Kyle Turner, author of The Queer Film Guide, said, “This book is a way to increase awareness and conversation about the complex, nuanced and beautiful history of queer people on film. I hope so,” he says.
Published this month by Smith Street Books and featuring illustrations by Andy Warren, the book showcases 100 films that tell LGBTQIA+ stories. Arranged in chronological order, The Queer Film Guide unfolds across decades and explores the key features of films such as Morocco, Lope, Glenn or Glenda, The Boys in the Band and The Rocky Horror Show. It not only explains sex, but also recent entries in the queer canon. Carol, Moonlight, Spa Night, etc.
Below, Turner, a freelance film and culture writer, explores the films that influenced him on a personal level, the origins of queer cinema, and the landmark work of directors such as John Waters and Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. I will talk about
Muse: Do you remember the first time you saw a film that spoke to you as a queer person and made you feel like you represented yourself? I remember being surprised that I was in the movie.
Kyle Turner: There have certainly been films that have spoken to me in many resonant ways. Dolan Xavier’s “I Killed My Mother” was especially special to me in college. Because I have a complicated relationship with my mother and it felt as if he was camping in my basement recording our conversations and using them as dialogue. It was really shocking. And Andrew Ang’s “Spa Night” is a really beautiful piece about a Korean child trying to come to terms with his identity… It takes this very internal, personal process and expose it. So these two films of hers are personal examples.
Many readers may be surprised to learn how far back queer cinema goes. The Stranger, directed by Richard Oswald in Weimar Germany and released in 1919, is considered the first gay film.
Different from the Others was actually part of a series of films the filmmaker was making with Dr. Magnus Hirschfield, who was investigating and researching alternative sexuality, so to speak. He was exploring and investigating homosexuality and transgender identity, and as part of that process he was making this kind of documentary drama, almost his PSA-like film. Homosexuality was criminalized in Germany at the time. It wasn’t enforced very strongly until the Third Reich started cracking down on homosexuality. But some of them [reason behind making] These educational films were intended to increase awareness and understanding of homosexuality. These films were primarily used as educational tools, and it was hoped that more of these films would change the policy on criminalization.
In the book, you talk about how the Nazis destroyed most copies of Different from the Others and other films in that project. With books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters removed from US libraries, I can’t help but wonder what’s going on.
It’s really scary. We live in scary times.Most of the US population doesn’t care, as Pew Research polls show [in a negative way] About transgender people. Rather, it is this conservative new political class that seeks to seize as much power as possible, targeting those most at risk.these movies [written about in the book] Hopefully, this piece shows that despite oppressive authoritarian regimes, people can still be true to themselves, things that are honest and authentic examples of how people live and love. , could be a ray of hope.
The first American film you mentioned is the 1935 film Sylvia Scarlet, directed by George Cukor, in which Katharine Hepburn disguises herself as a man.
I would argue that queerness has happened before in the United States. Sylvia Scarlett just happens to be a very good gateway when it comes to Hollywood studio work. Even in the silent film era, there were stereotypes of gender violations, gays and queers. For example, the effeminate sophisticated woman who is one of my favorite archetypes of her. But they will be supporting characters and comic relief characters. And there were some big-name vaudevillian comedians who became silent movie stars like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, and they were playing with gender expressions and things like that.
There was a lot that was alluded to but not said in many Hollywood studio movies.
At least in the United States, a lot was implied because of the Hayes Code. [Established in 1930 by Hollywood studios]It was a list of rules that said movies couldn’t contain certain things. As such, there are not many explicit representations of LGBTQIA+ characters. They were either criminals or murderers, or they were either punished in some way or died. [Censorship via the Hays Code ended in the late 1960s.]
Can you tell us about Impact director John Waters? [whose early films include Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble] Have you seen queer cinema? I love the illustration of Divine on the cover of your book.
John Waters is one of my favorites. He is one of the most transformative filmmakers in my life. He’s the pope of trash, the king of bad taste. He made films with a certain perspective and quirkiness, crossing boundaries and taboos that most people don’t want to go near. But what I always love about his movies is that they are fun. they have a good sense of humor. John Waters was an excellent joke writer and was part of this ragtag team of people in Baltimore who came together and had a lot of fun making movies.
#author #Queer #Film #Guide #talks #film #media #Pride #Month