It’s just another classic lesbian love story. Two women meet in a bar. They dance. They kiss. They debate whether they should be in a relationship at all. They meet each other’s parents. They kiss in a grocery store while slowly peeling off their lucha masks. They fight. They make up.
The story of Zaynab and Alma’s love runs deeply through their community as their mothers, a woman who watches Desi-produced soap operas, basing her entire life out of her home and a once notable lucha-wrestler, learn about their daughters’ lives.
Actress Sari Sanchez shines as she works off of writer/producer Fawzia Mirza’s character figuring out what relationship means, exactly, for two queer women in Chicago.
Signature Move is a notable film in terms of feminist canon in that it weaves a rich tapestry of interconnectivity through its female characters as they build relationships that completely obsolete standards as arbitrary as those held by the Bechdel and Sexy Lamp tests fully placing it in unique multiple “Mako Mori” territory. More than one woman is a dynamic character in this film. Three of them are, and they lead compelling lives. They aren’t completely focused on sex with each other or asserting their queerness to the world either, as is the case with some of the campier or tropier films of the LGBTQ variety. Zaynab and Alma live and love each other in a way that compels an audience to appreciate their pairing.
One of the most beautiful aspects of this film’s interwoven narrative develops as Parveen, as portrayed by Indian New Wave luminary Shabana Amzi, finds her way out of being mired in the narrative that defines the place and status of women by terms of their relationship to men as she learns the truth about her daughter Zaynab and bonds with her.
But what’s even better is that this is not necessarily why this film that garnered IFP Chicago Fiscal Sponsorship and New City Chicago’s production oversight is an excellent watch. The dialogue presented by the writing team of Fawza Mirza and Lisa Donato (who are two thirds of the team responsible for the hit short Spunkle) is witty by any standard. The visual narrative as interpreted and presented by director Jennifer Reeder and cinematographer Christopher Rejano is compelling by every standard.
Signature Move is gorgeously-shot and boasts a compelling story about two women loving each other and finding their family’s acceptance. That’s all anyone should need to hear to go see this film. But if you still need an incentive, I suppose you could consider that it may be that a film that’s put together by a thriving community that loves what they do is usually the best kind.
The film opened to a completely packed house with people occupying some standing-room in the aisles and commanded a standing ovation at its close at Chicago’s legendary Music Box Theater on Sept. 29. It’s absolutely commanded audience attention at the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, Outfest and SXSW and will be released on Amazon VOD for regular viewing in 2018 after a limited-theatrical run.