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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Desperately seeking redundancy? : queer romantic comedy and the festival audience Penney, Renee


Historically speaking, the queer film festival is rooted in grassroots politics and it exists as a counterculture space. Conversely, genre cinema is associated with classical Hollywood and it is largely associated with mainstream, heteronormative value systems. The queer romantic comedy represents a major flashpoint as a crossover phenomenon: in its ability to infiltrate these diametrically opposed cultural systems, it is viewed as both traitor and arbitrator simultaneously. The response to this queered genre is directly related to critical debates surrounding the question of whether the queer film festival space has become or seeks to become redundant. Ironically, while the question of redundancy circulates, critical analysis of the queer film festival space has only recently begun to emerge, while the queer romantic comedy itself is virtually nonexistent within genre theory. As such, I argue that the queer film festival and the queer romantic comedy are inextricably linked as sites of transgression, and that, neither are becoming redundant. To construct my analysis, I use the Vancouver Queer Film Festival as a blueprint for the selection of gay and lesbian romantic comedies. I cite a number of critical thinkers, however, key to my analysis are a series of forums on the queer film festival published in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, as well as Rick Altman’s genre theory and Bakhtin’s concept of carnival. In chapter two, I provide an historical overview of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and outline my primary data for analysis. In chapter three, I draw from the GLQ forums to contextualize key debates surrounding the changing role of the queer iii film festival. In chapter four, I insert queer romantic comedy into the lexicon of genre theory to explore the use of self-reflexivity as a political tool. In chapters five and six, I compare the gay and lesbian romantic comedy collections, focusing on primary tropes, modes of address and media response to locate points of disruption within these ‘generic’ texts. In the concluding chapter, I consider the question of redundancy in relation to actual and authorized transgression within queer romantic comedy and the queer film festival space.

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