SXSW Film Best Picture Award
Berlin Film Festival Official Selection
Out Festival Official Selection
"Welcome to the front lines of AIDS activism, where the latest enemy raids are being run by a band of unlikely warriors: two drag queens, an HIV-positive man with tiny gemstones dotting his bald head, and his HIV-positive sister. These self-proclaimed “black faggots with a political agenda” launch street assaults on conservative politicians who won't support a hospice in their New York City neighborhood, but when they also manage to infiltrate the office of one such official, a city councilman who, it turns out, is deep in the closet, the action sets in motion unexpected events that begin to pull the group apart. In addition to introducing a memorable gallery of characters -- most of whom are vividly realized by a fiery cast -- screenwriter-director Stephen Winter's film plays with issues of identity: who we are and who we pretend to be. Its characters get so absorbed in their roles -- drag queen, undercover activist, closeted councilman -- that they lose sight of their more basic identities: brother, friend, lover. Winter offers no easy answers to political dilemmas, only a warning that much of what is important in life may be lost when the political consumes the personal. His Chocolate Babies amuses, provokes, touches, haunts."
- Robert Faires, The Austin Chronicle
"As most AIDS stories have been serious dramas by and about white gay males, it's refreshing to see a political satire that not only revolves around men of color, but also refuses to label them as victims . . . Chocolate Babies displays a zesty, often exuberant style that aptly matches the chaotic story and its flashy drag queens."
- Emanuel Levy
Suzanne Gregg Ferguson
Dudley Findlay Jr.
Jon Kit Lee
claude e sloan
Elizabeth Wiatr's 1993 film, Chapbook of the Non-Eminent, is a bittersweet love poem to Los Angeles, a city of tremendous contradictions, where appearances and actuality are often at odds, as they are in its major industry, cinema; where the contemporary panorama of labor, immigration, and homelessness is rarely represented. Los Angeles is also a city that suffers from historical amnesia, though its history lives on visibly in architectural palimpsests, as it does in film images and nostalgia.
In Chapbook of the Non-Eminent a flâneuse explores the streets, factories, and passages of downtown Los Angeles, reading the city through multiple analytical lenses, which parallel genres of cinema, from documentary to narrative to the essay film. Chapbook of the Non-Eminent uses these various lenses—empirical, philosophical, narrative, visual and experiential—to investigate both Los Angeles and the construction of cinematic meaning. A particular concern of the flâneuse/narrator is to straddle ordinary divisions between everyday life, popular culture, and elite discourse. While exploring and reading Los Angeles, Chapbook of the Non-Eminent also interrogates knowledge, truth, and meaning themselves, and playfully encourages a viewer to undertake his or her own exploration.