Director, screenwriter, producer. Syria-born, Concordia-bred Shbib (a.k.a. Chbib) has been an obsessive and prolific filmmaker since the early 1980s, dividing his activities between Montreal and Los Angeles, a conjuror of Warholian universes of sexual fluidity and marginality. The most impressive of his early Montreal shorts, Or d’ur (1983, 44) is a delirious faux-vérité narrative of the world of male hustlers, complete with an over-the-top madame and bordello. Next came the transgender-themed Betsy (1983) and Amour impossible (starring Montreal transpersona Michelle DeVille, 1984). The subsequent stream of anarchic low-budget features such as Memoirs (a lesbian love story, 1985) and Evixion (denizens of a large apartment building caught up in voyeurism and AIDS panic, 1986) usually included a canvas of sexual dissidence and social diversity—not to mention hot men. In the stream of features produced through the nineties in the US, Shbib’s world became somewhat more mainstream, but occasionally recalls the provocations of his youth, as with the trans-themed Panic (1996). More recently, Shbib has returned to academia, but at time of writing is in postproduction on Wedding Murders (2004), about a gay serial killer in love with the police officer on his trail. Repudiating definitional labels, the “operationally bisexual” Shbib straddles borders, whether cinematic, national or sexual.
Al Qunaytirah SY