Lola + Bilidikid | Chicago Reader

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93 minutes · 1998

Director Kutlug Ataman reportedly fled Istanbul to escape the death threats that followed the release of this 1998 film. A powerful and superbly acted drama about the gay and transvestite subcultures among Berlin's immigrant Turks, the film gracefully interweaves a number of compelling story lines: a boorish, foul-mouthed gigolo falls for a prim German architect who lives with his aristocratic mother; a cross-dressing entertainer ponders a sex-change operation, pressured by his ultramacho boyfriend; a homophobic man turns to violence when he suspects his brothers of being gay. Ataman's only misstep comes late in the film, when a fight with some neo-Nazis becomes a stylized knife-and-gun battle recalling West Side Story. For the most part, though, this is fierce, eye-opening work. In Turkish with subtitles.

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