Loving in Between

Between birth and death, is the power to love and live. Political rules, religious orders, social norms and cultural taboos control who we love and how we love. The right to love, is controlled and regulated by how we live. But the erotic has the power to emancipate.
With spoken word and archive sources, love is unboxed from categories in queer expression and a celebration of eros as the power to change our attitudes to life and to allow others to live their lives without judgment or prejudice.

Folks, I’m telling you,
birthing is hard,
and dying is mean–
so get yourself
a little loving
in between.
(Advice, Langston Hughes)

Jyoti Mistry’s final installment in her triptych draws its inspiration from Langston Hughes’s poem “Advice” and celebrates queer sexuality and loving. After dealing with the racialization of Black masculinity and racist violence (“When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Black Man”) and intersectional sexism and femicide (“Cause of Death”), Mistry now creates an optimistic, even happy and affirmative archival universe. Spanning nearly the entire 20th century, images from various European film archives (primarily Eye Film Museum Archive, Amsterdam) acquire a beautiful self-evident quality through Mistry’s deconstructive – queering – process. It is as though the inclusion of homosexual men and women and in-betweens, preserved in the institutionalized cultural memory of the moving image, were the most normal thing in the world. Mistry’s precise film dramaturgy traces arcs from volcanic eruptions to beach scenes (sex in the dunes), from sexual encounters in public toilets (cottaging and cruising) to forbidden kisses by cloistered nuns, from private parties and revelry on fur carpets to dancing in the boxing ring, ending with a final, wild Busby Berkeley-inspired musical cabaret number set to the 1928 jazz standard “Diga Diga Doo”. In addition, Mistry structures her meticulously edited, unabashedly tendentious film with digital animation elements – swarms of birds, fish, leaves, shells flying through the frame – as well as a text performed by Kgafela oa Magogodi and Napo Masheane, two spoken-word artists who developed the script in collaboration with the filmmaker. Following the work of Kara Keeling, we can read Mistry’s trilogy conclusion as recordings of queer times (past) that use new media and technology to create an exploration of “queer times, Black futures”. In doing so, it opens revitalized futures in which previously unthinkable imaginations can be conjured up. (Andrea B. Braidt)

(Translation: John Wojtowicz)

Orig. Title
Loving in Between
Austria, South Africa
18 min
Jyoti Mistry
Avantgarde/Arts, Documentary
Orig. Language
Jyoti Mistry
Jyoti Mistry
Jyoti Mistry
Nishlyn Ramanna
Nikki Comninos
Sound Design
Peter Cornell
The Kinetic None, Stephen Galloway, Jano Booysen
contributor script
Napo Masheane, Kgafela oa Magogodi
Colour Correction
Alex May
Süd Nord Film, Blackboard Trust None
Executive Producer
Florian Schattauer
Spoken Word
Napo Masheane, Kgafela oa Magogodi
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
colour, b/w
Festivals (Selection)
Locarno - Festival Int. de film
Leipzig - Dok Leipzig - Int. Festival für Dok.- u. Animationsfilm
Amsterdam - IDFA, Int. Documentary Filmfestival
Winterthur - Kurzfilmtage
Uppsala - Int. Short Film Festival
Vancouver - Int. Film Festival
Lissabon - Queerlisboa Lesbian & Gay Festival
Milano - Filmmakers Festival (Filmmaker Jury Prize)
Porto - Post Porto Doc
Recife - Janela Internacional de Cinema
Gijon - International Film Festival
Montréal - RIDM Rencontre Int. du Film Documentaire
Beyoglu/ Istanbul - IFSAK Short Film Festival
Glasgow Short Film Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Regensburg - Kurzfilmwoche
Ann Arbor - Film Festival (The No. 1 African Film Award)
Konstanz - Queergestreift Festival