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September 5 @ 20:30 – 22:30
Released in 1996, Chocolate Babies was a direct statement against the public and political engagement (or rather lack thereof) with the AIDS crisis. It was Stephen Winter’s debut film and was received very well at the festivals, even getting a standing ovation at San Francisco and opening for the Berlin Film Festival.
Despite its overwhelming critical acclaim, amazing performances, good storytelling and engagement with the HIV/AIDS crisis and Black queer lives in ‘90s New York, the film did not enjoy a wide distribution after its initial release. This is thanks to the film industry’s inaccessibility, whose distributors were simply unwilling to pick up the film. In 2021 however, the film was taken up as a Criterion Classic and now, albeit 25 years later, enjoys its rightful spot in the canon.
Rosa Oomen, QFFU
This program is part of the retrospective Going Underground – An Introduction to New Queer Cinema. Film critic and scholar B. Ruby Rich was the first one to coin the term New Queer Cinema (NQC) to describe a wave of independent queer films made by queer directors from the early 80s to the mid 90s. These filmmakers explored issues such as race, class and gender identity within the LGBTQ+ community. With this program we want to give you a small taste of this groundbreaking cinematic movement. Come explore a collection of underground, experimental and rebellious queer cinema treasures that you rarely experience on the big screen.
A band of queer, self-described “raging, atheist, meat-eating, HIV-positive, colored terrorists” fight back against homophobic conservative politicians on the streets of New York City in Stephen Winter’s wild guerrilla satire. Calling out government apathy toward the AIDS crisis—particularly as it affected communities of color—Chocolate Babies blends exuberant camp and searing political anger into a radical statement of Black queer power.
Original language title: Chocolate Babies
Directed by: Stephen Winter
Running time: 83 mins
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Cult
- NewFest – New York’s LGBT Film Festival 1997 Winner: Best Feature
- SXSW Film Festival 1997 Honorable Mention: Narrative Feature
Content warning: Homophobia, homophobic slurs, profanity, gore, sex, abduction, blood, violence
The movie is introduced by QFFU.