Film review: #BFIFlare Valencia prod. Michelle Tea (Hearts)

Directors: Peter Anthony, Sharon Barnes, Aubree Bernier-Clarke, Cary Cronenwett, Bug Davidson, Cheryl Dunye, Lares Feliciano, Dia Felix, Hilary Goldberg, Silas Howard, Alexa Inkeles, Jerry Lee, Olivia Parriott, Jill Soloway, Samuel Topiary, Courtney Trouble, Michelle Lawler, Sara St. Martin Lynne, Chris Vargas, Greg
Producers: Hilary Goldberg, Michelle Tea.
With Michelle Tea, Annie Danger, Lil Miss Hot Mess

This unique take of a portrayal of ‘Michelle’ as told by Michelle Tea’s memoirs, over a year in the life of a 90s dyke explores a 21st Century retrospective of what it meant to be a queer in San Fransisco then, and in doing so, now. Twenty different Michelles, from 20 established and emerging filmakers, explore the range of dykeness of the time, and question love, and relationships, butch/femme, male/female/trans through a linear story arc, with humour and pathos.

The conventional structure creates a sense of ultra modern filmmaking that matches the boundary-breaking journey of queer identification that the Michelles, and all whom they represent, undertook.

Set in that time pre, where the fanzine and the poster were how we got our message out there, when there was a rise of a punk lesbian diaspora and the more generic context of a single, rootless twenty-something searching for sex and love, drugs and adventure.

Based on Michelle Tea’s 2000 cult autobiographical novel, Valencia is a collaboration between a national community of queer filmmakers to adapt the underground classic memoir into a kaleidoscopic vision of San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District in the early 1990s.

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