The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography

Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More

Start Time:
24th Jan 18:30
85 min
Special Events Orbital

In the collective imagination, the physical fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 became synonymous with the figurative fall of the Iron Curtain, marking the beginning of an end of the Cold War era which, for more than four decades, divided the post-WW2 Europe along the East-West axis. The disappearance of borders – both real and imagined – signified by the German reunification set into motion a reciprocal process of movement, from capital and commodities to tourists and refugees, that in a decade to follow repeated itself time and time again, as the space formerly known as the Eastern Bloc started gradually vanishing from the political maps of the continent.

Just as the seemingly eternal world order was turning ephemeral, so did the fixed identities of those not so long ago divided – and defined - by the presence of the Iron Curtain. The once imagined and ever-distant “other side”, constructed from the portraits of movie villains, government propaganda and an occasional anecdote, suddenly was within hand’s, as well as camera eye’s reach, turning filmmaking into a tool for the emerging identities to be invented, questioned and negotiated, as well as for the onlookers to redefine themselves anew in relation to the ones who have been recently “discovered”.

While the privilege of gazing at the “exotic” has been historically reserved for the Western tourists, in this selection of shorts the “Westerners” find the “Easterners” looking right back at them. The programme, ranging from travelogues to pornography, from fast food commercials to dictators’ executions on live TV, captures the first encounter with the “other” through the medium of film in a newly reborn post-Cold War Europe, with an aim of interrogating the politics of representation that, in light of Brexit, as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine, have lost none of their urgency in the present day.

Programme title from Alexei Yurchak‘s 2005 monograph "Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation". 

Programme curated by Martyna Ratnik.