From pushy bottoms to macho femmes, Bloodsisters is an A-Z documentary guide that takes an in-depth look at the San Francisco leatherdyke scene during the mid-nineties, deconstructing assumptions about gender and lesbian sexuality. Handelman’s film doesn’t describe the bounds of permissible fantasy in the women’s leather community; rather it broadens the discussion about private expressions of eroticism and their political implications. Riding the third wave after the feminist sex wars of the 1980s, Bloodsisters features fascinating interviews with writer Patrick Califia (then Pat), Queen Cougar (Ms San Francisco Leather 1993) and many others.  A total of eight self-described leather dykes in tell their stories about participating in a subculture cast off by its own immediate ally: the larger lesbian community.

This controversial film was attacked in congress by the conservative American Family Association for its depictions of radical lesbian sexuality, but the film reveals a fluidity to role-playing that is far more complex. As one woman declares S/M is about “finding your own boundaries and moving beyond.” Slave auctions, activist events, and the International Ms. Leather competition are artfully joined to the interviews, while a soundtrack by San Francisco riot grrrl punk bands Frightwig and Typhoon and industrial music masters Coil and Chris & Cosey propel BloodSisters along.

This event is organised in in collaboration with Queer Pride Groningen.

BLOODSISTERS: LEATHER, DYKES ANS SADOMASOCHISM clip | BFI Flare 2020