Sunday, 5 February 2012

Scene 3: She Kissed a Girl, and She Meant It

I watched a fascinating documentary just recently, it's a 1995 docmentary on film called The Celluloid Closet and it is about the representation of homosexuality in movies, mainly in American.

Check out the trailer:

It was interesting, but sad, to see that intially homosexuals were represented first as comic relief, then as characters who always had to die at the end of the film because they were considered perverse, and then later as villians, before finally being accepted on the film screen. 

Fortunately things have progressed in the media world, as the documentary itself showed with the films of the 1980's and 1990's, and I am glad to say we now live in a much more enlightened time. 

Though I have to say that the majority of film couples are heterosexual - and personally I think television has been moving forward a bit faster recently than films. 

Take for example the British scriptwriters Russell T Davis and Steven Moffat who introduced homosexuality and bisexuality into Doctor Who (2005 - present), mostly through the character of Captain Jack Harkness, who's story was continued in the spin-off series Torchwood (2006 - present).

Russell T Davis incidently also wrote the wonderful series Queer as Folk (1999), which was about the gay scene in Manchester and Bob and Rose (2001), a series about a gay guy falling in love with a girl. 

But its not just Russell T Davis, there was also the late-night comedy drama Sugar Rush (2005), about lesbian teens, and more recently Christopher and His Kind (2011) a BBC film for television based on the life of gay writer Christopher Isherwood in 1930's Berlin.

I'll admit I haven't seen all these programmes - only Doctor Who, Torchwood, Christopher and His Kind, and the first series of Queer as Folk (though I should really watch the second series) - but I had heard of Bob and Rose and Sugar Rush, as well as Will and Grace (1998 - 2006) and Tipping the Velvet (2002). 

Meanwhile the only recent mainstream films I can think of that centre around homosexual couples, are I Love You Phillip Morris (2009) and The Kids Are Alright (2010). 

That's two. Okay, I Pronnounce You Chuck and Larry (2007) was recent but it was a comedy about two straight guys marrying. It obvious had intentions to spread some awareness, but I don't fully think it counts. 

So either I have not watched enough movies yet (very possible!) or mainstream film hasn't really gone and explored beyond the heterosexual cliche as much as television, and watching the trailer of The Kids Are Alright I have to ask, why not?  

1 comment:

  1. The ‘Celluloid Closet’ is most interesting, and it does raise some interesting issues (as you have shown).

    With regard to other films, one which might be of particular interest, at least with regard to gender roles is- ‘Boy’s Don’t Cry’. It was very moving, and exposed very directly the prejudices which exist, particularly in certain areas of society.

    Though I can not recommend the film ‘Myra Breckenridge’ (By Gore Vidal, who incidentally was in the documentary), I can recommend the book, a text which firmly makes one reconsider the role and situation of sex, gender, and how society sees and treats each of those.

    When it comes to how sexuality has been portrayed I do find it fascinating that the film industry created ‘the sissie’, an imaginary figure who has dominated the public’s view of homosexuality, and continues so to do for well over half a century.