That Dared Not Show Its Face
I will never cease to be amazed at my bluntness.
Ever since I started studying the gay subtext in
literature and the movies, I couldn't help but shake my head every time
I discovered yet another book or film where the subtext has been eliminated
or simply ignored. With every book I read on the subject I felt as
if someone had switched on the lights and I'm seeing clearly now at last.
All too clearly even...
Too be honest, I am mad. Yes, I am. I'm mad at the
fact that I had to grow up in a world where such obvious gay references
in movies had to be kept mum about. I am angry that I'm now sitting here,
aged 22, and staring at the TV screen, not believing that it had never
even occurred to
me before, that 'Cabaret' was indeed about a gay man. And it's not even
hidden! If I had watched to movie, I would have noticed it. But I didn't,
because it just never caught my attention before.
What times are these where we cannot talk openly about
such things? Times have changed, of course. Never have been gay people
so liberated. But what makes me angry is that it's still treated as if
it was something special. Shouldn't kids at school read about this subject,
just as they read about racial conflicts and the like? Shouldn't they
learn to accept and tolerate gays? Shouldn't they grow up knowing that
In a way, I agree with Harvey Fierstein here. Better
a negative representation than none at all. But I only partially agree.
Hollywood and the movies have become a very powerful tool to form people's
opinions and ideas. Whole generations of queers had to grow up with the
notion that homosexuality really is queer,
twisted, weird and sick, and that it inevitably will end up in tears,
anguish and death. Thank God, I grew up in a time when it was no longer
demonized. But it was invisibilitized. Now, which is worse? I can't
I wonder, if I had grown up with the notion: there
are gays out there, this is how we
see them. Would I have then developed a consciousness of it sooner? Then
I would have had the chance to form my opinion and know for myself: they're
here and it's not
wrong, for crying out loud. Just as I saw depictions of hatred and racism
which I loathed and condemned, I would have been able to see them, see
us, as a group that
actually does exist.
But I didn't. I don't think I had any notion of homosexuality
until I was 12 or so. For a very short time, I thought it was a turn off.
Then I realized that I liked girls myself. I suppressed it, of course,
not knowing what I was dealing with. I made mistakes on my way of trying
to adjust. I was unhappy. I struggled out of this horrible time myself.
If there had been more films that visualize this, it all would have been
a lot easier, I'm sure.
Thing is, those films existed. They were all there,
all the time. I just didn't see them. And why? Because people kept mum
about it. You don't talk about such films. Sure, they're there and those
who are interested in it and want to know more about it are free to do
so. Fine. But please don't make us acknowledge this openly, okay?
Well, thanks a bunch! If I think of all those years
I was mocked and bullied by other people because I saw a gay subtext that
nobody else did. I was told, "You queers always want to make everybody
else queer! This is disgusting! Don't pull us all into your sordid affairs,
okay?" Thing is, those things were there!
It wasn't my sick sad mind that made it all up, no, it was they
who were too stupid to see it themselves. It's not said explictly, thus
it's not there, right? Any questions?
Actually, yes! Why do those people turn a blind eye
on gay references in movies? Hints that were intentionally placed there
as it had been stated by the directors, screenwriters, actors etc. many,
many times? Why do they so desperately cling to the fact that it's not
explicit, thus nonexisting? Isn't that really stupid and intolerant?
You tell me...
Now, to close my speech *g*, let me point out a few
movies I always have had "under suspicion", been laughed at for my assumptions,
and now finally found the proof!
don't tell me you never noticed the special kind of friendship
between Judah (Charlton Heston) and Messala (Stephen Boyd). They grew
up together, then parted and when reunited suddenly find each other
on different sides. Judah is still a jew, now a distinguished member
of society, but Messala has risen to fame in the Roman Empire. They
quarrel over politics and become fierce enemies.
the villian without motivation. Supposedly. But no, see it this way:
they were lovers when they were young. Messala returns, full of hope
and ardor and still desperately in love with Judah. But he has to realize
they no longer share a life. Both have changed, up to a point when it
is impossible for them to get together again. And then Judah even rejects
him. This hurts. That's how he grew to hate the one he could
sense. And I didn't make that all up. Gore Vidal, one of the screenwriters
of Ben Hur, said that it was just intended this way. It was all laid
out. But then they said "We'll never get Heston to do that!" So they
only let Stephen Boyd in and he pulled it all off, and Heston played
along, absolutely clueless. It's brilliant! Just look at the scene when
Messala returns and they drink together and practice with their spears
again (not what you think!). Handsome Messala, madly in love, eyes sparkling,
touching Judah carefully, and longingly and Heston goes all "Well, old
friend! haha!" ^_^
If you are not yet convinced, let me draw
your attention to the following conversation bits:
hug and Messala says tenderly, "I said I'd come
back," and Judah whispers roughly, "I
never thought you would. I'm... so glad." They share a long
glance, Messala's eyes get steamy and he bursts out into a shy and nervous
laugh. "Look at you!" Judah returns
the smile. "Look at you! You've come
back a tribune! When I heard the news I drank a toast to you."
Messala's smile fades and he says, all serious. "We'll
drink another now..."
When they throw their spears, Judah hits with his
right next to Messala's who cheers, "After all
these years! Still close...", to which Judah says seriously,
"In every way."
says half-jokingly, half-bitter when he realizes that Judah rejected
him, "Is there anything so sad as unrequited
Did I convince you now? ^_^
All I knew about it for the longest time was what
was written in my musical encyclopedias and in that summary on my CD.
And while I loved the music, I never really found the story all too
appealing. Some Nazi drama about an American writer in Berlin during
WW II, hooking up with a flamboyant night club singer who gets pregnant
from him and he finally sees that his quest for adventure had been silly
after all. *yawns* How boring. BUT! What
I didn't know then was that the stage version of this musical
had been butchered beyond recognition.
It was only the movie with Liza Minelli in '72
that was true to the original book, 'The Berlin Stories' by Christopher
Isherwood. Suddenly the writer Cliff Bradshaw becomes Brian Roberts,
frail and boyish, and obviously more on the same side of his pitch.
But don't get me wrong. The movie wasn't that "innocent"
either. In the end, it boils down to the message that Brian in fact
was rather heterosexual and his fling with Sally's lover Maximilian
had just been a mistake and he really ought to be with Sally. Sad. Isherwood
said about this that he felt as if Brian's affection for Max had been
used as some kind of kink only to emphasize the heterosexual value of
his relationship with Sally. In the end he gets to prove his heterosexuality
in order to get the girl. The message is, the bisexual one is the unreliable
one. That's disappointing, too. But not as much as abandoning it altogether,
It's a rotten
shame that they have butchered the message of this movie for the stage
version. Although, if I'm correctly informed, they changed that for
the all new Broadway staging, starring Alan Cummings in the original
New York cast. Sure hope so!
As for the
movie, it has some wonderful scenes, too. I just love the scene when
Brian hisses, "Screw Maximilian!" and Sally
replies, "I do!" . Brian stares at her and
then he mumbles, "So do I..."
That's an ingenious dialogue. And I love the scene when
Brian, Sally and Maximilian kiss at the same time. That's so tender...
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
subtext which is still quite evident in the play, but was completely
killed in the movie. Brick and Skipper. Ever wondered why exactly Brick
(Paul Newman) is suffering so much? Now, when you think about it, it's
sorta clear that Brick is gay, was in love with Skipper, who's now dead.
He hates Maggie (Elizabeth Tayor) for being a woman and for trying to
entice Skip away from his side. It's obvious. He doesn't want to sleep
with Maggie and explodes at the mere mention of Skip's name.
Maggie accuses him of it, too! She says "I hated
Skipper, because you loved him so much!" And we're not talking
about friendship here. She clearly says that she slept with Skipper
to show him that his love is unnatural and that he has to change. Always
the same construction.
from the movie, Big Daddy accuses his son almost openly of "unnatural
you think of it, this is the same pattern as in the most famous love
triangle, the Shakespeare Sonnets. Maggie is the Dark Lady (and what
a dark lady...), Brick is the poet, aging, alcoholic and bitter. And
Skipper is the young, golden-haired man. Pretty and fickle, letting
himself being seduced by the Dark Lady. Classical triangulation of desire!
Woohoo! *_* Now I'm feeling so smart for having realized that! *g*
Names Desire (1951)
still can't calm down that I didn't get the obvious reference in A
Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Willliams the first time I came
across it. Or maybe I did, and I just forgot. Now thinking about it,
it's really sorta obvious what it was that Blanche (Vivien Leigh) caught
her hubby doing. I remember it so well from the theater, when she runs
out of the house and yells "You make me sick! You
make me sick!!!!" How could I have missed that? Of course she
found her husband with another man. And he killed himself over the shame...
how sad. But Williams always did such great stuff. Once
again, the play is so much clearer though.
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
a Cause (1955)
very bizarre example of Williams' plays for the big screen with gay
themes is 'Suddenly, Last Summer'. Apparently, Williams (who was gay)
wrote this on the advice of his psychotherapist on order to come to
terms with his own sexuality by "exposing the evils" of homosexuality.
The result was the tale of a "degenerate poet", Sebastian, who first
uses his demented mother and later his older cousin to lure young boys
into his trap, but finds his horrible end in the frantic attack of raging
The movie later only consisted by perhaps 40% of Williams' original
play, the rest was written by Gore Vidal. The catholic Legion of Decency
(hum...) then approached the matter with a pair of scissors and butchered
it to pieces. Surprise, surprise! Yet they decided that this film could
be shown, since it illustrated the perversion and horrors of homosexuality
in a mixture of obsession, madness and cannibalism. They decided, however,
that the poet should never make an appearance throughout the film. The
result was quite fascinating. The actor who played Sebastian Venable
was cut out everywhere. All that was left was a glimpse here and there
of his arm, his sleeve, his legs... he became a demon without a face.
The story was told in shady flashbacks by his cousin, played by Elizabeth
Taylor. That way this film became a truly disturbing horror vision.
A funny note:
Katherine Hepburn played the poet's mother. She had no clue what the
fuss was all about until the director and her husband Spencer Tracy
spent one whole evening explaining to her the concept of homosexuality.
She then plain refused to believe that people would actually engage
in such disgusting actions and then demanded the film to be altered!
classical. Young Plato, played by Sal Mineo, is the obvious sissy. He
has a photograph of a guy in his locker and follows Jim, played by James
Dean, with ardent admiration. He probably was looking more for a father
figure than a lover, but Jim returns his feelings so blatantly that
sparks fly. In a way, Jim's just as loving and caring towards Plato
as he is towards his girl, played by Natalie Wood. But of course, in
a time like this, none of them could act upon their desires, thus they
were stuck in a constant balancing act between desire, suppression and
course, like so many queers in the movies, Plato finds his bloody end
An additional note:
That's something that really bothers me, too. Gays usually are depicted
as mad, degenerate and murderous. And of course, they always die,
be it by murder or suicide. No wonder so many gays in the past had
to feel bad about themselves. I thought this was really significant
that my beloved book included a whole Necrology, listing many
gays that died in the movies. Very, very sad...
my beloved Spartacus with this wonderful dialogue about oysters. The
older man, Crassius, is taking a bath and his young slave, Antoninus
is attending him. They are having this conversation. Now tell me what
it is about!
do you eat oysters?
Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral
and the eating of snails to be immoral?
And taste is not the same as appetite and therefore
not a question of morals, is it?
It could be argued so, master.
Um, that'll do. My robe, Antoninus. Ah, my taste...
it includes both oysters and snails.
it? I think this is brilliant! They are obviously not talking about
food, are they? They are talking about taste in men or women and it's
however, the scissors erased the gay subtext, which really is a pity
in this case, because it explained Antoninus' actions. He was shocked
at the thought of being asked to engage in actions he was not ready
to do. That's why he fled from his master to join Spartacus and the
other rebel slaves. I really want the DVD with the complete version!
Additional cinematographic note: when the
complete version was restored, the soundtrack of this scene was lost.
Thus, they had to redub it. Tony Curtis did his own voice, but unfortunately,
Sir Laurence Olivier, who played Crassius, was already deceased. However,
substitute was found. In this scene, Sir Anthony Hopkins did Crassius'
voice, since he had worked with Olivier a lot and could imitate him
The first movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture
in 1927, about the friendship between two men in WW I and the woman
they both love. While this silent movie superficially focuses on the
heterosexual love triangle, there is no denying the subtle but persistent
homosexual attraction between the two main characters.
"You - you know there is nothing in the world
that means so much to me as your friendship -"
"I knew it -- all the time--"
Jack (Charles Rogers) and David ( Richard Arlen) both
enlist in the Air Force at the outbreak of war. Being rivals for the
love of Mary, the two initially dislike each other, despite the constant
gazing into each others eyes. This changes during an out-of-control
boxing match when David is knocked down, and with a look of hurt and
blood gazes up to his opponent. They leave arm in arm and become best
Another Hitchcock classic. Whereas the movie's emphasis
certainly lies on the romance of handsome Mr. de Winter (Laurence Olivier)
and his second wife which is overshadowed by his uncanny attachment
to his deceased first wife Rebecca, there is one character that is like
a red alert sign to every gay viewer: Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson),
Rebecca's devoted housekeeper whose unconditional admiration for her
borders on obsession.
Unforgettable is the scene where she leads the new Mrs.
de Winter into Rebecca's boudoir and shows her her clothes which she's
still keeping fresh and ready to use. Mrs. de Winter (sorry, she has
no first name) is torn between dismay and a morbid curiosity. And then,
in one breathless moment, Mrs. Danvers buries her face in a fur coat,
closing her eyes wistfully for an instant before brushing it over the
other woman's cheek who shrinks back in horror.
Rebecca is based on the novel of the same name
by Daphne du Maurier. Although leading a quiet, married life her bisexuality
has been the subject of a lot of discussion. Strongly individualistic,
du Maurier once remarked about lesbianism, "Nobody could be
more bored with the 'L' people as I am."
Red River (1948)
Sexual frustration runs rampant here, between both male
and female characters, the most obvious ones, however, being between
young Matt (Montgomery Clift) and his tyrannical guardian, played by
John Wayne, and the playful flirtations between Matt and the cowboy
Cherry (John Ireland).
You get this very sexy talk between Cherry and
Matt which basically just revolves around guns, but you can see they've
got something completely different in mind.
Cherry comes up to Matt from
behind and says, "That's a good-looking gun you're
about to use back there. Can I see it?" Matt smiles boyishly
and gives him the gun. With a meaningful look, Cherry pushes his into
Matt's hand, saying "And you'd like to see mine!"
Then he starts inspecting the gun, stroking it tenderly as he
purrs, "Nice, awful nice..." He liftes his
head to see Matt's eyes transfixed on his hands. Cherry grins and says,
"You know, there are only two things more beautiful than a good gun.
A Swiss watch or a woman from anywhere. You ever had a good..."
Their eyes meet. "Swiss watch?"
Montgomery Clift's bisexuality (strongly leaning towards
the male side) was an open secret in Hollywood. He often experienced
rejection because of that. On the set of The Misfits, Clark Gable
only referred to him as "that faggot". A bad carcrash in '56
left his beautiful face disfigured and he was never the same again after
that. Never fully comfortable with his gayness, he died at the age of
46, worn out after a life of drugs and alcohol.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
This monumental flick of maximum length completely
ignores the fact that the historical T.E. Lawrence was gay, but the
way pretty Lawrence of Arabia (Peter O'Toole) sends out rather ambiguous
messages leaves enough room for interpretation. (Quote Noel Coward to
Peter O'Toole: "If you'd been any prettier, it would have been
Florence of Arabia!")
However, this movie approaches the subject of homosexuality
to imply villainy. The Turkish Bey is a vile man who lets Lawrence experience
a night of torture and humiliation through the hands of the Turks and
this goes well with him being gay. What really happened that night is
left in the shawdows. In his journal, Lawrence wrote about this night,
"the citadel of my integrity has been irretrievably lost that
night in Derea".
a film with real gay issues, but remember that guy who comes to visit
Sam Spade? He's queer! It's suggested by him using perfume, but also
the way he touches his lips with his walking stick in a very sensual
way. Once again, this is not a figment of my sick mind, but I have proof.
In the original novel, this guy is identified as a homosexual by Spade's
But this is very useful actually. See? These little facts give us hints
to how Hollywood used to gloss over homosexuality and gives us a powerful
tool to unveil it again. Like our own little Queer Stone of Rosette!
are just a few examples where homosexuality was effectively disguised
until almost nobody saw it anymore. I
was surprised though that one of the first things captured on film way
back then in 1890-something were two men dancing! Interesting, don't you
think? I now could start with the oldest written piece known to us, the
Epic of Gilgamesh, around 4000 years old, describing a very intimate same
sex bonding between the two male main characters, including the traditional
elegy and all that, but I'll spare you that! ^_^
I found much more astounding though, were the films that openly dealt
with gay topics! And I had no clue! I did, however, see some of them.
I'll make a list of a couple of those and new ones I just discovered.
Just to name a few:
Children's Hour (1962) with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley McLaine. Audrey
is Karen, a sensitive straight and Shirley is Marthe, the closeted lesbian.
Together they run a boarding school for girls. When a sneaky kid accuses
them of having an affair, things collaps above their heads.
this heartwrenching scene Marthe cries "Oh God,
I feel so damned sick and dirty I can't stand it anymore!" The
movie ends with Marthe hanging herself...
Making Love (1982) about a gay husband coming out and getting into
a relationship with another man. A Hollywood landmark actually, probably
first real gay romance on the big screen. Unfortunately a bit too blow-dried
to really make people go crazy over it.
"Why don't you just
say it?" "I'm gay."
"Thank you." "You're welcome."
The theater version was introduced by a ridiculously
long disclaimer that read:
We believe MAKING
LOVE breaks new ground in its sensitive portrayal of a young woman executive
who learns that her husband is experiencing a crisis about his sexual
MAKING LOVE deals openly and candidly with a delicate issue. It is not
sexually explicit. But it may be too strong for some people.
MAKING LOVE is bold but gentle. We are proud of its honesty. We applaud
Directed by Arthur Hiller who already did Love
(1972); one of my personal favorites. A screen adaptation of the life
of King Ludwig II of Bavaria who was gay, as we all know. Helmut Berger
pulls off a grand Ludwig, youthful and beautiful. The movie was directed
by Visconti and he and Berger were lovers at that time. Of course, this
movie was screened in censored version for many years until finally restored
to its full homosexual splendor.
in Uniform (1934); German b/w movie about a girl in love with her
The Hunger (1983) with Susan Sarandon and Cathérine Deneuve about
chic lesbian vampires and sweet sex scenes. I want Cathérine...
Miriam is an icy and elegant vampire lady who is centuries old. After
her current lover of 200 years (David Bowie) is rapidly aging, she seeks
out a new victim, butch Sara, a doctor who has written in the subject
of accelerated aging.
Cruising (1980); rather disgusting and anti-gay, but still interesting.
With Al Pacino, about a gay policemen who goes out killing other gays.
Pacino's straight character enters the gay scene undercover and gets dragged
into the evil swamp of homosexuality. The murder scenes are atrocious.
Man With a Horn (1950) with Lauren Bacall as a drop-dead gorgeous,
tantalizing lesbian Amy, married to the musician Rick, but not out of
love. I don't think I've closed my mouth for an hour or so after I've
seen her hit the screen. Gods, she was SUCH a beauty. I was bewitched
by her body. She was really thin actually and I felt so bad for admiring
it, but still I did. So elflike... Errr, I'm digressing.
When Amy wants to run off to Paris with her girlfriend, her husband (Spencer
Tracy) says, full of disdain, "You're a sick girl,
Amy. You'd better see a doctor."
Express (1978) about a man's experiences in a Turkish prison. Supposedly
falsifying Billy Hayes' original book, but it's got a sweet shower kiss
The Boys in the Band (1970), the first Hollywood movie in which
all principal characters were gay. Historically and politcally significant
despite (or because of) the characters' persistent self-loathing and wallowing
in self-pity. Eight friends meet to celebrate Harold's (Leonard Frey)
birthday. Michael (Kenneth Nelson) is the host, an unhappy gay Catholic.
As the evening proceeds, the playful bickering turns into vengeful attacks
that make the men realize how very sad and lonely it is to be homosexual.
"Show me a happy homosexual
and I'll show you a gay corpse."
The theatrical poster featured a picture
of Harold with the caption "Today is Harold's
birthday" and one of a pretty hustler (Robert La Tourneaux)
saying "This is his present". Most
major newspapers refused to print it.
On a sadder note, Kenneth Nelson, Leonard Frey and Robert La Tourneaux
all have died of AIDS.
Staircase (1969), a musical about a gay couple, with Rex Harrison
and Richard Burton. Rather annoying, homophobic and stupid, really, but
a landmark nevertheless. When it came out, appalled journalists asked
the two famous actors what they did to make their beautiful voices sound
gay. *chuckle* Asked if they weren't afraid to harm their career with
this, Harrison and Burton answered, "We're too old, too famous,
and too rich to worry about the consequenses.
(1948), a Hitchcock classic and one of the 7 lost movies (or so), about
two male lovers who kill a former classmate and indulge themselves in
inviting friends at their place with the corpse on the premises. A shockingly
brilliant flick, IMO. The movie has been shot in real time and covers
the 2 hours between the murder and the discovery.
The murdering couple was based on the real
life psychopaths Leopold and Loeb.
A Different Story (1978) with Perry King; disputed a lot since
it's about a gay man and a lesbian, both unhappy, who fall in love and
marry each other. It was accused of showing gays turning straight. I,
however, think that this isn't the case. Just because you're gay, doesn't
mean you have to avoid the other sex like hell. To me, this is the truest
and purest expression of friendship and love, when you can be together
without having sex. Admitted, I did not see the movie, so maybe they had
sex, but this is just a general comment on my side! ^_^.
Papillon (1973), with Steve McQueen
and Dustin Hoffman. The story of two dissimilar men banded together during
their incarceration at the dreaded Devil's Island. Whereas the nature
of Papillon and Dega's bonding can be argued, this film is notable because
of it's positive portrayal of an openly gay man, Maturette (Robert Deman).
He first comes out to the audience in a scene that is both erotic and
startling alike, when Maturette is groped by a lecherous inmate at the
lazarette at night who puts a nelly into his mouth before caressing him.
Maturette comes across as a gay man who is
handsome, but not stupid. When proposed by Papillon to have sex with the
guards to distact them in order to enable him to escape, he curtly rejects
the offer. He wants to come along and achieves this by saying "I'm
a fag, queer, fairy, poof" and making it clear that whereas
Papillon might have been falsely charged with murder, he indeed killed
a man and is up for the challenge. Maturette proves himself to be stronger
and tougher than most of the other straight prisoners.
Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971) with Glenda
Jackson and Peter Flinch, about the homosexual doctor Daniel and the straight
career woman Alex who both are in love with the bisexual artist Bob (Murray
Head) who treats them equally aloofly and with almost bemused detachment.
This quiet drama evolves around human relations, rather than the question
of sexuality, taking alternative lifestyles for granted. Something remarkable
for that time. It shows that love isn't always what you were taught to
be and in the end everyone settles for less than what they expected. At
the end stands the realization that everyone is alone.
The happy ending is presented for a homosexual character who's dull resignation
is not a product of his gayness. So tells Daniel the audience in the end,
"People say to me, He never made you happy. And
I say, But I am happy. Apart from missing him. All my life I've
been looking for someone courageous and resourceful. He's not it. But
something. We were something."
The passionate kiss between Daniel and Bob caused a riot
and contributed to the movie's box-office failure. Male homosexuality
always has been defined in terms of sex. True affection was out of the
question. So, in a way the kiss caused more of a stir than showing them
in bed together. What I find remarkable about this love scene is the way
it has been shot and put into scene. There has always been a difference
between how men get it on on screen and how women do. These here do it
in a tender and beautiful way, in a time when m/m sex used to be something
aggressive and threatening.
I realize that those films don't really fit here, since
they were made well past the time when the Love That Dared Not Show Its
Face appeared on the big screen. Now it's no longer a biggie to make a
film about gays. But still, I would like to take this moment to bring
you a few selected movies closer. Of course, there are tons of others
and this list is less than complete, but to me those are exceptional specimens
of contemporary queer cinema.
Carrington (1995) with Emma Thompson
and Jonathan Pryce. This movie shaped my views of love. I cannot stress
enough how much I love it. It tells the story of gay writer Lytton Strachey
who fell in love with the looks of boyish painter Carrington, mistaking
her for a boy. They form a deep friendship, move in together and eventually
even share their lovers. Based on their true story, it shows beautifully
how love can develop without bothering about sexual preference and last
Velvet Goldmine (1998) with Jonathan
Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor. Do I have to say more? If you know me,
you know how much I adore this movie and I could probably fill pages with
it. I'll hold myself back now, though. ^_^
"The curves of your lips rewrite history..."
Loosely based on the life of David Bowie,
this movie follows the rise and fall of (fictional) glam rock icon-to-be
Brian Slade, his turbulent career and passionate relationship with American
rockstar Curt Wild. The events are witnessed by Arthur (Christian Bale),
who explores and defines his own sexuality along with his idols. Everybody
in this movie seems to be gay, or at least bi. ^_^
It was directed by the brilliant Todd Haynes who has made himself a name
before for his gay-themed movies of a different kind.
It's My Party (1996) with Eric Roberts
and Gregory Harrison. One of those movies that wouldn't let me stop crying
for hours afterwards. The story of HIV-positive Nick who decides to take
his own life before the debilitating effects of his disease set it, but
not before throwing a magnificent farewell party, inviting friends and
family, most of which don't have a clue how this party will end. The plot
thickens when Nick's ex-lover appears on the scene.
Openly gay director Randal Kleiser based this
movie on his real-life experience.
Priest (1994) with Linus Roache and Robert Carlyle,
the painful quest of a man of cloth who finds himself torn between his
love for God, his job and a man.
Father Greg (Linus Roache) has been assigned to a poor Liverpool parish.
There, his faith is tested for the first time when he finds out that the
resident priest, Father Matthew, has an affair with his housekeeper. Then,
a girl tells him in the confessional that she's being sexually abused
by her father, but he's sworn to secrecy and can't do anything about it.
And then, there's the problem of his homosexuality. When he gets arrested
for having sex at a public place with his new lover Graham (Robert Carlyle)
whom he picked up in a bar, his secret is exposed and society's hypocrisy
hits him with full force.
"I turn to him for help and seeing the picture of a
naked man simply turns me on."
This film shows in a very moving way how religion often
conflicts with a person's individual needs and desires and also the hypocrisy
of celibacy and confidentiality. With these important issues, Greg's gayness
is just another facet to make this movie more dramatic and touching.
Total Eclipse (1995) with Leonardo
DiCaprio and David Thewlis. This movie widely received bad reviews, but
I can't help it, I love it. It's the fascinating portrayal of the tempestuous
love/hate relationship between the French poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul
When 16 year old Arthur comes to Paris, he sweeps the already established
and well-known poet Paul off his feet, causing him to abandon his wife
and child to travel the world with his young lover and pursue an artistic
lifestyle. Arthur is so full of himself and his art that he doesn't seem
to care about anything else and thus causes Paul a lot of pain which finally
results in both their doom.
The affair of Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud
is based on their true life. What I love about this movie is the quiet
sadness with which it describes how love and obsession can destroy a person.
It touched my heart to see that Paul never forgot Arthur.
The Living End (1992), we are taken on a lawless
road adventure, following the fates of two HIV-positive gay men who decide
to fuck the world, before it fucks them. An ultra-low budget production
(which sometimes shows, unfortunately) that presents a different kind
of reaction to society's disregard for the plight of HIV-positive people
and that is despite its bitter issue a funny and intriguing black comedy.
The movie was directed by openly gay director Gregg Araki,
known for his assaultive, in-your-face independent hits and bleak look
at life, but also often criticized for his blunt comments and kinda arrogant
"The harshest criticism I've gotten is from gay journalists themselves,
and it makes me wonder if they're the ones who are self-hating closet
queens." - Gregg Araki.
that I shall close my lecture for today. I could go on about this forever,
but I can't possibly do that,I just wanted to record this for the future.
I'm sure I'll write more about this some other time, so check back, if
you feel like it! ^_^