Joseph Graham shot his opening scene (Matthew Boyd, DP) like it’s a goddam Hitchcock movie. The Master of Suspense himself was notorious for creating predatory/deviant gay-coded characters (Rope, Shadow of A Doubt, Psycho, Rebecca, Strangers on a Train, Murder!, ).
In Strapped (2010), gays are rather nurturing, adventurous but not deviant, confused but not disturbed. Strapped is the Citizen Kane of gay hustler movies
PRAGUE – 1994
Grodecki: Do you sell your body?
Czech Boy: Yes. You can say that.
Grodecki: How about your soul?
Czech Boy: I sell my body together with my soul.
Grodecki: How much are they paying for your body?
Czech Boy: 1000 crowns (35 dollars)
Grodecki: How much you want for your soul?
Czech Boy: 2000 crowns
“A successful Chicago lawyer comes home to his family to reveal two things: he is gay and he is HIV+”
An Early Frost is the first widely-released film about the HIV/AIDS pandemic (November 1985). It is not the typical “disease of the week” film, as it bravely tackles other facets of the story including homophobia, medical information, social stigma, and family issues.
It was only a few years later when people came to know that it was actually predated by another film – BUDDIES (March 1985).
” It s a meat market and the tougher the meat the bigger the sale. It’s vanity. I know it’s nothing more, but I get a buzz out of them* thinking I’m straight. The pleasure is not all mine.”
– Christos Tsiolkas’s Loaded
Keen on doing “lavender in literature and cinema” during my research back then in graduate school, I came across with TEAROOM. But at that time it’s virtually impossible to get hold of copies, and research materials were few to none.
“[F]or two weeks in the summer of 1962, using a two-way mirror, police in the central Ohio town of Mansfield secretly filmed the activity in a public men’s room in the town square. The surveillance recorded dozens of men having sex, resulting in more than 30 prosecutions for sodomy, with at least a year in prison time for each. Decades later, filmmaker William E. Jones acquired the Mansfield footage while working on another project. The images so fascinated him that he’s been screening it, unaltered by further editing, as the 56-minute Tearoom. Shot without sound, in grainy color 16 mm, it’s a stunning document. The men range in age from their 20s to their 60s. They are white and black, fat and thin, in a banker’s suit or name-patched mechanic’s uniform. Faces humorless, eyes on the door, xxxxxxxx; a few exchange money. Michael Sicinski, in Cinema Scope magazine, called Tearoom “one of the most soberingly revelatory political films of recent years” and “a cinematic document of vital importance to the history of gay culture in the United States…”
Lucien and David channeling their inner Romeo and Juliet. August 13, 1944, New York.
THE BEST FILM OF 2014: Pride (Matthew Warchus, UK/France, 2014)
A wonderful retelling of the most unlikely solidarity between unions: line dancers and disco queens. Faith in humanity restored! Victory to the miners!
Love is Strange (Dir. Ira Sachs, USA/France/Brazil/Greece, 2014)
A modern reworking of Make Way for Tomorrow, as in, make way for the future of marriage equality. Sachs cemented his reputation as the Orson Welles of New York stories. Had Welles lived long enough to see this, he would drop in the “would make a stone cry” comment again.
The Way He Looks (Dir. Daniel Ribeiro, Brazil, 2014)
Blind are those that never really saw the hallmark of excellence in this little Brazilian film about two boys who fall in love in the backdrop of middleclass values and biology experiments.