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Old 06-06-2020, 08:52 PM
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TrueFaith77 TrueFaith77 is offline
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Updated to add a 20th film (Savage Nights - yay!), to re-write my capsule review of The Color Purple (why is it on this list? here's why), and to clarify the inclusion of Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean which is definitely a gay film.

2020: As the world roils in simultaneous isolation and mass protest, Pride 2020 offers the opportunity to revisit our shared cultural (cinematic) heritage to restore radical empathy and artistic activism through this personal chronology:

(One per filmmaker)

MICHAEL (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1924) – An older man and master artist's desire for the ideal of masculine beauty inspires art born of sacrifice, which is to say, of Love, in the midst of a definitively rendered art-world demimonde teeming with heterosexual infidelity (A Master spiritual filmmaker goes beyond his era’s fashionable politics—and ours)

THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) – Three outsiders in the South, two queer white kids and a Black housekeeper, bear the social burdens of individuality and responsibility, together and—then apart (Ethel Waters, Julie Harris, and Brandon De Wilde create definitive American gay Myths, bringing Carson McCullers to life)

SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1959) – Tennessee Williams definitively reveals the exploitative decadence—"Tired of the dark ones, famished for the blond ones"—of Wildean gay culture through the unraveling of a repressed memory/mystery of a gay aesthete's bizarre death (As seen through a glass sympathetically by Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Montgomery Clift)

THE GRIM REAPER (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1962) – A Rashomon of cruising that charts the connection between sex, commerce, and illicit subculture through the interrogation flashbacks of various hetero-male characters' private agons orbiting the murder of a female prostitute, culminating in the film’s slumming gay John alone rising above shame to civic duty and compassionate action (Bertolucci’s debut gives poetic, sensual—cinematic—heft to Pasolini’s devastating insights)

REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE (John Huston, 1967) – Things heat up on a military base when Marlon Brando represses his desire for "bare-backed and bare-assed" horse-riding Robert Forster by romanticizing the orderly military “life of men among men,” leading inexorably to domestic disaster with wife Elizabeth Taylor (With the second adaptation of McCullers on the list, auteur John Huston, as always, makes movies for grown-ups)

STAIRCASE (Stanley Donen, 1969) – Still Hollywood’s greatest gay film, its expressive mise-en-scene conveys the universal experience of the domestic impact of aging male ego—a gay "marriage" providing the opportunity to explore the full range of this theme doubly poignantly: from hair tonics to sexual indiscretion (As the middle-aged couple, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison give their best-ever performances)

LUDWIG (Luchino Visconti, 1973) – The gay epic of one’s dreams: Imagine the true story of a queer King with the means to build palaces that reflect his personal sense of life and his country’s Romanticism (Wagner-inspired); in other words, it’s an existential triumph and a political tragedy (Last year’s Pride season heralded the US release of the full director’s cut in theaters—it should have changed (but didn't) gay culture and movie history forever, deflating each Pride float's gay capitulation to consumerism; in other words, it’s an existential-political catastrophe)

COME BACK TO THE 5 & DIME JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN (Robert Altman, 1982) – A torch singer cometh to expose essential—spiritual—deceptions, thus rendering the ache embedded in human sexuality through the reproductive yearning of a spectral victim of a gay-bashing and gang rape named Joe (*sigh* Mark Patton) and the mysteriously connected regret and resignation of the richest transexual characterization in movie history (Altman’s Jimmy Dean and his army-barracks follow-up Streamers (1983) remain the peak achievements in American gay cinema; Sandy Dennis, Karen Black, and Cher in their best-ever performances)

QUERELLE (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982) – "We have Jesus to thank that we are able to glorify humility;" the philosophical implications of gay desire and gay sex manifest themselves cinematically: Expressionist phallic soundstage, Surrealist desire-driven narrative, Brechtian liberation of film codes, and the tactile sense of the male physique (Brad Davies! Sailors!) (Adapting Genet, Fassbinder's final film distilled his didactic oeuvre to its Un chant d'amour essence—and then transcended it)

THE COLOR PURPLE (Steven Spielberg, 1985) - THE COLOR PURPLE (Steven Spielberg, 1985)* - After the supernal bond in E.T. moved the world, Spielberg dared to dramatize the essential innocence in a Black lesbian character's consummated desires for her husband's mistress as a longing for love experienced in childhood between two sisters, agonizingly separated as in Griffith's Orphans of the Storm by political forces (here: patriarchal, Jim Crowe), and to provide catharsis in the beneficent fulfillment of hope (Proof for its inclusion on a list of specialized cinema: Everyone loves this movie, everyone knows it, and there isn't a Tyler Perry play that doesn't quote it)

THE LONG DAY CLOSES (Terence Davies, 1993) – Family (absent father), cultural (English, Catholic), and Pop-cultural (movie, music) heritage provides expansive material mined by Davies for breathtaking visual and sonic epiphanies that express an autobiographical gay boy's experience of loneliness, and consequent unexpressed feeling, pangs of attraction and shame, and warm respite in kinship and at the movies (Simply put: THE GREATEST GAY FILM OF ALL TIME—OFFICIALLY!)

SAVAGE NIGHTS* (Cyril Collard, 1994) - Don't let the film's autobiographical audacity (the one-time writer-director-star died of AIDS just before sweeping the 1992 Cesar Awards) overshadow its artistic urgency, which gives AIDS-era existential weight to the passions and couplings of a bisexual love triangle and challenges each character's sense of self (The unforgettable final sequence--pure cinema--echoed that of Alan Rudolph's 1993 Equinox Grand Canyon climax: phenomenological expression of identity through awe of nature--and established my ideal for movie endings)

WILD REEDS (Andre Techine, 1995) – The greatest coming-of-age film of all time captures the heightened sensation of maturing out of adolescence into sexual and political awakening (beyond binaries to discover shared humanity) and moral and social challenge—literally misting up as I think of the ending, a heartbreaking cry to a friend that signals a non-diegetic pop-music queue, two sounds everyone will recognize (Techine is the second greatest living filmmaker, whose Being 17 (2016), The Witnesses (2008), and I Don't Kiss (1991), to name just three gay-cinema peaks, would easily have sat high on this list)

HAPPY TOGETHER (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997) – The still-definitive break-up, make-up, break-up gay movie ingeniously expresses its Chinese lovers' romantic disturbance in relief to their spatial dislocation in the urban and natural settings on a trip to Argentina so that form follows feeling—dazzling transitions in film-stock and -speed achieves phenomenological awe and pop catharsis (With China's leading auteur teaming with the country's two greatest male stars, it's the nearest reach for the Sternberg-Dietrich ring of film Romanticism yet in gay movies)

THOSE WHO LOVE ME CAN TAKE THE TRAIN (Patrice Chereau, 1999) – The primal appeal of The Big Chill given operatic, cinematic largesse through unencumbered Cinemascope as art-hounds-on-the-brink descend upon Limoges for their maestro's funeral, where hetero-couplings get tested, transgender identity confounds then conveys universal longings, and the proposal to live life imaginatively in the age of AIDS for a gay-male love triangle—each actor like marble chiseled by light—climaxes in one of the top 5 most awesome movie endings—an angel's eye view that breaks boundaries and defeats death (R.I.P. Patrice Chereau, whose Those Love Me Can Take the Train (1999), Son frere (2004), and Queen Margot (1994) are the most "me" of movies)

THREE DANCING SLAVES (Gael Morel, 2005) – Raising the codes of gay porn to the level of high art gives liberating erotic force to the film's homosocial exploration of three brothers traversing masculine expectations in dynamics of fraternity, family, capitalism, and, most radically, gay intimacy, which extends to compassion and, finally through heartbreak, to imaginative engagement (Since I've been resorting to superlatives, here's another: Fulfilling Pauline Kael's porno-art dream, this is the hottest movie of all time, or at least since A Place in the Sun.)

RAGING SUN, RAGING SKY (Julian Hernandez, 2009) – In this "Mythologies" of gay cruising, three characters achingly yearn for connection but when two find each other and another is left heartbroken, the quest transforms into a literal pagan Mexican Creation myth that hinges on the gay lovers' extension of their relationship into radical compassion—answering the challenge to gay love's gratuitous potential; call it: "The Metaphysics of the Third Wheel" (Mexico's Julian Hernandez is the only master filmmaker to emerge in the 21st Century, so seek out the first two films in the trilogy this film completes: A Thousand Clouds of Peace (2004) and Broken Sky (2006), as well as I Am Happiness on Earth (2014), Tattoo of Revenge (2019), and the short film collection Mexican Men (2016))

YOSSI (Eytan Fox, 2013) – Through a queered social perspective that achieves both unabashed gay romanticism (masculine delicacy, spiritual renewal) and penetrating cultural insight (divining spiritual turmoil in political reality), the state of Yossi (grieving his lost love, a fellow soldier) reflects the theological quandary of the State of Israel, seeking a home, seeking the Other (When Yossi (Ohad Knoller) exposes his vulnerability to a gorgeous soldier, the embrace that ensues achieves the power of parable)

4 MOONS (Sergio Tovar Velarde, 2014) – Four crosscut narratives, recalling Griffith and Altman, focus on different stages in gay-male development to unveil one surprising emotional-cultural truth-insight after another through juxtaposition, synchronicity, and morally evocative overlap while each sequence evinces amazingly feelingful staging, lighting and directing of actors—such as that in which mother and son watch/talk about a telenovela with ravishing intensity (It's a new masterpiece—and a new Christmas classic; Also: Is Hugo Catalán the most beautiful man in movies today?)

PARIS 05:59: THEO & HUGO (Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau, 2017) – With the intensity achieved by a fleet 97-minutes set in real-time, movement in Cinemascope space thrusts its lovers into the social world and, most profoundly, into the future beyond the dread and longing inherent in modern mating rituals (anonymous sex, intimacy, AIDS scare/treatment). (Inspired (as always) by the musicals of Jacques Demy, the filmmakers combine gay sex-club grit and movie-musical stylization to quote and redeem the unforgettable utopian kitsch of West Side Story to make time stand still during the film's audacious 18-minute opening orgy.)
"They love each other so much, they think they hate each other."

Imagine paying $1000 to hear "Don't Dream It's Over" instead of "Go Your Own Way"

Fleetwood Mac helped me through a time of heartbreak. 12 years later, they broke my heart.

Last edited by TrueFaith77; 06-07-2020 at 12:31 AM..
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