The 1994 Lesbian Classic, Shines Anew at Sundance 2024 by Louise Fox
It's hard to underestimate the impact of Go Fish. Even amidst the burgeoning wave of queer cinema, Rose Troche's first feature stood out as the scrappy, authentic film that epitomised the spirit of the indie movement. Now, three decades later, a digitally restored version of the film forms part of the Sundance Film Festival's 40th Edition.
The 4K restoration not only enhances the film's visual quality but also broadens the frame, offering audiences a never-before-seen perspective. While the plot retains its familiar, humorous, and near-episodic charm, the characters radiate colour even in black-and-white film.
Set in 1990s Chicago, Max, portrayed by co-writer Guinevere Turner, awaits her dream girl. Max's roommate, Kia (T. Wendy McMillan), suggests Ely (V.S. Brodie) as a potential match, sparking a comedic disagreement. With gentle nudging (or scheming) from their friend group, love might blossom. Reflecting on the film's creation, producer Christine Vachon acknowledges the hunger in the community for representation. Troche and Turner crafted the film to showcase their community on screen, unwittingly creating an enduring and significant piece.
Three decades later, this heartfelt celebration of friendship and love, born during challenging times in the AIDS movement, when our friends were dying and we had only just survived Thatcher the film remains a powerful antidote to hopelessness. Troche reflects on the film's enduring impact, highlighting its role as a timeless balm for the soul.
Troche says “It is always difficult to revisit something that you made as your first feature,” says Troche. “I think during this process, I really fell in love with this movie again. I never had fallen out of love, but I just came to appreciate its separate self. It’s been 30 years. It’s not mine anymore, really, it’s yours.”
Revisiting Go Fish has proven to be a journey filled with nostalgia and gratification. A celebration of queer life on screen that resonates with me now as much as it did my 22-year-old self, and remains an enduring and vital film in the queer canon.