Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

09 August 2018

120 Battements par Minute (2017)

120 Beats per Minute is basically perfect. It is without question the best movie about AIDS I've ever seen. As a friend recently said to me: It might be the best anything about AIDS I've ever seen.

The final 20 minutes of this movie are absolutely extraordinary, capturing perfectly the impulses to mourn and party and fuck and protest that have been so beautifully theorized by Douglas Crimp and others. But it's no use even singling out those final 20 minutes because the entirety of 120 Beats per Minute is superb, and the performances – particularly Nahuel Pérez Biscayart's – are excellent.

08 August 2018

Some Post-Christianity Musings

I had an interesting conversation today when an acquaintance from my childhood church days messaged me out of the blue. I won't include her name here, obviously, but she's given me permission to share this little exchange. Calvary Road (whose name you will read below) is the church that I attended until I was in the sixth or seventh grade.
 * * *

Hi Aaron. I don't know if you remember me. I was thinking of us as kids and remembering what a cool kid you were. Just looked you up and saw how successful you have become. Just wanted to tell you congratulations.

Of course I remember you! Thank you so much. I don't always feel so successful, but things are indeed going pretty well!

I was reading up on you. You seem to have found your purpose. And you help others too. That's amazing. I'm happy for you. It must have been hard for you at Calvary Road. I'm sorry for anything that you went through there. You were (and are) such a creative soul and an inspiration to me.

This is very sweet of you to say. It is one of the sincere missions of my life to become more generous and to give more and be kinder to others. As for Calvary Road, I don't know... I think adolescence is difficult anyway. In many ways it was quite hard - feeling always that I didn't fit in and feeling always like there was something wrong with me. 

This was my church growing up. But without the fancy doors.
But, it is funny: I always say that that church turned me into a gay man, actually. I am not sure if I would have become gay had not the pastor of that church constantly vilified queer people – pointed them out as different and evil. I, as a boy, felt different, sinful, and strange, as though I didn't fit in, so when I heard about gay people as bad, different, etc. I thought to myself Oh I must be that thing.

In many ways, I think that the church gave shape to my life through that vilification. It's odd. Of course, I think the church did a great deal of damage to me too, mentally and physically (since so much of what our bodies become begins in our brains), and I am very sorry about that. And... then there are my parents, who will never quite know how to love their queer son the way I would like them to love me.

But... perhaps my work now is aimed at redressing a lot of those things, and maybe I am gaining a good amount of satisfaction by attempting to make more space in the world for people like me (and not like me).

Sorry that was a really long answer, but I am feeling introspective today and I appreciated the sensitivity of your comment.

I love your response. I'm honored that you shared it with me. Growing up in that church was difficult and damaging. I didn't see the light until I was 30 (yikes) and they were sabotaging a budding relationship. I ended up leaving because of that. And it wasn't until I was married to my husband for several years with kids that I realized that I didn't fit into the normal heterosexual box. I remember being afraid I was gay as a child and teen. Now I know it's more complicated than that. Not exactly sure what I am, but it's funny when my husband and I check out the same woman.

I think of you often and wish that I could have been a better friend growing up.

And that pastor is dangerous. His words are dangerous. I go to therapy to re-program those things that I learned. He has damaged so many. And it has turned me off of religion.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these things recently because I have been (up until a couple weeks ago) dating a man who is very involved with Christianity and hasn’t figured out (yet) how to reconcile his faith and his queer desire.

And maybe sometimes it does take until age 30.
* * *
I've written about this before – about Christianity and queerness – in my piece in QED from a year or two ago. And I was angry for a long time, rejecting Christianity outright and really being furious with Christianity and what it does to queer people as they grow up. But I have changed my mind in recent years – this has a lot to do with my efforts to understand and empathize with queer Christian students for whom Christianity is still very generative – and I am neither hostile toward Christianity per se nor to belief in a god per se anymore. At least I don't think I am. This has taken me a very long time, though.

There is much more to say about my relationship with this Christian man, too. But I am not ready to narrativize my love for him yet. I am not yet prepared for our relationship to turn into a mere story.

06 August 2018

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

This adaptation of The Bridge of San Luis Rey was terrible. (This is the 1944 United Artists film directed by Rowland Lee – not the 1929 MGM picture directed by Charles Brabin, which I haven't seen and haven't given up on yet.) 

I was in a Thornton Wilder mood since I am reading Jacob Gallagher-Ross's book Theaters of the Everyday, but this version of Wilder's novel is disastrously bad. The writing is bad, the adaptation is bad, the acting is terrible, and the directing is worse than all three. Akim Tamiroff (as usual) is a redeeming feature, but otherwise this is painfully terrible.

Go read Jake's book instead:
http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu/content/theaters-everyday

Muddy River (1981)

Muddy River (泥の河) is so good. I can't believe we are all sleeping on Oguri Kōhei, and I cannot believe this movie is not in print in English! It is excellent. This film was released in the U.S. in 1983 but is not on DVD at the moment.

 
 It's weird that I loved this as much as I did, too, because lately I have been very impatient with films from children's points of view, but this movie follows a young boy as he learns some serious life lessons. He is the child of a couple who runs a small restaurant, and he befriends a boy whose mother is a prostitute and has set up her riverboat near the restaurant so that she can take in customers. (That's her riverboat on the poster.) Muddy River is about poverty and labor and growing up, and, I think most importantly, treasuring what we have when we have it. It isn't so important that we hold on to what we have, just that we value it when we do... and that we don't let our prejudices get in the way of the love we have for one another.

30 July 2018

The Year Long Road (1958)

Cesta Duga Godinu Dana (The Year Long Road) is really a stunning achievement. I loved this movie. It's a kind of socialist fable or fairy tale, which is probably why I loved it so much, but it demonstrates the value of working together, and has so many beautifully realized side plots and so much lovely character work, that it transcends its political utility.

28 July 2018

The Fencer

The Fencer (Miekkailija) was utterly conventional, but it's beautifully photographed, and I rather loved every sentimental bit of it. The acting is also top-notch, which helped a great deal.

26 June 2018

You Were Never Really Here

The best thing I have seen so far in 2018 is Lynne Ramsay's new movie You Were Never Really Here. It's going to be on everyone's top ten lists at the end of the year. It's genius. It's an economically told mystery, deeply sad, beautifully made, fascinating, confusing. I fucking loved it.

31 May 2018

Cinema Q List

2018
~ ~
The Strange Ones
Love, Simon

~ ~
Disobedience
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
The Pass
Rafiki
Sauvage
Sorry Angel
A Very English Scandal


2017
~ ~
Call Me by Your Name
BPM (Beats per Minute)
Frantz
Princess Cyd
Raw
God's Own Country
Nocturama
The Untamed
The Wound
The Shape of Water
Handsome Devil
Beach Rats
The Ornithologist
Staying Vertical
I Dream in Another Language
A Quiet Passion
Thelma
A Fantastic Woman
It's Only the End of the World

~ ~
Battle of the Sexes
Center of My World
I Am Michael
My Friend Dahmer
Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo
Retake
Signature Move
Strange Weather
Tom of Finland
Women Who Kill


2016
~ ~
The Handmaiden
Moonlight
The Fits
Neon Bull
Cemetery of Splendor
Certain Women
Lazy Eye
Spa Night
Don't Call Me Son
Other People
The Club
Closet Monster
Eisenstein in Guanajuato
From Afar

~ ~
Being 17
Esteros
Henry Gamble's Birthday Party
King Cobra
Viva


2015
~ ~
Saint Laurent
Clouds of Sils Maria
Girlhood
Grandma
The Danish Girl
Carol
Sand Dollars
In the Grayscale
How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)
The 10 Year Plan
Tangerine

~ ~
Appropriate Behavior
Cupcakes
The Duke of Burgundy
Tom at the Farm



2014
~ ~
The Way He Looks
Foxcatcher
Life Partners
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
Pride
Nymphomaniac: Vol. II
Yves Saint Laurent
Nightcrawler
Nymphomaniac: Vol. I
Filth
Test
Stranger by the Lake
Love Is Strange
Space Station 76
The Circle (Der Kreis)
The Imitation Game
Lilting
Interior. Leather Bar.

~ ~


2013
~ ~
Blue Is the Warmest Color
In the House
Spring Breakers
Kill Your Darlings
Let My People Go!
I'm So Excited!
Out in the Dark
Dallas Buyers Club
Laurence Anyways

~ ~
Beyond the Hills
In the Name of...
John Apple Jack



2012
~ ~
North Sea, Texas
ParaNorman
The Deep Blue Sea
The Paperboy
Gayby
Any Day Now
The Snowtown Murders
Cloud Atlas

~ ~
Keep the Lights On


2011
~ ~
The Skin I Live In
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Pariah
Beginners

~ ~
Les Amours Imaginaires
August
Circumstance
In the Family
Tomboy



2010
~ ~
Black Swan
The Kids Are All Right
I Am Love
Eyes Wide Open
Undertow (Contracorriente)
I Love You Phillip Morris

~ ~
David's Birthday
Dorian Gray
Dream Boy
Dzi Croquettes
I Killed My Mother
La Mission
Plan B
Role/Play
Room in Rome
Soundless Wind Chime
Spring Fever
Violet Tendencies



2009
~ ~
A Single Man
The Country Teacher
Brüno
The New Twenty

~ ~
The Big Gay Musical
Little Ashes
Outrage
Redwoods


2008
~ ~
Caramel
Milk
Shelter
Love Songs
Saturn in Opposition
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tell No One
The Witnesses
No Regret
Were the World Mine
Funny Games
Dog Tags

~ ~
Ciao


2007
~ ~
The Man of My Life
I'm Not There.
The Bubble
The Kite Runner
Hairspray
The Love of Siam

Death at a Funeral
~ ~
I Don't Want to Sleep Alone


2006
~ ~
Shortbus
Imagine Me & You
C.R.A.Z.Y.
Little Miss Sunshine
Time to Leave
Old Joy
Notes on a Scandal
Summer Storm
The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green
Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (Love of 4.6 Billion Years)
Another Gay Movie
Let's Go to Prison
Running with Scissors

~ ~
The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros
3 Needles
Two Drifters (Odete)



2005
~ ~
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck.
The Family Stone
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Saving Face
My Summer of Love
Walk on Water
Mysterious Skin
The Dying Gaul
Tropical Malady
Love in Thoughts
Transamerica

~ ~


2004
~ ~
Tarnation
Bad Education
Latter Days
Good Bye Dragon Inn
Carandiru
Saved!
Alexander
A Home at the End of the World
The Dreamers

~ ~
Brother to Brother
Locked Up (Gefangen)
Los Angeles Plays Itself
The Mudge Boy
The Raspberry Reich
The 24th Day


2003
~ ~
In America
Elephant
Die Mommie Die!
Yossi & Jagger
Swimming Pool
Camp
Monster
Mambo Italiano

~ ~
Tokyo Godfathers

 
2002
~ ~
The Hours
Y Tu Mamá También
Far from Heaven
8 Women
His Secret Life (Le Fate Ignoranti)
Lan Yu
Frida
Secretary
The Rules of Attraction

~ ~
Kissing Jessica Stein


2001
~ ~
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The Deep End
Burnt Money
All over the Guy
Lost and Delirious
Adventures of Felix
Come Undone
L.I.E.
Mulholland Dr.
Piñero

~ ~


2000
~ ~
Before Night Falls
Beau Travail
But I'm a Cheerleader
The Broken Hearts Club: a Romantic Comedy
Water Drops on Burning Rocks
Psycho Beach Party
Taboo

~ ~
Aimée & Jaguar


1999
~ ~
Magnolia
All about My Mother
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Being John Malkovich
Boy's Don't Cry
American Beauty
Flawless

~ ~
Show Me Love


1998
~ ~
Gods and Monsters
Live Flesh
Velvet Goldmine
Steam: the Turkish Bath
Bedrooms and Hallways
Relax... It's Just Sex

~ ~
High Art


1997
~ ~
Boogie Nights
Chasing Amy
My Best Friend's Wedding
Different for Girls
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Happy Together
In & Out
As Good as It Gets
Lilies

~ ~
The Delta
Fire
Ma Vie en Rose
The Watermelon Woman



1996
~ ~
La Cérémonie
Beautiful Thing
The Celluloid Closet

~ ~
Bound
Hustler White



1995
~ ~
Fresa y Chocolate
Wild Reeds
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

~ ~
Priest
Safe



1994
~ ~
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Heavenly Creatures

~ ~
Zero Patience


1993
~ ~
The Wedding Banquet
Farewell My Concubine
Orlando
Six Degrees of Separation

~ ~
Blue
The Long Day Closes
M. Butterfly
Slight Fever of a 20-Year-Old
Wittgenstein



1992
~ ~
Basic Instinct
Edward II

~ ~
The Living End
Swoon



1991
~ ~
Fried Green Tomatoes
My Own Private Idaho

~ ~
Young Soul Rebels


1990
~ ~
Longtime Companion
~ ~
The Garden

1989
~ ~
Tongues Untied
Looking for Langston

~ ~-

1987
~ ~
Maurice
Law of Desire
Mannequin

~ ~
Prick Up Your Ears

1986
~ ~
My Beautiful Laundrette
The Decline of the American Empire

~ ~
Caravaggio
Desert Hearts
Parting Glances


1985
~ ~
Colonel Redl
Beyond the Walls

~ ~
The Wounded Man (L'Homme Blessé)
The Angelic Conversation


1984
~ ~
Entre Nous
~ ~
Another Country

1983
~ ~
Querelle
Yentl
The Dresser
The Hunger

~ ~
Born in Flames
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
The Terence Davies Trilogy


1982
~ ~
Victor/Victoria
~ ~
Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
Making Love
Personal Best


1980
~ ~
Dimenticare Venezia
~ ~
Cruising
In a Year with 13 Moons
The Tempest


1979
~ ~
...And Justice for All.
~ ~

1978
~ ~
~ ~
The Best Way to Walk

1977
~ ~
A Special Day
Equus
Short Eyes

~ ~
Desperate Living

1976
~ ~
~ ~
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
Fox and His Friends


1975
~ ~
Dog Day Afternoon
Once Is Not Enough

~ ~

1974
~ ~
~ ~
A Very Natural Thing
Je, Tu, Il, Elle


1973
~ ~
The Day of the Jackal
Ludwig

~ ~

1972
~ ~
Cabaret
Mi Querida Señorita

~ ~
Women in Revolt

1971
~ ~
Death in Venice
Fortune and Men's Eyes

~ ~
Pink Narcissus
Vampyros Lesbos


1970
~ ~
The Conformist
Fellini – Satyricon

~ ~
The Boys in the Band
Funeral Parade of Roses
Myra Breckinridge
Trash


1969
~ ~
Midnight Cowboy
The Damned

~ ~
The Gay Deceivers
Teorema


1968
~ ~
La Ragazza con la Pistola
The Fox
Rachel, Rachel

~ ~
Flesh
The Killing of Sister George
The Queen


1967
~ ~
~ ~
Persona
Portrait of Jason
Reflections in a Golden Eye


1965
~ ~
~ ~
Bad Girls Go to Hell
Who Killed Teddy Bear


1964
~ ~
The Night of the Iguana
~ ~
Love Meetings
The Servant


1963
~ ~
~ ~
Flaming Creatures
Scorpio Rising


1962
~ ~
Lawrence of Arabia
Walk on the Wild Side

~ ~
Victim

1961
~ ~
The Children's Hour
~ ~

1958
~ ~
~ ~
Mädchen in Uniform

1956
~ ~
~ ~
Tea and Sympathy

1955
~ ~
Rebel without a Cause
~ ~

1954
~ ~
~ ~
Johnny Guitar

1953
~ ~
~ ~
Glen or Glenda

1950
~ ~
Caged
~ ~
Un Chant d'Amour

1948
~ ~
Rope
~ ~

1947
~ ~
~ ~
Fireworks

1935
~ ~
~ ~
Sylvia Scarlett

1933
~ ~
~ ~
Queen Christina

1932
~ ~
~ ~
The Blood of a Poet
Mädchen in Uniform



1930
~ ~
Morocco
~ ~


1926
~ ~
~ ~
Michael (Mikaël, Chained: the Story of the Third Sex)


1919
~ ~
Different from the Others~ ~

The argument and logic behind this list can be found here.
  1. Films are listed by year and then in the order in which I recommend them.
  2. Each year also includes a list of films I haven't yet seen.
  3. The year is the film's release date in the U.S.
  4. What makes a queer film? Is queerness defined by claiming an identity? A set of practices? Erotic glances? A style of filmmaking? Openness to queer readings? (I could easily do a queer reading of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, for example, or Belladonna of Sadness. Does that make them queer films?) And yet we have a list, so:
  5. The list includes films with significant queer characters, not just films with gay themes or films about gay topics. So The Shape of Water and Mannequin with their gay male sidekicks make the list. (Both of those films wind up being topically queer as well – sex with fish, sex with thousand-year-old mummy.) I think this is necessary. We learn to be queer from all sorts of images, and queer sidekicks have had a large influence on my subjectivity.
  6. Films with only homoeroticism, such as, say, 300 or Wings, are not included unless the filmmaker is also queer (thus, Terence Davies' A Quiet Passion makes the list).
  7. Films with queer sexual violence are not included unless they have queer characters or address queer themes; thus, I left Little Children and Beasts of No Nation off the list but included Midnight Cowboy – maybe I am wrong to be making this distinction, but it's what I'm trying for the moment.
  8. I am going to include movies I think are bad as well as good, and indeed films that are hostile to queerness or represent queerness in ways I think are reprehensible. Thus, The Imitation Game with its silly version of queerness makes the list, and so does The Fox, a film that is openly hostile to queerness.
  9. Either way some of this is going to be subjective.
  10. Send me your recommendations.

Cinema Q

I decided to make this list after reading yet another critique of how Call Me by Your Name. The author of this particular think-piece was bemoaning the lack of queer cinema. What he meant was that although we have more films with representations of gay people in them, and even (I think he said this) more films about gay topics, we don't have filmmakers who are using the kinds of queer filmmaking techniques pioneered by Derek Jarman.

Pariah
In the first place, I don't really see how this is remotely true – Saint Laurent and Cemetery of Splendour and Moonlight and Carol simply were not that long ago, and each of them is plainly using queer techniques. As, for that matter, is Call Me by Your Name.

The main critique I read of Call Me by Your Name was, of course, that it didn't have enough sex in it. I can't say I really disagree. Although I thought the film was very sexy, the novel is explicit in ways that the film seemed occasionally to avoid. Not that Call Me by Your Name isn't sexy; it obviously is. And there are plenty of quite explicit sequences in it. But it seems to shy away slightly from gay sex. I don't need to make excuses for that, and I don't particularly care to. I rather agree. This bothered me a lot about Moonlight, too, even though I also loved that film.

God's Own Country
I think what irks me when I read takedowns of Call Me by Your Name by queer critics is that they always seem to want the movie to do everything. Call Me by Your Name is too romantic, and it doesn't deal with homophobia, and there's not enough sex, and it's set in the 1980s, and it doesn't deal with HIV/AIDS, and it's too bisexual, and it's about two males, and it doesn't take place in the U.S., and it's not about me. Theses writers seem to be really furious that every gay film doesn't include all the things. Which leads them to hate, say, Love, Simon, for not being the queer teenage breakthrough film they've been looking for forever, or to complain: where is the Moonlight for ladies?

Signature Move
Do we need more films about queer people? Yeah. Do we need more films about queer women in particular? Yeah. Do we need more movies about trans and gender-nonconforming folks? You know we do. Do I want to watch more stories about queer people that don't end in tragedy? For sure.
 
But every film about queer people doesn't need to do all things, and my first reaction whenever I read complaints like the ones about Call Me by Your Name is Oh! You don't see enough movies about queer people. Because it turns out they are there. Did you want a movie about a young woman developing an attraction to other women and developing superpowers at the same time? You should see Thelma. Were you interested in watching more explicit gay sex as part of the film's narrative? You should see Beach Rats. Were you interested in homophobia and its effects on both sex and love? You should see God's Own Country. Did you want to see a movie about a girl falling in love with a gender-nonconforming person in Chicago? You should see Princess Cyd. Were you interested in HIV and its effects on the queer community? You should see 120 Beats per Minute. Did you want a pure fantasy about a teenager meeting another queer teenager and developing a relationship? You should see Handsome Devil. Were you wanting a movie about a transwoman dealing with homophobia and grief? I hope you saw A Fantastic Woman. And these were just the films released in 2017.

120 Beats per Minute
My point is that these films exist. We're just not watching them. And then we're complaining that the ones that we do watch don't do all the things we want them to do. All the critiques I read of Call Me by Your Name were tinged with this complaint. But it's not this enough. And I wished it did more of this. That's cool. It's totally valid. Call Me by Your Name was doing its own, particular, Luca Guadagnino–James Ivory thing. Ivory has been making movies since the early 1960s and he sees the world a certain way, and Guadagnino has particular interests as a filmmaker related to sensuality and nature and food. I loved this film, and I loved it for what it was... and I also understand not loving it for those same reasons. But to move from there to complain about the state of queer filmmaking is, to my mind, ignorant. Watch more queer movies and you'll see that there are lots more queer stories out there. I can't think of a better time for queer cinema than right now – and maybe that's because I recently saw 120 Beats per Minute, which was easily one of the best movies of 2017 and is unquestionably the best film about AIDS I've ever seen. It actually just might be objectively the best film about AIDS ever made.

So, I want to inaugurate a Cinema Q list. A long list of movies about LGBTQI topics and queer people for every year. The list will be annual and will link to whatever comments I've written about it. I am imagining this as a resource, but also as a kind of memory bank. I will update this list continually when I know about a queer film or when someone messages me a recommendation.

The female Moonlight, incidentally, was called Pariah. Did you see it?

20 May 2018

Saraband for Dead Lovers

This movie is so much better than I thought it would be, and Flora Robson is pretty extraordinary; she gives a brave, fierce performance that elevates the film far above the usual period fare that the studios were cranking out in the late 1940s.

Basil Dearden's filmmaking is also super interesting, which is surprising because the film itself is the kind of sudsy big-budget period romance to which we have all become accustomed in the post-war period. But Saraband for Dead Lovers has lots to recommend it. The editing is intriguing, the tale is told with startling economy, and the politics – a set of moves in Hanover that landed the German George I on the English throne – are not without interest.

As usual with the stuff I'm watching lately, Saraband for Dead Lovers is very hard to get ahold of. If you want to watch it you will have to find yourself a (legally questionable) DVD of it.

18 May 2018

Ådalen 31 (1969)

Ådalen 31 is good. It's no Raven's End, but it's good. I think that Widerberg isn't as clear about the connections he's making in Ådalen 31 as he is in that previous film. And Ådalen 31 doesn't have the same focus on a central character, and so it is hard to connect to this movie in the same way.

What is clear to me, however, is that Widerberg was a major 1960s voice in Sweden, and it is nuts that these films are so hard to get in the United States. Also, as I watch more and more films from this period, it becomes clear that the topic of unionization – and labor more generally – was the conversation in global cinema in the 1960s. This is true for big films like I Compagni but even seemingly somewhat smaller films like La Venganza or the movies of Bo Widerberg or Vasilis Georgiadis.

16 May 2018

Like, Simon

Love, Simon was sort of basic. It has a hip soundtrack, but it settles for most of the usual tropes and it is never really interesting as a film.

Worse yet, it doesn't really have any intriguing characters. Everyone here is attractive and charming, but other recent high school movies like The Edge of Seventeen, Closet Monster, and even Handsome Devil have much more interesting characterization than Love, Simon does. These guys are all just so bland.

To be fair, this film does have a couple really great scenes. There is one where Simon comes out to his friend in a car – this is a really moving sequence. And, of course, the scenes with Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel are all great. Especially their two (solo) post-coming out scenes with Simon. In another very good scene, Simon yells at the young man who has outed him, telling him that when to come out should have been his choice (this is something out gay people seem to forget about people who are not out – I find myself really tired of gay folks telling famous gay actors and musicians that they need to come out).

Still, I wish this film had been more of a film.
And I wish it had been gayer.
And I wish there had been more Joey Pollari.

14 May 2018

When Tomorrow Comes

When Tomorrow Comes is a charming melodrama. It would be remade by Douglas Sirk, eventually. This is a lovely little romantic–tragic follow-up to Love Story starring that earlier movie's leads, Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Also, I think I had forgotten just how much I love those two performers. They're wonderful together onscreen. I just love them. When Tomorrow Comes is, surprisingly, hard to find (no DVD release or normal streaming possibilities). It does not deserve this fate. It's no Love Story, of course, but it's quite good, and it has a pretty terrific hurricane sequence.

13 May 2018

Mad about Music

I hated this movie, and I loathed the central character, who spends the entirety of the film lying. But then I hate most Deanna Durbin movies. Honestly, I am not sure why I subjected myself to this. Mad about Music would be a total and complete loss if it were not for Herbert Marshall, who is completely charming in this from start to finish.

12 May 2018

The Red Lanterns (1963)

The Red Lanterns (Τα Κόκκινα Φανάρια), Vasilis Georgiadis's 1963 film is my kind of melodrama. In many ways this is even more of a successful film than Georgiadis's later, more political melodrama, Blood on the Land (Το Χώμα Βάφτηκε Κόκκινο), from 1965. 

The Red Lanterns is the literal title in Greek, but it refers to the red-light district, and the film surely should have been renamed for its U.S. release in 1965. Georgiadis's film is a portrait of one brothel in this red-light district, and we follow four or five different women who work for the same brothel. The stories are beautiful in their way, and, of course melodramatic. I really loved this movie.