Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Drag Kids’

Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Drag Kids’

The world is a terrible place full of judgmental older generations, but God bless the girls who try. Megan Wennberg’s Drag Kids show four of those girl. Despite their different skill sets and birth gender assignments, they are all pre-pubescent children who participate in the art of drag. The most famous of these children is Nemes, who goes by the name of Lactatia, a Quebecer who’s already making waves in the drag scene which now has a worldwide reach. Wennberg shows all four practicing their moves before they go out into their regular gigs, one much bigger after the last.

This is straightforward film making and it doesn’t necessarily do anything visual. But what makes this interesting is how it observes these children making decisions about how to appear in public. Lactatia tells her mother to tighten her shoes or how she’s going to wear her hair to a gig. It also takes a look, although only slightly, at the local scenes where these queens perform, which is mostly in the global north. Lactatia is, as I previously mentioned a Quebecer, but the other girls bring it on stages in British Gibraltar, in Great Brtain, and the Southeaster United States.

These stories could have stayed separate, letting each queen go through their separate journeys. I’m still mixed at the trajectory of the events here, where Lactatia invites the other queens to perform at Fierte in Montreal. And even that reunion has its problems. The idea of making them perform a number together instead of separate ones streamlines drag instead of making each queen define their own performance style on such a big stage. Regardless, they’re still on stage as individuals with artistic minds. There’s also something beautiful at watching adults cheer on children who are being their true selves.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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