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Orlando, My Political Biography

Orlando, My Political Biography

Orlando: My Political Biography

Los Angeles Filmforum, Semiotext(e), and LA OLA present

Orlando: My Political Biography

Sunday February 4, 2024, 7:30 pm

At 2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 W. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90057

In person introduction by Jennifer Doyle, Professor of English at UC Riverside 

Tickets: $15 general, $8 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members


Masks are highly recommended at Filmforum shows - N95 or KN95.

Digital screening, from Janus Films

Filmforum joins with Semiotext(e) and LA OLA to host a screening of one of the most highly acclaimed films of 2023, Orlando: My Political Biography, by Paul B. Preciado.  Unusually for us, even though the film did play for a couple of weeks at Laemmle Theaters, it may have escaped the attention of many interested parties.  Its unique use of performance, costume, declamatory statement, language, personal revelation, and exploration of identity and trans-ness places it somewhere between the films of Straub & Huillet, Godard, and Sally Potter’s more conventionally theatrical Orlando.

 "Few movies this year have lived in my head as long and as happily as “Orlando: My Political Biography,” which I’ve been thinking about since I first saw it in September. Written and directed by the Spanish-born philosopher and activist Paul B. Preciado — a trans man making his feature directing debut — the movie is, at its simplest, an essayistic documentary about transgender and nonbinary identity that draws inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando: A Biography.” Yet trying to squeeze “My Political Biography” into a tidy categorical box is fundamentally at odds with Preciado’s expansive project, which is at once an argument, a confession, a celebration and a road map.

"It’s also a sharp, witty low-budget experimental work of great political and personal conviction, one that breathes life into Woolf’s novel about a 16-year-old boy in Elizabethan England who, after centuries of trippy adventures, enigmatically ends up as a 36-year-old woman in 1928, the year the novel was published. Woolf dedicated the book to her lover Vita Sackville-West, whose son Nigel Nicolson described it as “the longest and most charming love letter in literature,” one in which Woolf weaves Vita “in and out of the centuries, tosses her from one sex to the other, plays with her, dresses her in furs, lace and emeralds.” - Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 


Teddy Award: Best Documentary - 2023 Berlinale

Special Jury Award - Encounters - 2023 Berlinale

Tagesspiegel Reader's Jury Prize - Encounters - 2023 Berlinale

Special Mention: Best Documentary Award - 2023 Berlinale

Paul B. Preciado | Director, Screenplay

Paul B. Preciado is a writer, philosopher, curator, and one of the leading thinkers in the study of gender and body politics. Among his different assignments, he has been Curator of Public Programs of documenta 14 (Kassel/Athens), Curator of the Taiwan Pavilion in Venice in 2019, and Head of Research of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA). His books, Counter-sexual Manifesto (Columbia University Press); Testo Junkie (The Feminist Press); Pornotopia (Zone Books); An Apartment in Uranus (Semiotexte and Fitzcarraldo), and Can the Monster Speak (Semiotexte and Fitzcarraldo), and Dysphoria Mundi (Grasset, Graywolf and Fitzcarraldo) are a key reference to queer, trans and non-binary contemporary art and activism. He was born in Spain and lives in Paris. 

Jennifer Doyle, a Professor of English at UC Riverside, is the author of Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art (2013) and Sex Objects: Art and the Dialectics of Desire (2007). She is the author of Campus Sex/Campus Security (2015) and co-editor of Pop Out: Queer Warhol (1996). She guest-curated Nao Bustamante: Soldadera (2015) for the Vincent Price Art Museum, and worked closely with the artist in developing that project (which makes extensive use of archives housed at UC Riverside). She guest curated The Tip of Her Tongue, a seven-performance series for The Broad Museum (2015-2017), and I Feel Different, a group exhibition for LACE (2010). In 2018, she curated Ron Athey’s Gifts of the Spirit, working with producing partners Volume and The Broad, and co-curated Aqui No Hay Virgenes: Latina Lesbian Visibility for the Advocate Gallery and LACE (2007). She is a member of the Board of Directors at Human Resources Los Angeles, and is an active member of that organization’s curatorial team.  She is the 2013-2014 Distinguished Fulbright Professor at the University of the Arts, London, and is a recipient of an Arts Writers Grant.


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Orlando: My Political Biography

2023 | France | French w/ English Subtitles | 99 minutes

 I didn’t want to make a film about “being trans” but rather a trans and non-binary film. 

"The challenge of making a trans film is to undo the normative differences not only between a feature film and a documentary film, fiction and a biography, politics and poetry, theory and practice, but also between the traditional ways of representing femininity and masculinity, between what being and not-being-trans means in a binary society. A non-binary films works according to what we could call with Gilles Deleuze, “a logic of multiplicities'', “a theory and practice of relations, of “the AND”, which at every levels tries to question the classifications based on the strict binary delineation of “either-or”. To give you an example, I didn’t want to choose between narrating my biography and telling a larger trans political history, or between Virginia Woolf’s language and the way of speaking of contemporary Orlandos, or between an adaptation of a novel and a documentary with “real” people. As a result the film is neither one nor the other, but a becoming-other.” – Paul B. Preciado, from an interview with Michael Joshua Rowin