The Celluloid Prison

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

According to my most trusted queer pop culture critic, The Big Gay Movie is over. From Victim to Brokeback Mountain, the story of the man whose only identity was his gayness is old hat.

But in Beginners I see another Big Gay Movie. It tells the story of a man who comes out of the closet in his 70s, to ‘find himself’ and enjoy a Big Gay life including bonding with his son. Apparently his ex-wife is quite a ‘bitter’ woman. Well so would I be if my ex husband and father of my child negated our whole life together by declaring himself Gay with a capital G.

The documentary and book by Vitto Russo, The Celluloid Closet, complained about how gay people have been invisible in cinema. But most gay movies render many other people invisible– people like me who have had long , loving relationships with men who in many ways are homos,  but who happen to have invested something into being with and loving a woman.  I think the Gayist analysis of queerness in cinema has done more harm than traditional ‘heterosexual’ cinema in terms of denying the existence of sexual minorities. And I have a feeling Beginners is going to be more of the same.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/movies/beginners-mike-millss-autobiographical-film.html?_r=3&pagewanted=2

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jul/24/beginners-philip-french-review?INTCMP=SRCH

Comments
  1. redpesto says:

    But most gay movies render many other people invisible– people like me who have had long , loving relationships with men who in many ways are homos, but who happen to have invested something into being with and loving a woman.

    Ah, the gay/straight binary strikes again. It works with women too, but if the ex-husband is ‘bitter’ that’s okay because he’s probably a wife-beating homophobe or whatever (I exaggerate, but probably not by much) – but they haven’t got round to making that movie yet.

    • Yes you are right. Though Lesbians often don’t fare that well in the movies. There was that film: The Kids Are All Right which mark mentions in his Big Gay Movie piece I think. I haven’t seen it. They don’t demonise the father of the kids – he was a sperm donor I think.

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