by Anton Bialas

Next Step 2023


Feature Film

Femminielli is the story of  baroque nightclub in Paris, “Le Paradis”, a seedy underbelly where countless creatures of the night find refuge, away from the uniformity of broad daylight, under the watchful eye of the master of the house, the flamboyant and decadent Bernadino Femminielli. However, the city of Paris - lead by a capitalistic elite - aims to do away with the city’s most extravagant characters, which include the patrons of “Le Paradis”. In this all-out war, Bernardino, his lover Johnny, the dissolute Mila, and the bar owner, the old crone Mrs Ingrid, will be at the very core of this matrix that they refuse to leave. 

With Femminielli, Anton Bialas pursues the journey he initiated in his previous films, depicting marginal characters in an increasingly normative society, seeking the very moment when the prevailing reality and disenchantment are overturned. Drawing from an actual personal relation, the director uses his experience as a documentarian to let his actors freely improvise and perform. Inspired by the seedy atmosphere and visual identity of Rainer W. Fassbinder’s films, or William Friedkin’s Cruising, he creates a world in which the poetic and the vulgar merge together, where provocation and unabashed romanticism are the norm.