Today's guest post and giveaway comes from Nikola at Nikola's Book Blog. Thanks for being with us Nikola!
To label a motion picture as a gay movie seems like an easy thing to do. However, if one thinks about it, it gets much harder deciding on a gay (or, for that part, lesbian or transgender) movie. What parameters should one take into account? Sure, there are a lot of romantic comedies where there's a gay best friend featured. However, does this make a movie gay? Since mainstream comedies (as well as other genres) rarely deal with the issues their gay characters face, they shouldn't be regarded as gay movies.
So, for the debate's sake, I'd like to propose that we divide what we would label gay movies – movies where gay characters/issues are central to the story – into two groups: "straight gay" movies and "gay gay" movies.
This might seem silly, but go along with my theory and then judge for yourself. I’m sure you've seen Brokeback Mountain. The whole world has seen Brokeback Mountain and cried over the faiths of the two protagonists. However, when the Academy Awards rolled around, guess what movie won? Crash. Obviously, there was a strong public response, many people accusing the Academy of being homophobic. But here's the thing: Brokeback Mountain is a straight man's gay movie. Why do you think almost everyone embraced it? The gay sex in the movie is almost implied and apart from some kissing, the two cowboys barely seem intimate. Furthermore, as the movie is set in the early 1960's, it is further dislocated from us, tackling few contemporary problems. Crash, on the other hand, with its explicit depictions of racism in L.A. is a much bigger challenge to the movie-goer.
On the other hand, there are movies aimed squarely at the GLBT community, which are usually much more upfront about the issues they explore. A great example would be the Showtime TV series Queer as Folk, a personal favorite of mine. Often called a gay man's Sex and the City, it was one of the few really queer productions to be embraced in the mainstream. Other such titles include The L Word, A Single Man and A Home at the End of the World.
Other than these popular flicks, there's a great number of low-budget, arthouse and indie productions that are honest and made with passion. A good place to look would be TLAVideo, an online retailer that specializes in gay cinema – everything from porn to high culture (don’t worry, it's work safe and you don't have to browse porn if you don't want to). It is like a goldmine for lesser-known gay movies. And why should you, for example, see Were the World Mine, a gay musical retelling of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream? Or Eating Out, a hilarious comedy of mistaken identity? Because they are honest and unafraid to tackle issues not usually touched by big studio movies. Try and watch one of these and I'm sure your perception of the gay community and art will change drastically.
What was your movie pick for the month of November? Visit my blog for a TLA video DVD giveaway.