Rated Reads shares our pick of the best articles from around the web. This week: a documentary about non-binary drag artists and the trope of the "nice guy" in You.


Non-binary drag acts are creating their own space

Filmmaker Ollie Tunmore shares the story behind his new film London: The Capital of Drag.

“’I wanted the film to be authentically London. That meant it couldn’t be all cis, gay men running around in wigs. It had to include AFAB queens, drag kings, non-binary people and gender non-conforming acts: those who are underrepresented and often have the most important stories to tell.’”

From being denied gigs to being misgendered, writer Tom George explores how, turning things around, “London’s non-binary drag artists are forming their own culture”.


Netflix’s You and how ‘nice guys’ became the real villains

“The trope of casting the ‘nice guy’ as the villain is increasingly relevant, in particular,” writes Sophie Monks Kaufman, “in a post-#MeToo world where the cultural discourse about male violence grapples with the fact that perpetrators are usually not mythical monsters or social outcasts, but everyday “respectable” men who trade on their status to abuse women.”

From Netflix’s You to Promising Young Woman, Monks explores how these new storylines are subverting the paradigms of acceptable masculinity found in romcoms and exposing villains for who they really are.


How the Velvet Underground Redefined Counterculture

Spencer Kornhaber writes on Todd Haynes’s new documentary The Velvet Underground in The Atlantic, and how the band were “counter to the counterculture”.

“In an interview with The Guardian, Haynes argued that a ‘spirit of revolt’ and a resistance to ‘systems of marketing and power’ have been lost since the ’60s. Yet to watch his movie is to see how much the Underground—with Reed’s steady questing for a hit, and with Warhol’s celebrity penumbra—was in conversation with systems of marketing and power. For all its petulance, the band wanted influence, and over time, it got it: The trappings of Velvet-style disaffection have become a consumerist aesthetic. But every year, new musicians show that some fundamental resources—noise, stupor, antipathy, and outsiderness—can’t ever be fully hijacked, and won’t lose their potency. ‘I’ve been set free and I’ve been bound,’ Reed once sang, knowing that art can make both of those things happen at once.”

Tilda Swinton on the Life-Altering Potential of Great Cinema

We’re still reeling from LFF 21, a surprising number of its films starring Tilda Swinton. Here, the icon speaks to Hannah Lack about her latest roles, being directed by one of her oldest friends, “exploding head” disorder, and much more.

Swinton stars alongside her daughter in The Souvenir II: “The openness and intelligence Honor brought to the entire process was a really wonderful thing: unencumbered by any expectations or particular agenda of her own, she remained responsive and instinctively inspired from first to last. In any scenario, this would have been beautiful, but it is a kind of drop-dead miracle for me to see my oldest friend’s story traced out by my own child with such grace and understanding.”

Cartel Madras are changing the face of rap music

Meet Cartel Madras, the female hip hop group aiming to transform the genre. “’There’s this constant pressure for women in rap to look hot all the time,’ Eboshi [one half of the group] explains. ‘We like to be hot sometimes, but we don’t mind looking like shit either. Creating sounds people haven’t heard before is the biggest priority.’”

The South Indian group chat “revolutionary female freedom fighters”, being compared to M.I.A, and flipping the male gaze.

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