BloodSisters: Leather, Dykes and Sadomasocism (1995)

It’s incredibly how only twenty five years ago, the idea of the sub-culture of S&M and fetishes like bondage and roleplaying were still so hush and barely spoken of. In modern society we’ve somewhat turned a corner and managed to embrace kink and sexuality a lot more, but the people we get to meet in “BloodSisters” are clearly individuals that have been suppressed by a society that just doesn’t understand them.

From pushy bottoms to macho femmes, Bloodsisters is an A-Z documentary guide that takes an in-depth look at the San Francisco leatherdyke scene during the mid-nineties, shattering assumptions about gender and lesbian sexuality. Eight self-described leather dykes tell their stories about participating in a subculture cast off by its own immediate ally, the larger lesbian community.

 Even in 2020, “BloodSisters” is a very niche independent documentary that works hard to (with a soundtrack by SF riotgrrl punk bands Frightwig and Typhoon and industrial music masters Coil and Chris & Cosey) normalize and demystify the idea of sadomasochism and S&M. There’s an entire sub-culture and devoted following with its own branches, and director Michelle Handelman explores these normal everyday women and how their fetishes have managed to help them evolve. Better yet, their passion for S&M and Bondage have allowed them a means of self expression and a way to cope with their sexuality and a society that, in 1995, was still very repellent to the LGBTQ lifestyle.

While “BloodSisters” is a documentary practicing these idea of showing us once and for all what they do to one another, its also a healthy documentary that promotes safe sex, and sanitary conditions that help women show their passion without fear of AIDS or HIV. The community featured here is a community that survived the eighties (and is coming out of the horrendous Regan Administration), it serves a firm purpose of destroying stereotypes once and celebrating sex.

Recently screened at OUTFEST 2020, accompanied by a Live Digital Panel. Coming Soon to Kino Now digital release & Kino Lorber Home Video.