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NIFFF Tackles LGBTQ+ Representation With Scream Queer Retrospective

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Ben Croll Heading into his first edition at the helm of the Neuchatel Intl. Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF), artistic director Pierre-Yves Walder looked to land his white whale, setting his sights on a retrospective idea he’d dreamed up many years before. “In concrete terms, I’ve wanted to do this ever since I first applied to the festival,” Walder says of Scream Queer, a pet project that reflects on LGBTIQ+ representation through the lens of the fantastic. “I wanted to explore social elements through genre, which has always been a mirror for society, a place to express certain unmentionable ideas in abstract, using metaphor to explore subjects off limits in more direct approaches.” Showcasing 15 films curated by Walder and his team and another four selected by The xx singer Oliver Sim, this year’s centerpiece retrospective brings together camp items like “Nightmare on Elm Street II,” cult classics like the Wachowski’s “Bound” and recent gems from the festival circuit like Amat Escalante’s “The Untamed,” all tied together by a shared focus on outré representation.“The films had to step out of reality in a certain sense,” Walder explains. “What we see on-screen had to disrupt reality in a way, because that’s what defines the fantastic.”Working with just 15 slots and a trove of diverse and often contradictory approaches, the NIFFF team looked for titles that could stand on their own while also standing in for larger filmic trends.

To do so, the programming considered the films on a century-long timeline, beginning with the 1922 art-deco dream “Salomé” and following all the way through to Yann Gonzalez’ 2022 musical short “Hideous” (which both stars and features the music of Sim).“We’ve seen a kind of century-long.

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