creatively superior to everyone else.

Loads of people enter short films and a winner is crowned, celebrated and bequeathed wonderful gifts. We’re talking $10K, a new car, a trip to LA to whore themselves and excellent new filming equipment. Plus the bragging rights of being the winner of the Tropfest and possibly those little palm leaf indie film wreath things on their next movie poster.

A film called “Bamboozled” made by actor and film maker Matt Hardie won last night and plenty of people are pissed off about that and to be perfectly honest, I am one of them.

Here’s the video. Don’t read on until you’ve watched this:

If you can’t watch the film, here is the basic plot line: Dude runs into another dude at a bus stop that turns out to be his ex-girlfriend who has had a sex change. The ex-girlfriend casually mentions how he made the transition: “It completely took my by surprise! I just woke up one day and thought stuff it, lets do it; so I went out and had the operation took all the hormones and YEAH!”.

They then go and have a drink, things escalate and they end waking up next to each other nude.

Did ‘Bamboozled’ bamboozle us with a homophobic story line?

Then a TV host busts into the room and yells: “You’ve been Bamboozled” and explains to the main dude that he has been a part of a candid camera type situation set up by his disgruntled ex girlfriend.

That the man in bed next to him is a stranger who essentially got him drunk and had sex with him to pay him back for telling people his real ex-girlfriend had given him a hand job in public. Sentiments of “Ha ha you had sex with another man how terrible, you were totally tricked into nakedness with another man jokes on you” play out and then we see his hairy arse – The End.

In 2013, making a film and using a man having sex with another man as your central punch line is an archaic, narrow minded and homophobic thing to do.

Having the climax of your film revolve around shaming a man for sleeping with another man as punishment for being a dick to his ex-girlfriend is also an archaic, narrow minded and a homophobic thing to do.

ADVERTISEMENT

On another note it could be also argued that sexual assault occurred and was lightly brushed over. Because that is what gay men do… They hunt unsuspecting straight men down, ply them with alcohol and have their way with them. Right guys?

Wrong.

This film is essentially a quagmire of poor decision making.

When I started noticing the comments about the film, I wanted to defend it, I wanted to believe that this was just good comedy. A satirical statement about the way transgender and homosexual people are portrayed in film. So I watched it, and as soon as the character who had had the sex change mentioned that fact, as though he had just had a hair cut- I knew this thing was rotten.

A lot of you may watch the film and not see it as transphobic or homophobic. You may just see it as a light-hearted jab at the makers of reality television. In this case, I ask you to watch it again and consider the film’s central themes.

A tender scene from ‘Bamboozled’

The creator Matt Hardie has spoken out against the backlash today saying: “I’m copping it hard from some people. I guess that just going to happen with such a controversial subject matter. But I’m not homophobic and I don’t think the movie is homophobic or transphobic. People are completely missing the point,” he tells Inside Film.

“The main character decides to sleep with the transgender person because he loves that person for who they are. But it’s not even a transgender character… it’s someone playing a trick on him. It’s more a comment on media and the extremes to which reality TV could go… It’s satirising.”

There is a difference between challenging stereotypes and glorifying them, good satire should make us question ideologies/situations/opinions and challenge us. This kind of message just reinforces the negative attitudes and messages that surround homosexual and transgender communities.

It is my opinion that this type of film should not be rewarded, the other possibility is that we are all being bamboozled by the Tropfest people.

There could be a camera crew in my wardrobe right now.

Shit, I best put on some pants then.

What did you think of the film? Do you think it’s homophobic? Did it make you think? Do you think it challenges stereotypes? Or reinforces them?