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For over the last decade, Dutch filmmaker Tim Leyendekker has distilled the social environments of queer life into formal but sensuous short films. His debut feature Feast (2021), presented here for the first time in the United States, is based on gruesome 2007 events in which a dozen men were drugged and deliberately infected with HIV at parties staged via online chatrooms. Leyendekker avoids the sensationalism that followed the case across the Netherlands and turns to philosophical imperative instead, retrofitting Plato’s The Symposium as a homosocial gathering – a first indication that coming to moral judgement or truth may not be as simple as it seems. The film resulted from extensive research (including contact with the perpetrators) yet embraces ambiguity, lavishly but exactingly mixing fact and fiction with elements of verité, true crime, and hyper-stylization. Dizzying and grand in its ambition, Feast takes questions about harm, consent, free will, transgressive desire, and love, and turns them around to interrogate not perpetrators or victims, but society at large.
The presentation also includes Leyendekker’s short film The Healers (2010), which breaks down the memory of a night out into an evocative triptych, and a recorded conversation between the director, writer Paul Clinton, and Sophie Cavoulacos, Associate Curator, Department of Film.
Virtual Cinema is not available to Annual Pass members. Virtual Cinema screenings are not available outside the US.