Film Review: A Worm in the Heart

Film Review: A Worm in the Heart title=
Film Review: A Worm in the Heart
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By Lauren Bray

Film: "A Worm in the Heart"
Directed by Paul Rice
72 mins 
USA, Ireland, Russia

"A Worm in the Heart" provides a deep look at the lives of the LGBTQ+ community in Russia.

The film opens with disturbing audio from presumably Russian politicians stating homosexuals should be isolated to prevent harm to the rest of their country's morality.

Narrated by Irish director Paul Rice, he begins discussing his own coming out story in Ireland in correlation with laws of the time and that of his boyfriend Liam Jackson Montgomery in the U.K. While the Western world has been passing laws recognizing same-sex marriage, the anti-gay laws in Russia are growing more rigid. 

Russian television presenter who shockingly calls himself a journalist, Dmitry Kiselyov, hosted a "debate" discussing the LGBTQ+ community and its law preventing any type of exposure to children, also known as the "gay propaganda law."

"Its not enough to fine gays for propaganda to teenagers. We need to ban the blood and sperm donations by them and if they should die in a car accident, we need to bury their hearts underground or burn them. For they are unsuitable for the aiding of anyone's life," said Kisleyov on Russian television.

Paul and Liam went undercover and traveled to Russia to document the stories of LGBTQ+ organizations, people, and activists living in a country that would throw them in jail for something as simple as wearing a rainbow graphic or holding a pride flag.

Shot in six cities along the Trans-Siberian Railway, this film shows incredibly courageous people in the face of persecution. There were scenes of attempted pride festivals that ended in brutal violence. Shockingly, they're similar to scenes we've seen recently in America. In Moscow, they interviewed a group of transgendered women, many of whom attempted suicide or were thrown in psychiatric hospitals.

It's a fascinating introspective into another culture and country that openly admonishes and persecutes the LGBTQ+ community while its leader claims they do opposite. Throughout all of it, you see people continuing to live their lives and help others whether it's through disseminating medical information for transgendered people, opening and underground gay club with drag nights, or actively fighting hateful legislation on the front lines.

The most inspiring element is seeing hope by those being interviewed that their lives will get better.

"I think that now in Russia, and maybe in all post-Soviet countries, it'll take a lot of time for us, but we're following our own path," said one person being interviewed.

This film is a must-watch for anyone interested in an inside look of the lives of LGBTQ+ people in all parts of Russia.

Screenings

  • Sunday, January 19 at 4:00 p.m., Fiesta Theatre
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