Queer Cinema(s)

Monika Treut – Die Jungfrauenmaschine AKA Virgin Machine (1988)

synopsis
Dorothee, a would-be writer and journalist, leaves Germany for the Oz of San Francisco, searching for her long-lost mother and a cure for the malady of love. Installed in the Tenderloin, she peeps in on neighbors’ bizarre sex rituals as well as does sightseeing of the more traditional kind. But encounters with male impersonator Ramona, charming Hungarian bohemian Dominique, and Susie Sexpert, barker for an all-girl strip show, lead to exploratory adventures of self-discovery and fun. When Dorothy surfaces like a dazzled tourist on the wilder shores of the city’s lesbian community, she has discovered her true sexuality. . . . and left some illusions behind. Read More »

Ulrike Ottinger – Bildnis einer Trinkerin aka Ticket of no Return (1979)

She purchased a ticket of no return to Berlin-Tegel. She wanted to forget her past, or rather to abandon it like a condemned house. She wanted to concentrate all her energies on one thing, something all her own. To follow her own destiny at last was her only desire. Berlin, a city in which she was a complete stranger, seemed just the place to indulge her passion undisturbed. Her passion was alcohol, she lived to drink and drank to live, the life of a drunkard. Her resolve to live out a narcissistic, pessimistic cult of solitude strengthened during her flight until it reached the level at which it could be lived. The time was ripe to put her plans into action. Read More »

Ira Cohen – The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda [+Extras] (1968)

Quote:
J. Hoberman in the Mar. 16, 2006 Village Voice: “Part ‘Dr. Strange,’ part ‘Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome,’ [‘The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda’ is] so High ’60s that you emerge from its 20-minute vision perched full-lotus on a cloud of incense, chatting with a white rabbit and smoking a banana…. ‘Invasion’ is a languidly opiated costume ball in which an assortment of masked and painted bohos, some sporting outsize elf ears, loll about a candlelit, Mylar-lined set, blowing soap bubbles and nibbling majoon. …In lieu of action, Cohen uses all manner of superimposition and prismatic image-splitting; his big effect, however, is the deliquescent Mylar reflection. What saves ‘Invasion’ from preciosity is the vague menace of Angus MacLise’s improvised pan-piping, tabla-tapping, creature-yipping score. Although this masterpiece of Tibetan-Moroccan-Druidic trance music was reissued on CD several years ago, it truly blossoms in conjunction with the exotic smorgasbord served at Cohen’s psychedelicatessen.” Read More »

Julie Taymor – Frida (2002)

Frida chronicles the life of artist Frida Kahlo (beautiful Salma Hayek) with her mentor and husband Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), as they took the art world by storm. From their own complex and enduring relationship to her illicit and controversial affair with Leon Trotsky, to her provocative and romantic entanglements with women, Frida Kahlo lived a bold and uncompromising life as a political, artistic, and sexual revolutionary. Also starring Ashley Judd and Antonio Banderas. Read More »

Aníbal Di Salvo & José María Paolantonio – El juguete rabioso (1984)

This is an adaptation of one of the most important novels of Argentine literary modernism, Roberto Arlt’s El juguete rabioso (1926). Similar in many ways to Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1917), this novel (and the film) chronicles a young man’s journey through a life of poverty on the margins of society in Buenos Aires among anarchists and gangsters during the first years of the 20th century. The novel is essential reading for an understanding of subsequent Argentine literature, yet it is little known outside of Argentina. In El beso de la mujer araña AKA Kiss of the Spider Woman (1976), Manuel Puig was very consciously drawing the whole conceit of the homosexual ‘traitor’/’lover’ and the political prisoner directly from this book.
Read More »

Alan Clarke – Scum (1979)

Quote:
Alan Clarke first released Scum in 1977 as a BBC TV-film, yet the BBC disapproved of the film due to the amount of raw, harrowing realism which had been packed into a short running-time. Therefore the BBC banned the version, and it was not until fifteen years later that the TV-version was aired on the UK’s Channel 4. Though, to get around not being able to release the TV version of Scum Alan Clarke opted in for developing a remade, feature-length version to be aired at cinemas, this was released in 1979. The film sent shockwaves through cinemas across Britain, causing huge controversy from the media, government and British public. Some people saw the film as a “visceral image of a flawed system”, while others saw the film as “exploitive trash in the form of a documentary”. Read More »

Derek Jarman – A Journey to Avebury (1971)

Journey to Avebury beautifully reflects Derek Jarman’s fascination with ancient history, paganism, and Celtic traditions.

An IMDB review:
Derek Jarman is often said to be a painter rather than a movie director. Indeed, with his films he makes pictures that seem to be more important than the plot (which is usually unclear or missing at all). But those pieces of art he creates using camera are beautiful and astounding. Read More »