Someone Else's Media Diet on Friday (#3)
May Ziadé on Not Watching Cocaine Bear, Her Dad's Reluctance To Mental Health and A Troubling Letterboxd Reviews Obsession
Someone Else’s Media Diet is a monthly series featuring a taste of someone else’s taste.
May Ziadé is a brilliant film-maker, producer and Outrageously Funny Person™. It took exactly two non-consecutive weeks for her easy charm to drill right into my heart. Annoying!! Her roots are in the Paris of the Middle East but also in actual Paris, which makes her a bonafide Parisian Of The World and incidentally my first Levantine Lesbian Friend + Queer Arab Godmother. Her experimental short film Neo Nahda about a young woman’s exploration of queer history in the Middle East (soon screening at the BFI Flare Festival in London) left me feeling vulnerable and attacked, and will hopefully speak to many other lost, restless and gay Arab souls. It’s also an annoyingly good looking debut? For all that I know about films, I have zero insight into the making of them, and anyone who is involved in the industry is a magician to me. Lucky for us, May is here to share some of her sorcery with us.
📆 Things I'm excited to watch in 2023
Passages (Ira Sachs) - According to one Letterboxd user, Ira Sachs' in his "Fassbinder era". Not sure what that means but I assume the readers of this newsletter are German so they (you) will?! In any case, Passages tells the story of two men who have been together for 15 years, and who go through a bit of a tense time when one of them falls for a woman played by the Adele Exarchopoulos (from Blue is the Warmest Colour). Missed it at Berlinale so PLEASE MUBI purchase the distro rights already!
Eileen (William Oldroyd) (gay)
Rami Malek as Buster Keaton (not gay but should be)
NOT COCAINE BEAR
🎵 Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
A pure gem from the 90s - also Toni Colette's breakout role. Come for the kitsch & sapphic undertones, stay for the ABBA tunes. Eternally re-watchable. 3.5 stars
🕵🏼♂️ Otherness Archive
Although I do spend most of my time watching crowd-pleasers, I also watch lots of experimental low-budget films. Experimental films are uncontained: the medium lends itself to non-normative storytelling, which we, marginalised filmmakers, often thrive in. Something I worked on with a team of great people over the past year: the first living archive of Trans Masc moving image works. It's full of DIY gems.
I spent hours losing myself in the archive and discovering the works of trans masc artists, and doing the same is probably the best way to navigate it. But, if you don't have much time to spare: I recommend the very funny, very DIY (I suspect the budget was "a fiver") "Very Important Trans Artwork" by Maz Murray.
😢 Media Therapy
In a previous iteration of this media diet, I wrote a review of Stutz. I am no longer giving you a review of Stutz because 1) this newsletter is already too long 2) Stutz is already irrelevant in our hyper-volatile media universe. Hollywood LOVES therapy (& so do I). Some of my favourite therapy scenes on screen include Nanni Moretti's Habemus Papam or that short scene in Fleabag. But the #1 contender is in The Sopranos (of course). Tony's first therapy session with Dr. Melphi is an iconic recreation of what it would be like for my dad to go to therapy!
Also shout-out to writer Aisha Harris who wrote about "The Black Therapist Trope" in 2018 and here again in 2020.
🎙️ You Must Remember This: Passing For White: Merle Oberon
Listened to this podcast episode after I found this tweet explaining why Michelle Yeoh (👑) was awkwardly described as "the first person who identifies as Asian nominated for an Oscar". Turns out, Merle Oberon had apparently won one in the 30s but had to hide her Asian-ness from segregated Hollywood.
I'm so glad I wasn't born in the 30s but in a world where Prison Break's Michael Scofield came out as both gay and Lebanese on the same day.
And was never hired again.
I’m not one for Oscar statistics but this seemed quite telling: Stephanie Hsu is apparently the first queer person to be nominated for playing a queer role since Ian McEwan in 1998. Fiuf.
🟡 On My Music Radar This Week
Lydia TàrCate Blanchett crying in her latte
🎬 Favourite one-liners reviews on Letterboxd
For those who don’t know what Letterboxd is because they have a life, it’s like Goodreads for films. Here are some of my favourite one-line user reviews I came across on the website this week:
EEAAO: “easily one of the top 5 movies about taxes” - kársten
Fire of Love: “Epic throuple” - mediadiet president sara
Marcel the Shell: "is marcel transmasc" - skumburger
M3GAN: "this is ex-machina the slayquel" - bonerchomper
STUTZ: "imagine if nathan for you did this" - mothping
You can follow May on Instagram and Twitter and Letterboxd.
More Media Diets by Someone Else:
Isabelle on The Kardashians, A History Of Lesbian Baseball And Listening To Podcasts on YOUTUBE Like A Boomer
Josh on the Queens of Slay And Challenging Two Kind And Gentle Guinea Pigs To A Brutal Duel With His Cats
Note from editor: FUCK OFF!! You loved Top Gun Maverick YOU WILL LOVE COCAINE BEAR
A way better ABBA musical than Mamma Mia
Also because it's nearly impossible to access funding if you're not a white cishet man (or a FLINTA! learned this acronym like ten days ago and look at me already using it).
For those who don't know what Goodreads is: it's what people with undiagnosed OCD do to track every book they've read and set unrealistic expectations for themselves about how many books they'll read during the year ahead.