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

31 May 2018

Cinema Q List

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. Movies first shown on television are not included. Documentaries are.
  3. Each year also includes a list of films I haven't yet seen.
  4. The year is the film's release date in the U.S. If the film wasn't released in U.S. theatres, then it is listed under its original date.
  5. 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:
  6. 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.
  7. Films with only homoeroticism but a basic commitment to heterosexuality, such as, say, 300 or Wings, are not included unless the filmmaker is also queer (thus, Terence Davies' A Quiet Passion makes the list).
  8. 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.
  9. 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 offensive and even 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.
  10. Either way some of this is going to be subjective.
  11. Send me your recommendations.

2020
~ ~
~ ~
Ammonite
And Then We Danced
Being Impossible
The Boys in the Band
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn
The Capote Tapes
Clementine
Corpus Christi (Boże Ciało)
Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen
I Carry You With Me
Lazy Susan
Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back
The Prom
Reinventing Marvin
Straight Up
Stray Dolls
The Thing about Harry
To the Stars
Tu Me Manques
Two of Us
Uncle Frank



2019
~ ~
Pain & Glory (Dolor y Gloria)
Monos
Booksmart
Rocketman
Knife+Heart (Un Couteau dans le Cœur)
Rafiki
The Heiresses (Las Herederas)
Judy
Bombshell
The White Crow
Climax

~ ~
Adam
By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu)
Cola de Mono
End of the Century (Fin de Siglo)
Giant Little Ones
The Ground beneath My Feet (Der Boden unter den Füßen)
Halston
Happy Endings Sleepover
Mapplethorpe
Papi Chulo
Pasolini
Reinventing Marvin (Marvin ou la Belle Éducation)
Sauvage/Wild
Sorry Angel (Plaire, Aimer et Courir Vite)
Trade
Vita & Virginia
We Are Thr3e (Somos Tr3s)
Where's My Roy Cohn?
Wild Nights with Emily



2018
~ ~
The Strange Ones
The Cakemaker
Double Lover
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Girl
The Favourite
A Prayer before Dawn
Love, Simon
Boy Erased
Green Book
Night Comes On
Disobedience
Bohemian Rhapsody
Mary Queen of Scots
Postcards from London
We the Animals
The Party

~ ~
Allure
The Breeding
Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
The Happy Prince
Hooked
Mario
Martyr
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
My Best Friend
My Big Gay Italian Wedding
A Nice Quiet Life
1985
Nothing Is Truer than Truth
The Pass
Sodom



2017
~ ~
Call Me by Your Name
BPM (Beats per Minute)
Princess Cyd
Raw
God's Own Country
Malila: the Farewell Flower
Nocturama
The Untamed
A Moment in the Reeds
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
Hello Again
It's Only the End of the World

~ ~
Battle of the Sexes
Before the Fall
Below Her Mouth
Center of My World
Do You Take This Man
I Am Michael
My Friend Dahmer
Nobody's Watching
Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo
Retake
Signature Move
Strange Weather
Stuff
Tainted Souls
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
The Blue Hour
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
Chasing Pavement
Cupcakes
The Duke of Burgundy
Eastern Boys
Gerontophilia
The New Girlfriend
Salvation Army
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.

~ ~
Beside Still Waters
Best Day Ever
Ever
I Am Happiness on Earth
You & I



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
John Apple Jack
Laurence Anyways

~ ~
Beyond the Hills
Cloudburst
The Falls: Testament of Love
In the Name of...
Pit Stop



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

~ ~
Impossible Choice
Keep the Lights On
A Perfect Ending



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

~ ~
August
Berlin '36
Circumstance
The Cost of Love
Heartbeats (Les Amours Imaginaires)
In the Family
My Last Round
Romeos
Tomboy



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

~ ~
Dorian Gray
Dream Boy
Dzi Croquettes
I Killed My Mother
La Mission
Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!!
Plan B
Role/Play
Room in Rome
Soundless Wind Chime
Spring Fever
Surprise, Surprise
Violet Tendencies



2009
~ ~
A Single Man
The Country Teacher
David's Birthday
Brüno
The New Twenty

~ ~
The Big Gay Musical
Little Ashes
Outrage
Raging Sun, Raging Sky
Redwoods



2008
~ ~
Caramel (سكر بنات)
Milk
Shelter
Love Songs (Les Chansons d'Amour)
Saturn in Opposition (Saturno Contro)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tell No One (Ne Le Dis à Personne)
The Witnesses (Les Témoins)
No Regret
(후회하지 않아)
Were the World Mine
Funny Games
Dog Tags

~ ~
Arizona Sky
Ciao
I Can't Think Straight
Save Me



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
The King and the Clown
Whirlwind



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
Broken Sky
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

~ ~
Beautiful Boxer


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
A Thousand Clouds of Peace
The 24th Day



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

~ ~
The Iron Ladies II
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

~ ~
Enter the Clowns
Flying with One Wing
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

~ ~
The Iron Ladies


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

~ ~
Aimée & Jaguar
Long Sleepless Nights



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

~ ~
Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål)


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

~ ~
High Art
Homo Heights



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

~ ~
Alive and Kicking (Indian Summer)
The Delta
Fire
Ma Vie en Rose
The Watermelon Woman



1996
~ ~
La Cérémonie
Beautiful Thing
The Celluloid Closet

~ ~
Body without Soul
Bound
Cavafy
Hustler White



1995
~ ~
Fresa y Chocolate
Black Is... Black Ain't
Wild Reeds
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

~ ~
Bugis Street
Priest
Safe



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

~ ~
A Man of No Importance
Zero Patience



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

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



1992
~ ~
Basic Instinct
Edward II

~ ~
Bezness
The Living End
Swoon



1991
~ ~
Paris Is Burning
Thelma & Louise
Fried Green Tomatoes
My Own Private Idaho

~ ~
Young Soul Rebels


1990
~ ~
Longtime Companion
~ ~
The Garden


1989
~ ~
Tongues Untied
Looking for Langston

~ ~
Alexandria Again and Forever (إسكندرية كمان وكمان)


1988
~ ~
Night Zoo
~ ~
Once More
Salome's Last Dance



1987
~ ~
Maurice
Law of Desire
Mannequin

~ ~
Prick Up Your Ears


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

~ ~
Caravaggio
Desert Hearts
Man of Ashes
(ريح السد)
Parting Glances


1985
~ ~
Colonel Redl
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Beyond the Walls

~ ~
The Angelic Conversation
Buddies
What Sex Am I?
The Wounded Man (L'Homme Blessé)



1984
~ ~
Entre Nous
~ ~
Another Country


1983
~ ~
Querelle
Yentl
The Dresser
The Hunger

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



1982
~ ~
Victor/Victoria
Labyrinth of Passion
The World According to Garp

~ ~
Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
Deathtrap
An Egyptian Tale
(حدوتة مصرية)
Making Love
Personal Best



1981
~ ~
Spetters
~ ~


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



1979
~ ~
...And Justice for All.
~ ~
Alexandria... Why? (إسكندرية... ليه؟)
The Consequence

1978
~ ~
California Suite
~ ~
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
Farewell, My Lovely

~ ~

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


1973
~ ~
The Day of the Jackal
Ludwig

~ ~
Malaṯily Bathhouse (حمام الملاطيلي)

1972
~ ~
Cabaret
Mi Querida Señorita

~ ~
I Want What I Want
The Nile and Its People
(الناس والنيل)
Women in Revolt

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

~ ~
Pink Narcissus
Some of My Best Friends Are...
Vampyros Lesbos


1970
~ ~
The Conformist
Fellini – Satyricon

~ ~
The Boys in the Band
The Christine Jorgensen Story
Funeral Parade of Roses
Myra Breckinridge
Song of the Loon
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 Best Man
The Night of the Iguana

~ ~
Love Meetings
The Servant


1963
~ ~
~ ~
Flaming Creatures
Scorpio Rising


1962
~ ~
Victim
Lawrence of Arabia
Walk on the Wild Side

~ ~

1961
~ ~
The Children's Hour
~ ~
Blood and Roses (Et Mourir de Plaisir)

1959
~ ~
~ ~
Bewildered Youth (Anders als Du und Ich (§175))

1958
~ ~
~ ~
Mädchen in Uniform

1956
~ ~
~ ~
Tea and Sympathy

1955
~ ~
Rebel without a Cause
~ ~

1954
~ ~
~ ~
Johnny Guitar

1953
~ ~
~ ~
Glen or Glenda

1951
~ ~
Strangers on a Train
~ ~

1950
~ ~
Caged
~ ~
Un Chant d'Amour

1948
~ ~
Rope
~ ~

1947
~ ~
~ ~
Fireworks

1935
~ ~
~ ~
Sylvia Scarlett

1934
~ ~
~ ~
The Third Sex

1933
~ ~
~ ~
Queen Christina

1932
~ ~
~ ~
The Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d'un Poète)
Mädchen in Uniform



1930
~ ~
Morocco
~ ~


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


1919
~ ~
Different from the Others (Anders als die Andern: §175)
~ ~

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.