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Monday, January 30, 2023

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Diversity in film and TV: there is still a lot of room for improvement

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For decades, an unwritten law in the film and television industry has been: queer characters die in the end – and mostly not a natural death. If they survive, they will be heartbroken. Those times are long gone, especially for gay characters. Recently, for example, in the British series “Heartstopper” or the Hollywood film “Love, Simon”, boys were allowed to fall in love with each other without fatal consequences.

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The gay rom-com “Bros” even had a rambling happy ending sequence. In the case of lesbian women, love matters are changeable, such as in “Ammonite”, “Portrait of a Young Woman on Fire” or “Happiest Season”, but at least all the characters survive.

Thanks to series like “Orange is the new black” or “L-Word: Generation Q”, a lot has happened in the representation of trans characters. However, there are still hardly any major cinema productions with central trans characters who are also played by trans actors. The Chilean drama A Fantastic Woman, which won the 2018 foreign Oscar (and previously the Berlinale Teddy), is one of the few exceptions.

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This shows that the effort to achieve more diversity in the film and TV industry is an ongoing process – nothing that would ever be completed. It has to be constantly worked on. How much remains to be done can also be seen from the number of non-white actors playing criminals in German productions. An Elyas M’Barek, who now has very different roles, is far from enough.

The situation is even more unsatisfactory when it comes to depicting characters with disabilities. They are hardly ever the focus of the action – and here, too, the few roles that exist are often played by people who are not affected.

It’s nice to hear that actor Tan Çağlar certifies that the industry has woken up in the Tagesspiegel interview. I hope she doesn’t doze off right away. Because in order for the argument “There aren’t enough actors that we could cast” to disappear, the next generation needs more role models.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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