Deep Dive: Orlando: My Political Biography
“First published in 1928, Orlando, written by Virginia Woolf, was a revolutionary work of feminist literature. The book follows the story of Orlando, a poet of noble birth who becomes a favourite in Queen Elizabeth’s court. About halfway through the book, Orlando, who has to this point been referred to as a man, is now suddenly referred to using she/her pronouns, and switches back and forth fluidly between gender descriptions. Orlando goes on to live for 300 more years, all the way into modern times, where the novel ends the day before the book was published.
Woolf’s text is a legendary piece of queer literature, and a monumental early piece of representation for queer and trans people. Spanish philosopher and writer Paul B Preciado’s new documentary essay film Orlando, My Political Biography is a radical new text that recontextualizes Virginia Woolf’s book through the lens of modern queer theory, and through the experiences of queer and trans folk who want to see themselves accurately represented in art. This film is a radical reinvention of form, and a fiery rallying call for progress. It is a celebration of how far the world has come since Virginia Woolf’s time, as well as a vital reminder of how far we still have to go.
Orlando, My Political Biography first premiered to rave reviews at the Berlin Film Festival this year, and has since gone on to play at TIFF, as well as the New York Film Festival’s main slate. The film has also been acquired by Janus Films, meaning it is likely to see a Criterion Collection release in the near future.”