Film Review: The Queen has No Crown

by on Monday, 07 October 2013 Comments


The film
The Queen has no Crown was shown as part of the five-day Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival 2013. It's being held at the Wonderful Theatre, just opposite exit 6 of Ximen MRT - the last day is tomorrow, so try and catch at least one of the fantastic documentaries being shown. If you missed out on this film, you can catch a screening of I Shot My Love on the 9th October at the Freshman Classroom Building 102, Taipei at 18:30

This is the second film I've seen by Tomer Heymann, but this film actually precedes the other film called I Shot My Love. Both films are really intoxicating in a very voyeuristic sense, and the techniques used are similar - essentially using "home video" footage. For those who have seen the later film, this film offers an insight into Tomer's life before his German boyfriend comes into his life and gives us a brief glimpse of the mindset that preceded the second film and the reason he started to hide behind the camera in the first place, which he describes in the film as a risky homoerotic impulse to film his fellow soldiers as they sleep. Heymann's films are testament to what is truly important in this genre, not the quality of the images, some of which are jerky and clearly shot by hand, but rather the emotion with which it is imbued through the act of 'suffering', as one audience member labelled it, that is self disclosure or in Heymann's case forcing the ones he loves to disclose themselves:

The film deals a lot more with Tomer's brothers than the other film, particularly his younger brother and his twin and they both have differing views on Tomer's filming as well as Israel itself. The idea of abandoning Israel also runs through the film, as three of the brothers leave Israel and their mother for America, although two have returned by the end of the film. The mother often talks as if she is synonymous with Israel, and we see the ambivalent relationships the sons maintain with her as parallel to the relationship they have with their country. Tomer's sexuality also becomes an issue, in the sense that it a refusal to have children and take up 'proper' responsibilities in regard to the nation. 

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The complete absence of questions concerning nationality in the Q and A points to the subtlety in the link between nationality and personal relationships in the film, although it's always present, as we see the tensions with Palestine in the news reportage and the references to the zionism of the older generation as well as Tomer's failed attempts to create some sort of reconciliation with Arab people on a personal level. Once in the US with a one night stand and once when he attempts to live in a mixed building in Israel with Palestinians, only for them to smash up his car when they realize he's gay. An intriguing film definitely worth watching. 

5/5

 

Conor Stuart (蕭辰宇)

Born in Belfast. Just finished his Master from the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature at National Taiwan University (NTU). Currently lives and works in Taipei. 

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