Turin GL Film Festival Circa 2001
This was the official website for the Turin GL Film Festival for a number of years.
The content is from the site's 2001 archived pages offering just a glimpse of what the film festival offered its visitors.
Film Festival in Turin
By Roberto Schinardi
FROM 13 TO 19 APRIL TO TURIN, THE XV INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL WITH HOMOLOGICAL THEMES 'FROM SODOMA TO HOLLYWOOD'
This is a very rich and centrifugal program of the 15th Turin Gay Festival, which this year will take place at the provisional seat of the Multisala Teatro Nuovo in Corso Massimo d'Azeglio 17 - a stone's throw from the Valentino park - waiting for the latest restructurings at Cinema Massimo. Opening the national preview of 'The next best thing - Do you know it's new?' By John Schlesinger with Rupert Everett and Madonna mixed couple (that is, he gay and her heterosexual) who find themselves in bed together, have a son and must decide how to grow. Three popular compartments: feature films, short films and documentaries; Among the first, 'The Sex Einstein' is the latest film by the militant Rosa Von Praunheim on the life of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a former gay German gay maker, the creator of a Sexual Science Institute boycotted by the Nazi government. Among the documentaries to be reported on 'Journey to a Hate Free Millennium' by Bedogne and Scarp on the murder of Matthew Shepard and Epstein's Paragraph 175 and Friedman's award-winning Berlin gossip.
The retrospective is dedicated to English cinema, 17 significant titles from Ken Hughes's' Carnation green 'to' Meet Crisp 'by Nathan Evans (with the latest interview with Quentin Crisp),' Maurice ',' Sunday Damned Sunday ',' Victim '.
This year's icons are the "eternal" Dalida and Joe Dallesandro, the "warholian body" object of uncontrolled veneration in the underground universe of Morrissey and Gainsbourg. The section 'Sometimes Returns' is dedicated to the magnificent costumes of Adrian, who dived as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland.
Finally, 'Which Jubilee' is dedicated to the relationship between homosexuality and Catholic religion.
This year they seem to be her disguised and transsexual master: we will see them as Bonnie and Clyde in the world premiere of 'Red lipstick' by Alexandra King with Deborah Harry, Charlie's Angels' model in 'Charlie!' And even in the Brazilian parody of the documentary-horror The Blair Witch Project 'Blair's Cheque'. The tricolor (and triglyceride) will be defended by a sword from our ineffable Platinette that will present Chiara Boni's collection in an evening fashion.
15th TURIN INTERNATIONAL 2001
XVth INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF GAY AND LESBIAN FILMS
Presentation by Giovanni Minerba
Here we are again in the starting blocks, with the XV edition of the most unaccommodating Festival of current day schizophrenic Italy. A Festival which is unaccommodating but also - and it's a judgement shared by many - one of the most useful and important in the national calendar. We are very proud of this: both because our work is useful and because it allows us to offer and to have the chance to explore and get to know a certain kind of cinema. While doing so, the Festival becomes a place to share experiences and knowledge, a channel of communication.
No small achievement, in this schizophrenic and chameleon-like Country, where on one hand we are told by a survey (promoted by Explorer and the La Stampa newspaper) that most Italians do accept homosexuality; on the other, we are left (because of the closing down of Cinema Massimo) desperately looking for alternative accommodation ready to welcome the Festival. It has proved to be no easy task, until we were finally housed by Teatro Nuovo-Valentino. Rather than explain all this - as usual - as "discrimination"... on the contrary, we pressed on with our usual passion and commitment. And, thanks to all of you who have supported us, we have succeded. Again we wonder if all this doesn't come down to a certain fear still associated with the "films which can change your life...". Who cares! As in any good melodrama, we believe that Loves wins all... The love for a Festival that, this time round again, has put together a programme catering for all tastes. Just flick through the catalogue.
Thoughts: It's astounding the changes that have occurred in the last 15+ years in regards to gay rights and acceptance. Having said that, we have still a long road ahead of us as is evident by the destructive forces of the extreme right and the latest US president's policies. Just the other day while my partner was looking for the perfect round luxury dog bed for our devilish pekingese, Randall. We needed something that would coordinate with our living room decor which is what I call shabby French toille meets modern chic. I, on the other hand am perusing the conservative right judges that the Senate Republicans are poised to confirm. As it is the Republicans are already setting a record pace for circuit court picks. It freaks me out since confirming Trump’s judicial picks could shape the direction of the U.S. court system for decades. Well, Albert is successful in his search for dog beds. He has found site called Goodnight Dogs that sells round dog beds in designer fabrics. One of the toile designs is perfect. It is a classic blue and white toile. That's a bright ray of success on a day that the anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ bill is back being reintroduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) which Trump has promised to sign. Let me move on from politics, it's soooo depressing. Ah, the NewFest is New York’s LGBT film festival, highlighting the best in LGBT films from around the world has just announced its dates- OCTOBER 24 – 30, 2018. Since 1988, this has been one of the largest and most prestigious LGBT festivals in the world. Now that's a bright spot to look forward to.
XV Turin International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Special Events / With Jubilee
by Filippo Gentiloni
Memory and reconciliation: the Church and its faults of the past. This is the title of a document prepared by the International Theological Commission on the occasion of Jubilee 2000. This mea culpa is a clear embrace between History and the Church: being in the History means to sin, reconciling should mean remember that sin and make it won't happen again. Which sin? Besides the possible lists - of violence, abuses, stakes, conquered indios, b-serie women - that could be lenghtened ad libitum, there is a guilt that lays under all others: the pretence of having a special place in History. A special place from where to judge without being judged; a cathedra from where to teach a truth without ever accepting any discussion, any confrontation with other truths. A sort of 'preferential lane' abstracted form the control of the one who tries to arrange the circulation of ideas inside History. The Church, too, has to confess that sin, the most important and the worse of all, the one of Adam and Eve in the Garden of eden, of Narcissus in the Greek mythology: the presumptuousnes, the love for themselves, for success, for victory. This is the sin the Church should repent of today, pleading forgiveness from History, remembering of all those condemned, killed, martyrized, despised, dismissed, excluded in its name. In the Christian tradition, the world 'repentance' translates a Greek world always featured in gospels, 'metanoia'. But, more than repentace, 'metanoia' means changing of route, of mentality, of life. Conversion. Without changing there is no repentance. The call to changement-repentance works for Christians as for the Church. Will the Church be able to answer this call beyond the celebrations for the Jubilee? Will men and women, sooner or later, be allowed to live without all the anthems that the Church daily bestows?
BODY OF DISSENT
director: Holly Nattall, Gordon Bowness, Cate Friesen, Greg Lichti
screenplay: Holly Nattall, Gordon Bowness, Cate Friesen, Greg Lichti
editor: Holly Nattal, on-line-Van LaPointe
sound: Gordon Bowness
music: Cate Friesen
producer: Holly Nattall, Gordon Bowness, Cate Friesen, Greg Lichti
production: Bridge Video Productions - Toronto
video, 40', col.
Full recognition of gay and lesbian membership is one of the most divisive and problematic issues facing Christian churches today. This documentary video focuses on a number of very tenacious and spirited individuals, across Canada and United States. In spite of official censure, they have found a way to integrate their sexuality with their unique religious and cultural heritage. Through feature interviews, archival materials, original and choral music, and footage from community events, the stories of these women and men emerge as a mirror of the broader Mennonite and Brethren community.
regia / director: John Greyson
sceneggiatura / screenplay: Michel Marc Bouchard
montaggio / editor: André Corriveau
fotografia / photography: Daniel Jobin
musica / music: Mychael Danna
suono / sound: Trip Brock, Shawn Holden, Lee Starkman.
interpreti / cast: Brent Carver, Marcel Sabourin, Aubert Pallascio, Jason Cadieux, Danny Gilmore, Matthew Ferguson, Alexander Chapman
produttori / producers: Robin Cass, Arnie Gelbart, Anna Stratton
produzione / production: Triptych Media e Galafilm 35mm, 95', col.
When bishop Bilodeau arrives to hear the confession of an aging convict, Simon Doucet, the inmates lock him in their prison chapel while they become a richly-diverse cast of men and women playing out scenes from Simon's tragic past. It soon becomes clear that the story of Simon's love for a boy who died forty years earlier is also a disturbing chapter from the bishop youth. And as the fantastic story is detailed, the bishop begins to fear for his life.
PIANESE NUNZIO 14 ANNI A MAGGIO | Pianese Nunzio 14 years in May
director: Antonio Capuano
screenplay: Antonio Capuano
cast: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Emanuele Gargiulo, Manuela Martinelli, Tonino Taiuti, Rosaria De Cicco, Teresa Saponangelo, Nando Triola.
35mm, 115', col.
A young priest crusades against organized crime in his Naples neighbourhood but falls in love with a 13-year old boy. It's the chance the gangsters were waiting for to get rid of him. Will they be able to force the boy to accuse the priest of sexual harassment and have his reputation destroyed?
SO. HO. HY. (SODOMY, HOMOPHOBIA, HYPOCRISY)
director: Gustavo Solis Moya
screenplay: Gustavo Solis Moya
photography: Renato Cellone
cast: Massimo Mangiardi
video, 90'', col.
Born on 25.09.1971 in San Josè, Costa Rica, Gustavo Solis Moya lives in Italy since 1996 where he attended several specialization courses in audio and video field. Since 1997 he realizes any kind of work: art videos, documentaries, musical videos and narrative short films, that have been screened in several italian and foreign festivals in Torino, Bologna, Palermo, Grenoble (France) and San José (Costa Rica).
Prejudices. Fears. Lies. How many people pray God for one minute without shame?
STOP THE CHURCH
director: Robert Hilferty
screenplay: Robert Hilferty
editor: Bob Huff
photography: Robert Hilferty
music: Hector Berlioz, Georg Friedrich Händel
producer: Robert Hilferty
16mm, 23', col.
In Robert Hilferty's indictment of the Catholic church, the filmmaker looks at both sides of what this two-thousand-year-old power structure has meant to different people. Hilferty takes his audience from concept to fruition of the controversial demostration against Cardinal John O'Connor at St. Patrick Cathedral in New York City in 1989. Through this journey we learn how Act Up works, from discussing the issues to taking action. The piece is a success story about individuals working together to regain power over their lives by challenging the forces which would otherwise unfavorably determine their fate.
THE ABSOLUTION OF ANTHONY
director: Dean Slotar
screenplay: Dean Slotar
editor: Christopher Osborn
cast: Joe Quintero, Carlos Rafart, Gary Stewart, Victor Garber
producers: Jennifer Crean, Lindsay Jewett
16mm, 13', col.
Born in South Africa, Dean Slotar's first short film, Post Apartheid Popcorn premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 1993. He has just completed production on Small Targets, a film about the war against land mines in Mozambique and is in pre-production for a film on Children Soldiers in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Absolution of Anthony, his first narrative short film, was selected for the Shorts Competition at the Sundance Film Festival this year and has been invited to over 40 film festivals worldwide.
The Absolution of Anthony is a black comedy-drama, seen through the eyes of a 16 year old gay Latino teenager, Anthony, who lives with his Catholic grandfather in a working class neighborhood in the Bronx. Every Sunday Anthony can be found inside his room hiding behind the sexual anonimity of the telephone, which he uses to call the neighborhood boys. The story takes place on such Sunday where, through the unwitting intervention of the neighborhood priest, Anthony's hidden world is revealed as unfulfilling and he is given the courage to attempt real contact with another Bronx boy, Joe.
JOE DALLESANDRO, A BODY [Giampiero Frasca]
Joe Dallesandro, a body.
Surely, in the most glorious period in American underground cinema, the body par excellence, the focal point of a movie concept comparable in importance to the ideal giullaresco, characterized by grotesque contorted facial expressions and gestures, Taylor Mead, or the ambiguity and ostentatious provocative Mario Montez.
A product of the company as all of Warhol's pictorial inventions, an ordinary person transformed into a work of art, crystallized in a frame of celluloid that serves as a frame, an extrapolation of the metropolitan substrate emptied of meaning and drama, an iteration that refers conceptual abstraction of the printing.
A sign of the times that becomes an image pop, an iconoclast tipping the star system concept according to the canons strictly Hollywood: all this is Joe Dallesandro as a film actor, a two-dimensional surface on which you can gaze and cancel nell'atavico ideal of perfection of physical forms.
An icon in the literal sense of the word, a communication features, the externality, the mellow side dishes, liable to sublimate the very symbol of the attraction men understood as the body to be admired, to covet and desire for its high degree of perfection. He said John Waters, who has a long experience with regard to attendance filmic emblematic, which has always turned Dallesandro male sexuality in cinema, focusing in fact on the decisive actor moving from one image only rigidly fixed, almost mannerist painting or Renaissance, to a serial reproduction method characterized by the repetition of the shape thanks to the systematic succession of images and sequences, typical of cinematographic reproduction.
From playful and almost casual carnal activities Lonesome Cowboys , moving from brief and impromptu appearance of The Loves of Ondine , Dallesandro became real presence in the trilogy of Paul Morrisey, consisting of Flesh (1968), Trash (1970), Heat ( 1971)
Already the first shot of Flesh appears symptomatic regarding the role of Joe and his essential cinematic link with examples antecedents that had contributed to forming the same conception of Morrissey: Dallesandro lying on a sleeping bed while the camera lingers obsessively on his figure, on her naked body abandoned by the senses and expression.
For the history of cinema this is the image with which Dallesandro is delivered to the collective imagination: on the one hand the phenomenological resumption of dormant refer to the grueling challenge of Sleep guru Warhol, on the other hand forms the inseparable link between figure and body , including nudity and sensuality that will be a fundamental element of all atypical career Dallesandro.
No more late challenge in itself, since in this respect Jack Smith has already said everything, but exaggerated fixation of the roles involved in the cinematic representation: the viewer captures the look on the object, which acts as a catalyst and prevents element to Meanwhile, visual disturbances in space. The eye is caught by an element of the visual field that gives strength and charm into the scene and Joe Dallesandro, even before he became an actor, is transformed into entities, in a figurative role, in pure form that gives strength and meaning to the framework and It enriched with its simple presence ordering.
Morrissey cements the position of his singular superstar following the virtually complete immobility of the camera, insisting on the body, the flesh of static poses a Joe inert, completely unfazed, he feels upon himself the full extent of the eyes of a public that inevitably becomes his fervent admirer.
The full explanation of the force of Dallesandro provides it with almost meta-narrative mode, the artist in Flesh luring him on the streets of New York, transporting Room for who engages in statuesque poses that call to mind the greek ideal of beauty. Joe is a true object of worship for people with a particular taste, which abandons himself totally to the vision, adhering to the person emotionally.
The terms "sympathetic" and "empathetic", cited by the artist, underline the unconditional fusion aesthetic that is realized between the viewer and the object of vision, it closed in its total atarassia of staging figure to be observed, to catalyze attention and to cancel his eyes in absolute contemplation captor.
The object Dallesandro, in its enviable imperturbability, also assumes the deep valence conceptual and visual contrast with the sordid environment that surrounds it, made of raw existential situations, euphemistically singular, desolatamente dingy. The Greek ideal of beauty within the frame produces a subtle tension ready to explode in all its extreme and violent contradiction.
The body, the face, the details that insist on biceps, nipples or the abs, are the iconographic counterpart of a world in decay with predominant prostitution, drugs, violence and exasperation of arriving: Joe, all 'interior of a society that can not see him actively involved because of his rasserenatrice function that is part of a perfect plan, completely outside of any temporal contingency, becomes a character even more passive, far away as ever from the events, in a sort of aura self-contemplation.
But the image of Dallesandro in the course of the trilogy evolves until exhausting the whole kit of the possibility that its underground sexuality has the ability to produce: the object of worship of Flesh turns into simple effigy in Trash, a mesto human simulacrum ravaged by drug addiction and from impotence which makes it an immobile figure, frozen in the total lack of explicitness of their sensual capacity.
The object is transformed into portrait without thickness, from the Greek statue is passed to the flatness of the painting. But it is only the evolution of a character who embodies the voyeurism of sexuality in every facet: in Heat Joe becomes the subject of discussion of the characters who speak of him off the field, while the camera accompanies him in his short walks in the Tropicana Motel . Still admiration, but only to take advantage of his body, which, with a new sense of movement, becomes a source of physical desire and not more visual, tactile longing which replaces the previous scopophilia.
After the trilogy, the icon becomes cliché: stallion who comforts the mad-doctor neglected wife in The monster is on the table ... Baron Frankenstein (Morrisey, 1974), handsome and vigorous Marxist in Dracula seeks virgin blood ... and died of thirst (Morrisey, 1974), gay trucker with anal obsessions in Je t'aime, moi non plus (Gainsbourg, 1976), decadent and self-destructive character in the margin (Borowczyk, 1976), passionate lover in nocturnal movements (Breillat , 1979), even preacher Cry Baby (Waters, 1990), for an ironic reversal of the role now institutionalized Dallesandro that was clearly intended to stigmatize caustically hypocrisy of the American province.
A body without a soul, a conscious parody of divo that the attention on his carnality has been able to give rise to counter-cinema, material, organic, perhaps even hypnotic. When, that is, a simple figure becomes framing.
DALIDA: STAR, WOMAN, ICON [Marinella Venegoni]
Lost in the infinite repertoire of the music market, the character Dalida is still - 13 years after his death - the subject of a tenacious worship and even a bit mysterious.
His short life was a saga of love and death and woven loneliness music, a patchwork of romantic misadventures and human misery, however, were taking place under the glow of the spotlight and cameras and still in the big show business lie sheltered a warm voice, sensual, virtuous and powerful that subjugated to sensitive souls.
The added value of exoticism then amalgamated in his artistic work cultures and different languages, unwittingly stirring the ' "high" and "low", the most popular song and chanson, with the natural ease of one who had seen and heard and practiced worlds and atmospheres also opposed.
He was born from there, a still little known Mediterranean melting pot by the masses, the charm of Dalida, Italian born in 1933 in Cairo by Calabrian father who left her an orphan at age 12, with a beauty still immature and ecomiche scarce resources; He became a typist, and was still Jolanda Gigliotti when she was elected "Miss Egypt", a title that - as often happened more than once today - opened the possibility of a film career in non-memorable reality.
DER EINSTEIN DES SEX - LEBEN UND WERK DES DR. MAGNUS HIRSCHFELD [Germania] regia/director: Rosa von Praunheim
EDGE OF SEVENTEEN [USA] regia/director:David Moreton
LEÇONS DE TÉNÈBRES [Francia] regia/director:Vincent Dieutre
NO ONE SLEEPS [Germania] regia/director: Jochen Hick
NO SE LO DIGAS A NADIE [Perù] regia/director:Francisco J. Lombardi
PUNKS [USA] regia/director:Patrick-Ian Polk
SA PARAISO NI EFREN [Filippine] regia/director:Maryo J. Delos Reyes
SOBREVIVIRE' [Spagna] regia/directors :Alfonso Albacete/David Menkes
SPIN THE BOTTLE [USA] regia/director: Jamie Yerkes
SWALLOWS [USA] regia/director: Harvey Marks
BACK ROOM/ id. [Spagna] 1999 regia/director: Guillem Morales
CASUALTY/Casualità [USA] 1999 regia/director: Andy Abrahams Wilson
DAMA DA NOITE/Night Flower/La Signora della notte [Brasile] 1999 regia/director: Màrio Diamante
KAMPVUUR/Camp Fire/Falò da campo [Belgio] 1999/2000 regia/director: Bavo Defurne
LATE SUMMER/Tarda estate [USA] 2000 regia/director: David Ottenhouse
LESSON 9/Lezione n° 9 [USA] 1999 regia/director: Mark Taylor
LOVE ME NOT/Non amarmi [USA] 1998 regia/director: Carl Weichert
MAKBUL - HIS FAVOURED ONE/Makbul - Il suo favorito [Turchia] 1999 regia/director: Hüseyin Karagöz
PAIN AU CHOCOLAT/ Plain or chocolate/Fagottino al cioccolato [Francia] 1998 regia/director: Didier Blasco
PUTA DE OROS/Golden whore/Puttana d'oro [Spagna] 1999 regia/director: Miquel Crespi Traveria
ROCES/Frictions/Dissensi [Perù] 1999 regia/director: Alvaro Velarde
THE REUNION/Il ricongiungimento [Australia] 1998 regia/director: Phillipa Newling
TWO POINT FIVE/Due punto cinque[USA] 1999 regia/director: Greg Sirota
AFTER STONEWALL/Dopo Stonewall [USA] 1999 regia: John Scagliotti, Janet Baus, Dan Hunt
APOSTLES OF CIVILISED VICE/Apostoli del vizio civilizzato [Sud Africa] 1999 regia: Zackie Achmat
HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS/La speranza è la cosa con le piume) [USA] 1999 regia: Andy Abrahams Wilson
JOURNEY TO A HATE-FREE MILLENNIUM/Viaggio verso un millennio senza odio [USA] 1999 regia: Martin Bedogne, Brent Scarpo
MY FEMME DIVINE/La mia donna divina [USA] 1999 regia: Karen Everett
PARAGRAPH 175/Paragrafo 175 [USA] 1999 regia: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
SADNESS - A monologue by William Yang/Tristezza - Monologo di William Yang[Australia] 1999 regia: Tony Ayres
SOME GROUND TO STAND ON - A PORTRAIT OF BLUE LUNDEN/Del terreno su cui ergersi - Ritratto di Blue Lunden [UK] 1998 regia: Joyce P. Warshow
TWO BRIDES AND A SCALPEL: DIARY OF A LESBIAN MARRIAGE/Due spose e un bisturi: diario di un matrimonio lesbico [Canada] 1999 regia: Mark Achbar
Retrospective: The Great British Cinema
ALL THE MOVIES IN THIS SECTION
A BIGGER SPLASH
LOOKING FOR LANGSTON
MEETING MR. CRISP
ORANGES ARE NOT ONLY FRUIT
PRICK UP YOUR EARS
SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY
THE ANGELIC CONVERSATION
THE L-SHAPED ROOM
THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT
THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE
WE THINK THE WORLD OF YOU
WHAT CAN I DO WITH A MALE NUDE?
WOMEN IN LOVE
THE BRITISH WAY WITH SEX by David Robinson
The British have always had problems with sex. It is no accident that one of the longest-running farces on the English stage (it was also filmed) has as its title "No Sex Please, we're British". Writing in the 1930s, the distinguished German sexologist Ivan Bloch attributed British inhibitions to a particular combination of hypocrisy and prudery which "love only the surface veneer under which the darkest depravity may often lurk". He might also have added a national vice of self-righteousness which expresses itself in belligerent disapproval of the sexuality of others, if it diverges ever so slightly from our own.
Bloch himself cites an incident of 1810 when seven men accused of being members of a pederasts club, were taken through the streets of London in open carts and exposed in the pillory. The right-thinking citizens of London, in their thousands, pelted them with stones, rotten fish, fruit, and vegetables, dung, human excrement, animal entrails and the corpses of dogs and cats. The ammunition was brought in carts, and, with the men near dead from this assault, the authorities expressed their satisfaction that justice had been done. Some of the accused were almost certainly guiltless. Though homosexuality is now no longer pilloried in 21st-century Britain, the self-righteous have found other targets for disapprobation: the witch-hunting of imagined paedophiles, by press and public, currently runs the risk of being as mindless and dangerous.
The British would certainly pride themselves that attitudes to sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular have been transformed in the last quarter of the 20th century. Hours of tedious late-night television are today devoted to sex in all its aberrant forms (though a large part of the programmes are on the level of dirty jokes - a form which the British have traditionally used to deflect serious confrontation with sexuality). The press reflects an open acceptance of homosexuality. Public figures - leading politicians and business-men as well as actors and artists - have discovered that they can come out (even if not always voluntarily) without prejudicing their career. Currently Britains ministers of culture and agriculture and minister for Northern Ireland are openly gay.
But it is one thing for a minister or a pop star; quite another for working people living in the regions. In factories, offices, sport, schools, the army, the police force and indeed most areas of ordinary working life, even in the year 2000 it takes a courageous spirit to declare himself. Victimisation is still rife throughout British society. No doubt the vast majority of Britains homosexuals are still obliged to protect themselves with secrecy.
This contemporary British schizophrenia about sex surfaced in a number of phenomena at the turn of the 21st century. The death of Quentin Crisp (who had appeared in a number of films, even playing Queen Elizabeth in Sally Potter's Orlando) attracted astonishing media attention. Abused and persecuted in his youth and a figure of comedy and sometimes derision in his age, Crisp was acclaimed in death, sincerely and universally, as a national hero, a man with the courage to be himself. The celebration of Crisp's memory seemed to indicate a genuine yearning to escape the old vices of prudery, hypocrisy and self-effacement.
Yet at precisely the same moment, the debate over the proposed abolition of the notorious "Clause 28" (a law introduced under Margaret Thatcher, which forbids teachers from presenting positive views of homosexuality to their pupils) brought out of the backwoods a startling number of clerics and politicians and opinion-makers still harbouring the opinions and prejudices of a century ago. Many, you felt, had their dung and dead dogs all ready to pelt at the nearest queer.
More ambivalent was a growing spate of court cases in which homosexuals brought actions against employers and fellow-employees for discrimination and bullying on account of their sexual difference. The positive aspect of these cases is that the victims have the courage to bring them, and that they generally are vindicated; the downside is that they still have cause to bring them. This brief assessment of changing - and unchanging - British attitudes to sexuality is a necessary background against which to examine the paradox that, despite the national inhibitions, British cinema has gone further than any other in exploring the wilder shores of sexuality. No doubt American independent cinema has a much larger output of gay-themed films; but no country has a more impressive record of main-line films dealing with gay sexuality, or dealing with such a variety of aspects.
Once the English made polite bourgeois love stories and manly war dramas. Now international perceptions of British cinema are shaped by The Crying Game, Priest, Butterfly Kiss, Beautiful Thing, Hollow Reed, Different For Girls, Get Real, the unselfconscious homosexual passages of Four Weddings and a Funeral or the dark sexual subtexts o Naked or Trainspotting, the visions of Terence Davies and the lamented Derek Jarman, the memory of My Beautiful Laundrette and Victim.