Three Nights a Week (Trois nuits par semaine) by Florent Gouelou is a captivating exploration of love, identity, and the multifaceted aspects of queer culture. The film, directed by Florent Gouëlou, follows the life of Baptiste, an aspiring photographer, whose encounter with the charismatic drag queen, Cookie Kunty, propels him into the vibrant world of drag, self-discovery, and love, for himself and for the world around him. 

Gouelou’s directorial debut moves beyond the surface of glamour often associated with drag culture, offering an intimate portrayal of the drag scene. Through the highs and lows of Parisian nightlife and Baptiste’s awakening to the colourful world of drag, the film sheds light on the complexities of identities and self-expression within the drag community, emphasizing the contradictions of life beyond the curtain call. Through Baptiste’s lens, the audience is invited to witness the multifaceted aspects of queer identities and their role in challenging preconceived notions and societal norms.

The heart-warming and thought-provoking relationship between Baptiste and Cookie Kunty serves as the film’s emotional core, oscillating between a tender romanticism and the often-complicated instability of self-discovery. Their love story unfolds with sensitivity and authenticity, standing out amidst the neon-lit atmosphere of Parisian nightlife and the film skilfully explores the intricacies of their connection, transcending conventional norms and expectations, thereby celebrating the diversity of human connections.

Three Nights a Week is extremely successful in subtly addressing themes like the fluidity of gender identity and the challenges of self-discovery. Baptiste’s journey into the world of drag becomes a metaphor for personal exploration, encouraging the audience to reflect on diverse ways of self-expression, and the film’s commendable ability to navigate these themes without sensationalism underscores its commitment to telling queer stories in an unfiltered and unadulterated manner. The brilliance of the film also lies in its portrayal of characters, particularly Baptiste and Cookie Kunty. As reviewers pointed out, the theme of the double is omnipresent, with Cookie seamlessly transitioning between her larger-than-life drag persona and the surprisingly insecure Quentin. The film therefore becomes a meditation on the different versions of oneself that coexist within, challenging conventional notions of identity and love.

Gouelou’s writing ended up exceeding expectations, delivering a narrative that evolves beyond traditional tropes and reviewing viewers with unique moments of queer liberation that stand as a testament to the evolving nature of queer storytelling, pushing boundaries and offering a profound meditation on the complexities of the self. Indeed, the increasing popularity of drag culture over the past decade is a heartening phenomenon, further celebrated by Three Nights a Week. Yet, the film goes beyond being a mere narrative and becomes a tribute to the real work behind successful drag performances, providing a glimpse into the lives of queer creatives and their primary role in LGBTQIA+ activism. Drag, as depicted in the film, has been a vehicle for self-expression and activism throughout history, challenging gender roles, fostering community, and acting as a catalyst for social change. 

Although many administrations, governments and political groups seem to be increasingly willing to reign in the freedom of queer individuals to express themselves freely, reducing queerness to some novel, and passing, phenomenon, drag and queerness have existed throughout history, predating the rigid gender binaries imposed by colonial societies. Indeed, many indigenous cultures have long celebrated gender variance and non-binary identities, recognizing the fluidity of gender expression and, what today we call gender fluidity, is nothing more than the most modern iteration of concepts that have accompanied society for centuries.

Such historical significance has, since then, transcended its subcultural origins, gaining immense visibility and influence in mainstream media, entertainment, and politics. Queerness, as of today, is rooted activism and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and for its need for expression, belonging, and resistance, when necessary.

Three Nights a Week therefore emerges not only as a remarkable debut in LGBTQIA+ cinema, but also as a testament to the power of drag culture in promoting self-discovery, acceptance, and activism. Through the lens of Baptiste and Cookie Kunty, the film navigates the complexities of identity and love, inviting audiences to reflect on the diverse ways people express themselves. Drag culture, as portrayed in the film and examined through history, continues to be a vital force in challenging societal norms and promoting inclusivity and Three Nights a Week stands as a shining example of the importance of unfiltered storytelling in advancing LGBTQIA+ rights and celebrating the vibrant spectrum of human existence.

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