DISCLAIMER: The following essays contain spoilers!
Macho Carne. 2021. Directed & Written by George Pedrosa.
Starring Chico Gonçalves & Felipe Spooka.
Not Rated / 15 minutes
★★★★★ (out of ★★★★★)
The plot of Macho Carne is nebulous and, ultimately, not what’s important. This short is all about a feeling, a sense of understanding and acknowledgement. We see a man on his knees in front of three other men, only their crotches in jeans visible. Soon the man has a cum-like substance poured down his throat; fingers work it in, pushing it down into his oesophagus. We watch the man lie in bed, the camera low looking up at his crotch. He holds his stomach, looking somewhere between pain and pleasure. We see more male bodies; one in lingerie. The man moves sensually as we pull in on his torso again, and he strips naked. After that there’s a man with a bloody, meat-like face. The original man’s covered in what’s surely cum, then he’s smacked in the mouth, his throat gripped by a strong hand. An unsettling sequence follows with the man literally tying his tongue until it’s bloody. We also see male bodies in close proximity, aggressively pushing each other like a more sexual version of a concert mosh pit.
There’s a constant, pulsing energy to Macho Carne. It’s full of Kenneth Anger vibes, though entirely its own thing. George Pedrosa touches on many different aspects of queer male sexuality, moving between pure eroticism and gruesome, even macabre images. Just the title is intriguing, given that ‘carne’ is a feminine noun, so combining it with ‘macho’ holds traditionally conflicting ideas that speak to the exploration of gay male sexuality. Then there’s ‘carne’ as meat or flesh, which fills every frame as we see men portrayed like pieces of meat, figuratively and literally at various points throughout the short.
The film’s most significant image is when the male protagonist ties his tongue continuously with a piece of twine. He binds his tongue so tight it gets bloody, to the point it wouldn’t be surprising if he actually cut it off. This bloody image is a succinct, symbolic one that represents the torturous, violent silence surrounding men and queer desire. This is the one moment in the film where we see a form of violence enacted upon the self; at other times, there’s BDSM imagery, such as the smack in the face and the hand on the throat, but those are all engaging and playing with erotic ideas, whereas the tying of the tongue is inflicted by the man upon himself and it’s not about eroticism, it’s about repression. Macho Carne has much to unpack due to the rich, vivid imagery, and it’s open to many different queer readings about how it portrays gay male lust, as well as how it touches on the destructive silence that tears queer men apart.
Monster Dykë. 2021. Directed by Kaye Adelaide & Mariel Sharp.
Starring Kaye Adelaide.
True Sweetheart Films
Not Rated / 4 minutes
Fantasy / Horror / Romance
★★★★ (out of ★★★★★)
As we see more queer and trans representation in film and television, we’re also seeing lots of queer/trans stories diluted by being portrayed in the same way as cisheteronormative stories. Especially when it’s straight, cis people telling these stories. Kaye Adelaide and Mariel Sharp’s Monster Dykë purposefully situates itself far away from anything else you’ve seen in film and TV so far with a trans lesbian love story for the ages. A sculptress (Kaye Adelaide) is tired of dealing with men who think they’re doing her “a favour” by going for “the chubby trans goth girl.” She wants to find love and sensuality with somebody who genuinely wants her back. She’s in the middle of creating a new sculpture—a female, Creature from the Black Lagoon-ish thing—when the artwork suddenly comes to life. She and the monstrous sculpture then fall for one another and fall into each other’s arms.
In just four short minutes, Monster Dykë explores the transgressive desire and sex of non-heteronormative bodies. The short starts with a quote from a Tumblr user that sets the stage for all that follows: “There are only two genders: monster fuckers and cowards.” There’s not so much a romantic build up here as there is a headlong dive into sexuality, as we see the sculptress go down on the newly animated monster. She spreads the monster’s orifice, putting her mouth on it and getting orgasmic goo all over her face while the creature lactates. It’s a wet, wild journey into othered bodies, the types of bodies that aren’t considered ‘normal’ to cis-hetero people with their strict, rigid concepts of gender and sexuality. The focus is mainly on the body of the creature, not on the body of the sculptress, and yet it still becomes a story about trans bodies, in that the sculptress’s lack of judgements about what a body should be is reflective of the mindset many trans people have about bodies in general; those who identify as trans know that a body is simply a vessel, that we’re not all born with the bodies we’re meant to have, thus they have unique perspectives on not just their own bodies but the bodies of others. I’d go as far to say that Monster Dykë is about empathy and its role in finding love by showing how the sculptress is able to find a genuine and erotic physical love, one that becomes emotional as she and the creature lie in bed together like a couple after they’ve gotten off. The film’s about monster fucking on the surface; beneath, there really is romance.