Madame X

Date: Friday, 10/21/2011
Time: 9:45 pm

Venue: GWU Amphitheatre

Tickets: $12 - [Buy Tickets]

Type: Feature presentation

Metro Weekly Rating:
starstarstar (3 out of 5)

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Review by Sean Bugg

POOR ADAM IS not having much of a birthday. First a strange woman comes by his hair salon and warns him not to learn that ''special dance'' because it will kill him. Then, out for a birthday celebration at the local gay club with all his drag queen friends, the local anti-gay militia group rounds them into the back of a truck, and Adam ends up tossed out and knocked out on the back of a melon truck.

Truly, it's a problem that can only be solved through the cinematic power of drag queens.

It all sounds vaguely familiar, but in fairness to Madame X, it's not every day that your drag super-heroine movie takes place in Indonesia, or sports a plotline built around the mocking of Muslim moralists who insist on women wearing veils, among other targets. As Adam — who also sometimes goes by Eve — learns the ''secret dance,'' a form of camp martial arts, he's also participating in a send up of Indonesian politics.

That means that some of the targets may seem more than usually foreign to American audiences, although the drag farce is played broadly enough that it will instantly appeal to those who enjoy their campy, slightly trashy, pleasures. Luckily, Madame X mostly gets better as it goes on — the lackluster choreography at the beginning gives way to some nicely, if cheaply, stages ''fight'' sequences at the end.

Although, fair warning, attitudes towards transgender inclusive language are a little different in Madame X — everyone's apparently a ''faggot'' or a ''tranny,'' even to the faggots and trannies themselves. Or perhaps the subtitles lose something in translation. That, and the occasionally tepid energy of the scenes, make Madame X more of a diversion than a treat.

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More information

Film Links:

Festival Venue:

GWU Amphitheatre
814 7th Street NW
3rd Floor
800 21st Street NW
Washington, DC


For individual tickets and festival passes, visit Standard Festival Passes are $150 and Six Pack Passes are $60. Both allow for entry to any of the films except special events and opening and closing nights. Tickets may be purchased online, at the box offices, or at Universal Gear (1529 14th Street NW, WDC).

For more information, pick up a copy of the Reel Affirmations 20 program guide, or visit, or call 202-349-7358.

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