Lola + Bilidikid Review

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A complex story set amongst the Turkish gay community in Berlin.


A complex story set among gay Turks in Berlin, this takes some time to untangle its characters. Lola (Mukli), a transvestite belly dancer, is ostracised by his elder brother after a never-talked-about incident involving a red wig, and sought out by his uncertainly gay younger brother (Davrak), a sensitive schoolboy victimised by three German homophobes. Lola is living with Bilidikid (Yildiz), a leather-jacketed tough who has named himself after Billy the Kid and is pressuring Lola to have a sex change operation so his friends won't think he's a "faggot".

In subject matter and style, Lola + Bilidikid is a flashback to the rough and ready German cinema of the 70s, with hard truths about unhappy relationships and the odd explosion of ultra-violence as tragedy queens get beaten up in toilets.

There are moments of poised comedy, but it is also a flashback to the 70s in that it presents almost all gay men as doomed, self-hating, violent or pathetic. This is fairly incendiary subject matter in Turkey, and the film is unusual in paying attention to the Turkish distinction between a "macho guy" who has sex with feminised men, who is supposed to be acceptable, and a "gay man", who isn't.

There's a sense that this is a story that’s been told too often.