A Queer City Short film review

★★★

Directed by: #GeorgeHellings

Short film review by: Brian Penn

Short film review of A Queer City

In that dim and distant land we call the past ‘Drag’ had an unequivocal meaning at least in my own mind. It was essentially men dressing as women; pantomime dames populating the festive season and a thriving cabaret circuit made famous by Danny La Rue. A quintessentially British theatrical tradition of cross-dressing performers seemed to be just an act. But times have changed and moved into an entirely new environment of vibrancy and self-expression. Norwich appears to be a typical provincial city with a football club struggling to get out of the Championship. My ignorance knows no bounds as I also discover it is the centre of a lively queer scene. This documentary follows three budding drag artists making their way through an emerging night culture; expressing their identity through performance, visual artistry, and community.


One describes their approach to drag as visually non-binary combining elements of masculinity and femininity. Drag is an extension of their own persona and therefore not an act per se. Another deals with hyper femininity as a means of figuring out their own gender identity. Others believe that drag is more a fluid concept and not just about woman illusion.


The film provides a revealing glimpse into a side of life that is easily misunderstood. Society is now redrawing the lines of convention and rightly allows people to be who they are. More importantly, they can express themselves without fear of ridicule or rejection. In the 21st century we should be better equipped to embrace the spirit of individuality and accept everyone is different. For all its brevity the film makes its point with clarity and precision. Life is multi-coloured and multi-layered and should never judge anyone by what we consider to be ‘normal’. Today I’m wiser than I was yesterday; that must surely be progress?