Little Kiwi and Bauhaus

Little Kiwi and Bauhaus
A Boy and His Dog

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Shortbus and the State of Queer Cinema

This is a copy of a blog of mine from a few years back. I thought it appropriate to repost it here, as I recently re-watched Shortbus, and my love for it has only grown.
I've attached a pic of me and my armpit. Why? Why the heck not? I just feel like it. It's not hurting anyone. It's my armpit.
SHORTBUS and the state of Gay Cinema Current mood: optimistic cinema. now, go to the "gay/lesbian" section of your local videostore. if your store does not have a gay/lesbian section, you need to become a member of a different videostore. if there are no videostores with gay/lesbian sections where you live, then you live in the wrong place and you need to move.once you have moved, and become a member of a hip videostore, go to the Gay/Lesbian will see the following types of films:

-Films where straight actors play gay men dying of AIDS.

-Films where straight women play lesbians who look like fashion models

-Films where straight pretty boys walk around shirtless and have ONE (mmmmaybe two) male/male kissing scenes.

-Films where gay people die from violent hatecrimes

-Films where nobody can act, but they're reasonably cute, and there's usually a C (or D) list 'gay celeb' in a featured role (and it's usually a gay guy from some american reality show...)

it's strange. the majority of the films you will find in the gay section are films with handsome boys prominently displayed on the cover, but the acting and writing are generally subpar, there's no real emotional resonance, and the sex/kissing always feels tacked-on and forced.
Enter, SHORTBUS.WOW.WOOOOW.i went into this film knowing it was "the sex film" by john cameron mitchell (hedwig baby! aka, one of my fave films of all time)so, all i really knew was there was sex, and i had some friends in it. what i didn't know was that i would have my emotional centre completely shattered while watching it, and completely put back together by the films end.


here we have a film full of graphic honest-to-God sex, and all i'm feeling is an intense emotional connection to all of the characters and their stories. completely blindsided, shortbus. i couldn't stop crying for 2 hours after i watched it. i stood outside the theatre with tears in my eyes, put my ipod on to Henry Mancini's greatest hits (love me some classic romantic music) and walked around the city that night, just "feeling" everything that Shortbus had stirred up inside me, which is a hell of a lot of emotions. i wasn't even sure if i could accurately describe everything i was feeling, i just knew i felt that was fun.which brings me to gay was a film FULL of hardcore sex. and i walked out with my heart touched.there are tonnes of films with "implied" sex, and i walk out being neither touched, nor sexually aroused.
it's funny. when you SEE sex on film, your mind doesn't think about it. it doesn't have to, it's seeing it, right there. but when a film has an "implied" sex scene, the use of editing, sound and camerawork tries to make you think you're seeing more than you actually are. it's tricking your mind into thinking about sex. so you're not focusing on characters, you're building up a sexual scenario in your head, which is a distraction from the characters on screen. show then fucking, and you focus on THEM. intesting how that works....
you know how films like Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain, and practically every other "gay film" ever made is sorta "safe" , for heterosexual viewing? like, we can't make it TOO GAY or else the straighties won't "get it"? Shortbus doesn't pull that shit.NOW, i think there is a great time and place for "safe" gay films for straight people. as a medium, film can be a great educator/enlightener. films with non-threatening gay characters can open the minds of people who would previously not have thought that gay people are, you know, regular human beings. it can give people a new perspective, one that radically needs changing. let's face it, this IS a homophobic world we live, while i appreciate the "gay films for straight people" that are being made, it was just so wonderful, as a gay man, to see a film that didn't fucking care if straight people didn't like it.the opening of the film is so graphically sexual, it practically dares the audience. it says "If you can't handle this, you might as well leave now". which is awesome. sometimes it's nice to see a gay film for gay people. telling our stories, and not caring what the straight world thinks. while i applaud filmmakers for tackling gay subject matter, and presenting it to a wide audience, my heart was overjoyed to FINALLY see a movie that told a me. a gay guy.

To John Cameron Mitchell, and the cast/crew/creative team of Shortbus...THANK YOU. it was a profoundly moving experience, and incredibly cathartic to see "my story" told so well, and with such genuine feeling.Ladies and Gentlemen, the revolution has just officially begun...

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Little Kiwi Loves Bauhaus

Little Kiwi Loves Bauhaus
Good Dog!