Dir/scr: Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping. UK. 2023. 99mins
This erotic Neo-noirish revenge thriller builds up quite a head of steam after getting down to business with a classic confrontation in an East London convenience shop between chameleon-like club performer Jules (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) and ex-con Preston (George MacKay) whose plethora of tattoos would certainly give David Beckham a run for his money. The violent homophobic assault that ensues will see Preston getting his comeuppance in a gay sauna where drag queen Jules assumes another identity.
Competing for the Berlinale‘s Teddy and First Feature award, and extended from their short film of the same title Femme is the intense and fervent feature debut of directing duo Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping. Because of its LGBTQ subject matter the film will no doubt find its way onto the festival circuit and also into arthouse cinemas. Femme is all about the men’s ability to dissemble and assume a variety of identities to suit the milieu of the modern metropolis where sexual identity is not longer simply a question of ‘male’ and ‘female’ but has become a multifarious melting pot of myriad styles capturing the mercurial zeitgeist of gaydom. Performance wise George McKay continues to be a talent to amuse. MT
BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL 2023