A chronological look at films by, for, or about (or 'by, for, and about') gays and lesbians in the United States, from 1947 to 2005, from Kenneth Anger's "Fireworks" to Ang Lee's "Brokeback...
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A chronological look at films by, for, or about (or 'by, for, and about') gays and lesbians in the United States, from 1947 to 2005, from Kenneth Anger's "Fireworks" to Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain." Talking heads, anchored by critic and scholar B. Ruby Rich, are interspersed with an advancing timeline and with clips from two dozen films. The narrative groups the pictures around various firsts, movements, and triumphs: experimental films, indie films, sex on screen, outlaw culture and bad guys, lesbian lovers, films about AIDS and dying, emergence of romantic comedy, transsexual films, films about diversity and various cultures, and then mainstream Hollywood drama. What might come next?Written by
If this film were called "The Story of American Queer Cinema" I would give it a higher rating, although --as it has been written in other reviews-- it only covers a small sample of its subject in American cinema, mostly independent films from recent years. It is neither a work on self-representation by American gay independent filmmakers, since it also covers a few motion pictures made by heterosexual directors, who --with varying degrees of respect-- have worked with homosexual or lesbian stories and characters. The lack of references to significant mainstream titles as "Mikaël" (1924), "Mädchen in Uniform" (1931) and the very bad "The Third Sex" (1957), the three being from Germany, the interesting British drama "Victim' (1961), Fassbinder's "Fox and His Friends" (1975), "The Best Way to Walk" (1976) and "The Wounded Man" (1983) from France, the Mexican black comedy "Doña Herlinda and Her Son" (1985), or Wong Kar-Wai's dramatic "Happy Together" (1997), omits the different and many aspects of what it means to be homosexual or lesbian in other cultures, so we are left with what it means to be "gay" or "queer", one-dimensional terms that many persons from all over the world (including myself) seem reluctant to apply to themselves or anyone. In the end this omission affects the work, making it appear too light and shallow in terms of world contribution to cinematic representation of same-sex eroticism, even when a few of the testimonies and analysis of a couple of motion pictures make the documentary moderately interesting.
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