GAY FILM REVIEWS BY MICHAEL D. KLEMM
The acclaimed 2013 film, Free Fall (Freier Fall) has been called Germany’s answer to Brokeback Mountain. It’s a great (if over-used) soundbite but, in this case, it’s mostly true. Stephan Lacant’s film touches on themes of masculinity, the closet, adultery, bisexuality and institutionalized homophobia. Like the Ang Lee classic, Free Fall explores the taboo attraction between two men in a traditionally testosterone setting. Instead of being cowboys, Marc and Kay are two rookie policemen. Amping up the macho factor another notch, they’re training for the riot police.
There is a small, but telling, moment at the end of Pit Stop (2013) that sums up, for one of the characters at least, what it is to be closeted in a rural, Texas town. Two men, who have hooked up on the internet, are happily discovering that they click. They are outside, saying good-bye. One of them, Gabe, smiles and says, “I’d kiss you again if we weren’t standing out here.”
|I have to say this first: I love the title. Old Dogs & New Tricks is a web series on YouTube and its first two seasons have been collected on DVD. This ensemble comedy is a refreshing change of pace from the usual gang of young, buff, 20-something gay friends. For a change, the guys are in their forties and fifties. It’s a new spin on a familiar formula and the result is a pure delight.|
|Brokeback Mountain is the Citizen Kane of queer cinema. Some films make an impact on their first release only to be forgotten later. This one has lost none of its raw power. Brokeback Mountain was the breakthrough film that we awaited for decades. It was an exquisitely crafted movie, a critical and commercial success, and a surprise crossover hit. Conservative pundits and the family councils all went into apoplexy, jokes were made by comedians, and the mythology of the American cowboy underwent a major revision. But, above all, Brokeback Mountain was a love story that resonated with audiences both gay and straight.|
According to popular
legend, playwright Tennessee Williams underwent psychoanalysis in 1957
to "cure" his homosexuality and the play Suddenly
was the result. This is inaccurate; the truth is much more complicated
than that. Many view Suddenly
especially the film version, as being one of the ultimate artistic
expressions of a self loathing queer. The inclusion of a negatively portrayed
homosexual is hardly proof of this; Williams' fiction is populated with
far more grotesque examples of heterosexuals.
England was not a good time to be gay. The climate was so bad that
noted novelist E.M. Forster began writing a book with a homosexual hero
in 1913 that he never published in his lifetime. That book, of course, is
and, in 1987, Merchant Ivory Productions adapted the book to the screen.
features superb performances and a meticulous attention to period detail.
It is a rich filmgoing experience and one of the most beautiful films in
all of queer cinema.