In 2023, it’s up to young queer filmmakers to turn their cameras away from the trauma narratives that have so far mostly defined LGBTQ filmmaking and instead toward its potential for joyful expression and celebration. For cynics with a wary brow toward being uplifted, your mileage may vary for 1990-born drag performer turned filmmaker Amrou Al-Kadhi’s “Layla,” an exuberant appreciation of queer life even as it skims the surface of weightier issues around identity. But even the most callous of hearts — though anyone not already cosigned to the movie’s sensibilities is unlikely to see this film — will find it hard to skirt the charms of this sensitive, well-acted, and confidently shot feature about a non-binary Arab drag queen who gets lost in love but finds themselves at the other side of its failure. That’s even as many moments of the story feel manufactured just to keep it going.
Living in London, Arab drag queen Layla (Bilal Hasna) is witty and confident onstage, but desperate for any scraps of human-on-human connection behind the scenes in between the gigs they can scrape together. They have a compassionate collective of found-family friends and roommates, while their Muslim family meanwhile lives completely oblivious to their identity elsewhere in the suburbs. Nights are spent on Grindr scanning for potential hook-ups that could spark something deeper, an erotic curiosity realized only in hollow encounters with thrustings that advance nothing…
Read full article: Amrou Al-Kadhi Drag Queen Romance Is a Feel-Good Watch – IndieWire
The post “Amrou Al-Kadhi Drag Queen Romance Is a Feel-Good Watch – IndieWire” by Ryan Lattanzio was published on 01/19/2024 by www.indiewire.com