Thursday, March 14th, 2024

Queerguru reviews AVANT DRAG : the story of 10 charismatic Greek drag queens who take to the streets to help achieve equal rights


Queer Greek Filmmaker Fil Ieropoulus is coming back to Wicked Queer …. Boston’s LGBTQ Film Festival …. to screen his second feature film AVANT DRAG. If you caught his debut feature ORFEAS2021 there a couple of years back, you will know that he likes to push the parameters as much as he can when filming his subject.  At the time Queerguru Editor Andrew Hebden wrote If only there was a Greek word for a marathon, it would perfectly sum up this ambitious, expansive, and demanding futuristic opera that sets the struggle for gay rights against the weight of Greek history. It is based on the original opera L’Orfeo by Monteverdi.

Leropoulus sticks to the subject of queer rights which in the present political climate is more urgent than ever: he follows ten drag performers who find solace in each other as they rebel against their oppressive reality and those who control it.  As the title indicates, these are not those Queens who are just about makeup, wig, or dress that the ubiquitous Ru Paul insists on.  Thank God

These are street queens (and kings) who live for their performance art and their unique signature is their character and charisma.  To them, it’s less about the art of illusion but more about their highly stylized genderbending.

As each of them shares their stories to the camera its impossible not to be swept by both their energy and joie de vivre.   There is no apology for their extreme looks or very offbeat lifestyles they each have pride in, which we end up sharing.  We have to remember that Greece is a fiercely religious ultra-conservative country that only just legalized same-sex marriage.  Although LGBT rights in Greece are regarded as the most advanced in Southeast Europe. they do share a border with Turkey one of the most repressive countries in the region.

Whilst the film focuses on how the queens must deal with the different (mainly hostile) reactions they evoke just going out in public, it fails to mention how  (more straight-acting) members of the LGBTQ community equally hate them.   It challenges their perceptions of how we should all behave in public.  Whether they be self-hating queers ….. or just merely pretentious …… it doesn’t help them ‘pass ‘ in society, hence their anger.

I have to confess by the closing scenes when all the queens get to have a rather unruly dinner together, I am completely both in awe and in love with them. 

This is a MUST-SEE film to support those on the front line fighting for the rights that we will all benefit from in the end 



P.S. Deadline Magazine reports this past weekend

Greece’s Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival is reacting with shock to an incident Saturday night in which two LGBTQ people were attacked by a huge crowd in a square outside one of the festival’s main screening venues. According to local news reports and videos posted to YouTube, a crowd of youths numbering between 150 to 300 began shouting abuse at two 21-year-old self-identified nonbinary people, then hurled bottles at them and chased the pair into a nearby restaurant.

“The mob continued to harass them, banging at the window of the restaurant,” one news site reported, “urging the staff to send them out. The harassment continued even when police arrived at the scene.”


Creator, Owner, Editor-in-Chief
Miami Beach, FL / Provincetown, MA

Member of G.A.L.E.C.A. (Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) and NLGJA The Association of 
LGBT Journalists. and The Online Film Critics Society. Ex Contributung Editor The Gay Uk & Contributor 
Edge Media Former CEO and Menswear Designer of  Roger Dack Ltd in the UK

Posted by queerguru  at  12:16


Genres:  documentary, down right weird

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