Showing posts with label Gay Movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Movies. Show all posts

January 5, 2017

Moonlight UK -Can Gay Sex in A Movie be Less in$$ than Straight Sex and Why?

 I wrote a big introduction to this article by Guy Lodge and posted on The Guardian  but I scrapped it.  Gay sex on the movies it’s a subject in which I feel there is too much hypocrisy from the so called straight world. Studies done show movie makers can make more money if they don’t show gay scene a la straight mode; In other words show the parts or the rendition of the mechanism of love making between two guys. I have a thesis for that but is not backed up by any study I’m aware of and it could be bias in my part so I will just show you this article that appeared on the Guardian UK. I think it does some justice to this theme.

Nearly one year ago, as Oscar voters were weathering a second straight year of criticism for the lack of diversity among their nominees, the notion of a film like Moonlight emerging as an Oscar frontrunner might have seemed fanciful. The Academy may not be unremittingly allergic to stories of contemporary black lives – Precious and Boyz N the Hood cracked their radar – just as they haven’t always been entirely blind to LGBT narratives. But neither is among their, shall we say, areas of expertise, and in a year where even the reserved, elegantly upholstered white lesbianism of Todd Haynes’s Carol proved too discomfiting for a best-picture nomination, you wouldn’t have bet the house on a coming-out story centred on a disenfranchised African-American man in contemporary Miami

 Yet, as we head into the climax of awards season, Barry Jenkins’s film is shaping up to be a sure Oscar nominee in the top-tier categories, and the chief opposition to Damien Chazelle’s presumed field-leader La La Land. Not since Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain was famously and infuriatingly beaten to the gong by that everyone’s-a-little-bit-racist sermon Crash has gay cinema had quite such an optimistic shot at the industry’s top honour. And while $12.8m (£10.4m) is a modest number in the grand scheme of things, it’s an extraordinary gross for a film of its particular demographic focus – an encapsulation of multiple interests not accounted for in Donald Trump’s America. 
  However, as Moonlight gains in momentum and cultural currency, there’s a danger in piling too much symbolic weight on its unapologetically slender shoulders: it’s an intimate character study, not an all-encompassing social dissertation. Nor should it be heralded as some kind of flag-bearer for new queer cinema, heartening as its mainstream success is for the movement. Because although the film’s depiction of emerging alternative sexuality may be beautifully articulated and modulated, there’s a level of cautiousness that has enabled its broader acceptance thus far: it’s a gay romance with no on-screen sexual activity beyond an unseen handjob. That may be an apt level of extremity for a story hinged on repression, but it’s hard to imagine an equally accomplished, more explicit study of down-low sexuality among African-American men garnering quite as much popular acclaim. Meanwhile, Dee Rees’s marvellous 2011 film Pariah, a story of a teenage African-American lesbian’s self-acceptance that bears thematic and stylistic comparison to Moonlight in many respects, could only have dreamed of this red-carpet rollout.
Jenkins, who is straight, has spoken of his trepidation over steering an LGBT narrative: “I think there are some stories that can only be told from a first-person perspective,” he told Vulture. “[But] if there’s ever going to be a space where I can truly empathise with a character who has a core aspect of his identity that I don’t share, it’s going to be this case.” That empathy, the potential to recognise of one’s own needling social non-conformities in those of others, is what Moonlight’s makers and publicists have, wisely, talked up from the beginning. The Paris Review typified the approach of many critics in labelling it “everybody’s protest film”.

Of course, there is both room and need in queer cinema for films that universalise the experience of homosexuality as well as ones that explicitly localise it. As more LGBT-themed works reach cinemas than ever before, the most exciting possibility is that queer film may develop its own increasingly wide mainstream-to-niche spectrum, rather than occupying a single specialised corner of the arthouse. If Matthew Warchus’s rousing, upbeat Pride – shown on British TV over the Christmas break – is currently a go-to option as a progressive gay film you can safely watch with your gran, perhaps future years will appoint an Oscar-gilded Moonlight as gateway viewing for curious viewers into more esoteric and/or erotic portraits of homosexuality.
At present, while claims of a golden age of queer cinema may seem too idealistic, the menu is a healthily broad one, with non-English-speaking filmmakers leading the charge most adventurously. The French, unsurprisingly, treat frank queer sexuality on screen with a casual shrug. Alain Guiraudie’s unique quasi-Hitchcockian thriller Stranger By the Lake, which sets a serial killer on the loose in a bucolic cruising ground of freely rutting men’s bodies and calmly gazes upon the hot, nasty fallout, was not just a substantial hit, but was amply recognised in the country’s Oscar-equivalent César awards; no film of remotely comparable gay content has ever passed the Academy barrier. (Guiraudie’s eccentric follow-up, Staying Vertical hits UK cinemas this year and is equally fearless: without straying too far into spoiler territory, it has perhaps the most lethal scene of gay anal intercourse ever put on screen.)

Theo et Hugo.
 Theo et Hugo.

Last year’s most eye-opening queer release was Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau’s Theo and Hugo, which opens with an 18-minute gay orgy in a Paris sex club, before its title characters introduce themselves and woo each other, Before Sunrise-style, across a night of walking, talking and one panicked HIV clinic drop-in. Achieving a tender romanticism in a manner that seems thoroughly infeasible during its hardcore opening salvo, it’s a film with little interest in making the gay experience accessible or palatable to audiences of all stripes; at the screening I attended, the walkouts during the first few minutes, by viewers who may well have warmed to the film’s ensuing, fully clothed love story, were numerous. It’s rare for a film to portray the urban realities of gay sex, dating and Grindr culture this candidly and cheerfully; it’s tempting to view the film as a litmus test for the extent of straight viewers’ empathy.
Across the globe, Park Chan-wook, not a gay or even expressly queer filmmaker, but an all-purpose connoisseur of kink, has been lavished with US critics’ awards (and robust arthouse box office) for The Handmaiden, a sly, sinuous and unabashedly sexy reinvention of Sarah Waters’ bestseller Fingersmith, relocating that yarn of Victorian lesbian skulduggery to Japanese-occupied Korea and adding a number of its own fetishistic fixations with bondage and antique erotica. It’s grandly entertaining, artfully lurid stuff, and not remotely shy of its own horniest impulses: Park’s fascination with bodies, and how we pleasure and abuse them, gets an acrobatic workout here.
Unsurprisingly, he has taken flak in certain critical quarters for offering a straight male gaze on intimate lesbian activity; empathy, in the sense that Jenkins describes in the aforementioned interview, is not heavily on The Handmaiden’s mind, although such jabs glide over Park’s recurring identification with otherness and perversion in his cinema.

The Handmaiden.
 The Handmaiden.

Straight French filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche faced similar pushback – from Steven Spielberg no less – over the extended, undeniably arousing lesbian sex sequences in 2013’s closeup coming-out epic Blue Is the Warmest Colour, which broke out of the queer market to become an across-the-board art house conversation piece after landing the Palme d’Or at Cannes. 
The line between praising non-LGBT filmmakers for placing a sympathetic lens on queer lives and accusing them of exploitation can be a fine one, played out in a series of backlashes and counter-backlashes. Meanwhile, a respectfully restrained approach can find itself in hot water, too. Straight filmmaker Ang Lee was taken to task by many queer critics for playing Brokeback Mountain’s key scene of campsite sodomy too gingerly; Todd Haynes, while among the most forthrightly queer American filmmakers of his generation, was thought by some to have emphasised more caution than lust in Carol’s heavy-breathing but tastefully blocked sex scenes. Both films saw their tact (and, of course, their ample artistic merits) rewarded with major releases and prominent publicity, just as Moonlight has done; with a £145m worldwide box office, Lee’s film stands as the highest-grossing gay drama of all time.
Of course, you could argue that mainstream cinema has become more averse to sex of all persuasions; even the much-ballyhooed straight erotica of Fifty Shades of Grey had a few more buttons done up than it would have done in the days when Basic Instinct was a blockbuster. Uninhibited visions of queer sexuality in the multiplex may be many decades off, if even a prospect. But interest, awareness and, yes, empathy among general audiences is growing and should continue to do so as predominantly liberal Hollywood finds ways to assert itself under Trump rule. (The prospect of a boyfriend for glibly blokey but supposedly pansexual superhero Deadpool in the upcoming sequel, as repeatedly teased by star Ryan Reynolds, may not be treated as the most sincere of gestures by gay audiences.) Still, if the Academy and the major studios keep meeting queer cinema in the middle, we may be pleasantly surprised by what a little Moonlight can do.
 Moonlight opens in the UK on 17 February and The Handmaiden on 14 April

November 30, 2016

Star Trek{Discovery} Adds Gay Character and Other Surprises

The lock on the secrecy surrounding Star Trek: Discovery is finally starting to loosen, and new casting and character announcements have started hitting the web. In addition to confirmation of Michelle Yeoh's casting, two new cast members have been added to the highly anticipated show, one of whom will be making franchise history. Star Trek Discovery has cast Anthony Rapp as the first originally conceived gay character is the history of Star Trek in TV or film.

Anthony Rapp, star of films like Dazed and Confused and Rent, will be playing Lieutenant Stamets, an "astromycologist, fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer" aboard the titular starship Discovery. Stamets will also be an openly gay character, a first for the 50-year-old franchise. Former showrunner Bryan Fuller,who still holds executive producer duties, had previously said that there would "absolutely be a gay character on the show," and had expressed how far gay rights had come since his days working on Star Trek: Voyager.
While Rapp will be playing the first gay character to be originally conceived that way, he will not be the first gay character ever. Star Trek Beyond made headlines earlier this year when it revealed that its iteration of the classic Trek character Sulu is gay. This proved to be a controversial move with some franchise vets happy with the decision, while others didn't like changes being made to an established character. Original Sulu actor George Takei, who is gay himself, was of the latter opinion, believing that it would be "more impactful" to introduce an all new gay character who could be "fleshed out from scratch." Enter Lieutenant Stamets.
doug jones
Lieutenant Stamets won't be the only officer on board the Starship Discovery, as character actor Doug Jones was also announced to be joining the show. Jones will be playing Lieutenant Saru, an alien official whose species will be all new to the Star Trek universe. Jones is no stranger to disguising himself on set. He's held a number of makeup heavy roles such as HellboyPan's Labyrinth, and Falling Skies, to name just a few.
It was also confirmed that Michelle Yeoh has joined the cast, having previously been rumored to be playing a high-ranking officer. That is indeed the case, as Yeoh will be playing Captain Georgiou, the Starfleet Captain aboard the Starship Shenzhou, and not the Discovery leader that some were hoping.
These are just three characters, and there are plenty of more positions to be filled aboard the Starship Discovery and other ships. The show still hasn't announced the lead character, reported to be a female lieutenant, so plenty of more casting news is sure to come. Stick with CinemaBlend for all your Star Trek: Discovery news as we wait for the show’s 2017 premiere on CBS All Access.

Matt Wood
Posted on
Cinema Blend

September 17, 2016

Gay,Out and a Movie Star in1926

The story of William Haines is remembered, if it’s remembered at all, as the story of the first openly gay Hollywood star. The legend holds that Haines was a major box office draw who was fired by Louis B. Mayer for refusing to drop his live-in boyfriend and marry a woman. This isn’t totally inaccurate, but the truth of Billy Haines’ life in Hollywood is a little more complicated. Haines was born on the eve of the first day of 1900, and his biographer William J. Mann stresses that he was the ultimate child of the 20th century. And as such, he thrived during the Roaring ’20s, and struggled to adapt to the limited opportunities of the following decade, and then he reinvented himself in time to take advantage of the prosperity and consumerism of the midcentury. And through it all he was, proudly, one-half of Hollywood’s first openly gay marriage. 

From 1926 to 1931, thanks to hits like Brown of Harvard and Tell It to the Marines, Billy Haines was ranked as one of the Top 10 box office stars in Hollywood. By 1929, his studio boss, MGM’s Irving Thalberg, was holding up Haines as both the prototypical symbol of male youth of his day, and also the new model of a male romantic star. “The idealistic love of a decade ago is not true today,” Thalberg said. “William Haines, with his modern salesman attitude to go and get it, is more typical.”

By the time Thalberg made that speech, he and everyone else in the Hollywood community knew that Haines was, for all intents and purposes, married to a man. In 1926, on a trip to New York while on the cusp of his superstardom, Haines had a whirlwind fling with a 21-year-old former sailor names Jimmy Shields. When Haines returned to L.A., he brought Shields with him, and moved his new boyfriend into his house and got him work as an extra at MGM. Following the example of his friends from his days in New York’s Greenwich Village, Billy was intent on living with Jimmy without embarrassment or apology.

That Haines was living openly with another man, thereby destroying any possibility that he might not be gay, initially did absolutely nothing to impact Haines’ popularity around town or at his home studio. They were one of the few couples to make it into Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst’s inner circle, meriting invitations to San Simeon nearly weekly. And the local movie press knew, too, but nobody had any incentive to publish an exposé about it or anything. If any journalist had, he would have been frozen out of MGM for the rest of time. And at this point in time, as long as they weren’t hurting anybody, which they weren’t, nobody cared. 

Sometimes Billy would get asked a softball question about his love life, which he was always able to deflect with a wisecrack. Journalist and subject would wink at each other, the actor would be classified in print as an eligible or confirmed bachelor, and everyone would move on. When an earnest journalist from out of town asked him when are you going to get married, Haines would announce he was engaged to an imminently ineligible lady—usually frumpy slapstick comedienne Polly Moran.

During the 1920s, Haines always found ways to answer questions about his personal life without either lying or telling the truth. It wasn’t evident to every reader at the time, but reading some of the quips today, his use of sarcasm and irony speak volumes in their own way. If nothing else, Haines was always looking for an opening for a bawdy wisecrack or double-entendre. When an MGM voice couch informed Haines that his vocal technique was “lip lazy,” Haines fired back, “I’ve never had any complaints before.”

In fact, William Haines was actually better set up for the transition than many stars. His voice was robust and not thickly accented. Also, unlike stars like John Gilbert whose essential thing was made obsolete by sound film, Billy’s signature in silent films had been wisecracks, inserted as intertitles to make it seem like Billy was a master of wit and timing. In fact, he was, and Haines was easily able to perform the same trick accomplished by the intertitles as a talking comedian. Haines made the transition to talkies seamlessly, and 1929 would be the peak of his box office stardom. The trouble was still to come.

In 1930, every studio in Hollywood agreed to follow the moral guidelines laid out by the Hays Production Code, but it was an empty promise: Everyone knew the Hays Office had no ability to punish violators of the code. If anything, while producers were waiting for the censors to come up with a way to enforce their puritan code, movies got racier. But the existence of the code made studios more apt to use the morals clauses that were now standard elements of almost every performer’s contract to scare stars into improving their public behavior.

Most stars signed the contract, and then either tried to stay out of trouble, or assumed that the studio wouldn’t use the clause against them. At the peak of his stardom in the late 1920s, Billy Haines reportedly managed to get the morals clause removed from his contract entirely, by refusing to sign until it was. As a trade-off, MGM would only sign him to two-year extensions at a time, rather than the five-year contracts that were more standard.

His films began to slide at the box office over the course of 1930, and in 1931, Haines’ MGM contract was canceled, only for Haines to be brought back to the studio as a featured player at a far reduced salary and billing. In 1931, in an attempt to rebrand Haines from the wisecracking post-college boy into a more adult romantic lead, Haines was cast in a movie called Just a Gigolo, in which he played a trust-fund playboy who makes a bawdy bet with his uncle that if he could get a society princess to give up her virtue within a month, then he wouldn’t have to get married. 

Haines was told going in that he was to abandon his usual winking, wisecracking persona for this film, but it seems like he ignored that edict. Just a Gigolo, which debuted the song later covered by David Lee Roth, did OK, but it failed to turn around the impression that William Haines’ star was slipping. Haines was informed that his contract wouldn’t be renewed, and the trade papers said it was because the star was angling for more money. Then MGM agreed to take Billy back, but at a much-reduced salary, and with his name demoted to below the titles of his films. He was forced to go on a dreaded personal appearance tour. He took up a strenuous diet and exercise regime, rationalizing that losing weight might help him appear younger and fresher.

Many versions of Haines’ story say that at this point, in early 1933, Louis B. Mayer called Haines into his office and told him that it was time for Billy to get serious, drop Jimmy and get married. In this version of the story, Billy says, “I am married.” He chooses Jimmy over Mayer, walks out the door, and becomes Hollywood’s most in-demand interior designer.

William Haines did become Hollywood’s most in-demand interior designer after his career at MGM ended, but the rest of the story is up for debate. For years, everyone at MGM had known that William Haines was gay and living with a man he loved. So why would Mayer make an ultimatum now?

Members of the Hollywood gay scene of the time believe that Billy had taken the hit for Jimmy, who had been arrested in a bar or a park, where he was known to cruise. But if that happened, it was covered up. What we do know is that Billy’s star had dimmed. We know he was getting older, and he hadn’t successfully transitioned out of his Harvard-boy persona. We know the depression had everyone scared about profit margins, and most studios were cutting salaries, if not straight up canceling the pricy contracts of aging stars. 

We know that many other stars in Hollywood had gay relationships, but most presented themselves as straight when told to. Billy’s old friend Archie Leach, for instance, is acknowledged now by many biographers to have lived as a gay man before he came to Hollywood and to have continued relationships with men after he became Cary Grant. But Cary Grant, and just about everyone else, was willing to play by the rules of the game that Louis B. Mayer and the other studio moguls set. They were willing to marry women—in Cary Grant’s case, several women—and keep their true private lives private. And we know that with the impending enforcement of the Production Code, which would happen in 1934, every studio was under pressure to make it seem like their houses were clean. And so, William Haines, the top box office star in all of Hollywood in 1929, found himself, four years later, out of a job.

Or, at least, out the job that had made him famous. William Haines had never aspired to be an actor, and once the rug was pulled from under him at MGM, he got right back on his feet. In 1930, Billy had become part owner of an antiques shop on La Brea Avenue. By that point he had already turned his own home into a showroom for his exquisite taste, and his guests were always asking where they could buy things like the ones he had, so he gave them a place to do it. He’d go into a starlet’s house and toss out the gaudy animal prints and gilded ornaments that she bought with her first flush of cash because she thought that was fancy, and replace everything with genuinely fancy stuff, high-quality, sophisticated simplicity, with elect pops of color or flashy accents. Hand-painted wallpaper became one of his signatures, as did low-to-the ground sitting rooms, outfitted with ottoman tables perfect for casual entertaining. Occasionally his antiques and art were borrowed for use in movies—paintings personally owned by William Haines lined the walls of Tara in Gone With the Wind.

Above all else, Billy understood how people liked to live, and he was able to create spaces in which they could do it. Billy and Jimmy enjoyed a high position in Hollywood for decades. Some members of the Hollywood community shunned them for living openly, but their true friends stayed loyal. They continued to attend parties at San Simeon, and at Joan Crawford’s house. And they stayed together until Billy’s death, in 1973. In fact, when his lover of nearly 50 years was gone, Jimmy Shields didn’t know what to do with himself.
Joan Crawford tried to help, but it was no use. He soon killed himself. He left behind a note that said, “It’s no good without Billy.”
Picture from William Haines/History

June 2, 2016

It’s Time Gay SuperHeroes Were Portrayed Accurately on Film


The Twitterverse has spoken. Last week #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend trended on Twitter, just weeks after #GiveElsaAGirlfriend trended. Both called for greater LGBT representation in Hollywood.
One director heard these cries and decided to take matters into his own hands, producing a trailer to show what better LGBT representation could look like.

Mike Buonaiuto has produced a trailer video calling on studios like Marvel and DC to include LGBT characters in their films, and to give "LGBT kids a hero they can look up to."

"Iceman, Mystique and Catwoman are LGBT in the comic books, but appear as straight on screen," the video says. "So, we imagined a story where all superheroes could be portrayed accurately."

"Growing up I used to love characters like Iceman, Mystique and Catwoman, but never realised they were originally written as LGBT in the comic books and therefore affectively stripped of their sexuality when they hit the big screen," Buonaiuto told Mashable.

"It's such a shame because when I was 'coming out' as, having positive icons and role models of LGBT people in mass media would have be a huge confidence boost to myself and millions of others who look up to characters such as superheroes," he continued.

Recent figures taken from GLAAD's 2016 Studio Responsibility Index show that only 17.5% of 126 major studio films released in 2015 contained characters who identified as LGBT. Furthermore, only eight of the 22 films to include LGBT characters passed GLAAD's Vito Russo Test, which examines the way LGBT characters are portrayed in films.

Buonaiuto says it's time for studios to accurately portray superheroes' sexuality on screen.

The video will be delivered to Marvel and DC studios in a "physical package" complete with website analytics to demonstrate the size of the audience, according to Buonaiuto.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. 

March 19, 2016

BBC Drops its Pants for Men to Men Sex on Versailles

A new series set to air on BBC Two which looks at the sexual intrigue in the court of Louis XIV is already causing controversy, amidst claims that its explicit scenes of sex and violence contributing to an “arms race to the bottom” on British TV.

Versailles is a French-Canadian historical drama focusing on the construction of the Versailles Palace during the reign of Louis XIV. Early reviews and preview clips show the lavish costume drama to have all the violence of Game of Thrones, with all the salaciousness of US shows like How To Get Away With Murder.

Touted as the most expensive French TV series ever, Versailles was created by British duo Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft, at a reported cost of £2.1m per episode, more than twice the average cost of an episode of Downton Abbey.

Although there is plenty of bedroom action involving Louis himself, it appears eyebrows are being raised higher around the portrayal of his brother Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, who is shown to have affairs with men, despite being married, and is also shown to cross dress.

“We fell off our chairs when we read about Philippe,” Wolstencroft told the Independent. Played by Alexander Vlahos who starred in Doctor Who and Merlin, Louis’s younger brother was a fearsome commander on the battlefield whose effeminacy seems to have been politically useful.

The creators point out that the gender and sexually fluid prince “was instrumental in steering the course of his brother’s adoption of culture as a tool for dominance and victory… a story about the king became a story about two brothers.”
The show has already been criticised by Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who told the Mail on Sunday this kind of show should not be aired on the BBC. “There are channels where, if you wish to view this sort of material, you would have to pay for it. BBC viewers don’t have a choice. They have to pay for it whether they approve or not.”

The BBC was recently criticised for its raunchy adaptation of War and Peace, which featured full frontal male nudity, and its current Sunday night show The Night Manager has been considerably more sexual than its ITV contender, Grantchester.

Bridgen added, “Is this an example of the BBC dumbing down and seeking more sensationalised programming? That’s an arms race to the bottom – quite literally in this case.”

Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, also hit out at the BBC for airing the show, saying, “Public service broadcasting is meant to be for the public benefit, but it is very difficult to see whose benefit is being served by showing such highly graphic and explicit scenes on TV.”

Sue Deeks, head of programme acquisition at the BBC defended the show, saying, “Versailles will be a delicious treat for BBC2 viewers.”

The BBC is currently faced with the renewal of its Royal Charter for the next decade, which will be decided at some point in 2016. While some critics in the government believe the BBC has strayed from its basic mission “to inform, educate and entertain”, others believe the BBC does not give value for money by not matching up to some of the more exciting content on its rival channels.

Filmed on location at the eponymous French palace, Versailles aired in France and Canada in November 2015, and is expected to air on BBC Two in May. 

January 27, 2016

How the Fist Gay Movie was Saved from the Nazis

 Sara Laskow wrote this wonderful story of LGBT movie history. She fills many questions about what gay movie survived that period in which so many LGBT were not able to survived themselves. We lost so many writings available on that period and movies which were made taking advantage of this new medium in which you could now have the characters in the books come alive in front of your eyes. 

The early movies were a wonderful new medium for gays to get to know how other gays behaved, looked and were able to communicate sexually or otherwise in works from the great writers from previous ages.  

Such a sad shame that we lost so much and up to this point I am not sure if we have found everything that was saved.  Atlas Obscura published this story today.                                                            
Looting of Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexology (Photo: Wikimedia)
 The first LGBT film ever made was released in Berlin, not long after the end of the Great War, and it was almost lost entirely.
A silent film, filled with love, betrayal, art and suicide, Different from the Others argued, very explicitly, that being gay was natural and that the only problem with relationships between two men were the laws that criminalized them. It was co-written by a sexologist and a movie producer, and though it was a popular film, within a year of its release in 1919, it had been banned from cinemas across Germany.
Any of the 30 or 40 original copies that were still around when the Nazi Party took over are now gone; a film like this one would have been singled out for destruction.
Original footage from the movie survived only serendipitously. After the first version of the film was censored, one of the co-writers, the sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, patched about 40 minutes of it into another film, a copy of which ended up in a Russian archive, where it sat, untouched, for decades.
Over the past few years, film archivists at UCLA have been working to combine that footage with photos taken from Hirschfeld’s own collection and additional stills from the movie, in order to create a version as loyal to the original as possible. In February, that cut of the film will premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, and audiences will have a chance to see a Different from the Others that’s as close an approximation of the original as has been seen since before World War II. 

A scene from Different from the Others, in which Körner meets his blackmailer (Photo: Courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive)
 This plot was drawn from Hirschfeld’s preoccupations. Since the 1890s, he had been fighting against Paragraph 175, a law that criminalized homosexual acts, and arguing that the law did more to assist blackmailers than it did to stop homosexuality. He was also deeply troubled by suicide in the gay community; he once wrote that one of the greatest satisfactions of his life had been to keep at least some people from killing themselves.
By 1919, though, Hirschfeld was already, in some ways, old-fashioned, “an avant-gardist of the belle époque,” whose rivals for leadership in the gay rights movement thought of him as “a fossil of a bygone era," as James Steakley, an academic who studies 20th century gay history in Germany, writes. But if the plot and storyline were drawn from the pre-War era, the movie was still a radical piece of culture. When it came out in May 1919, nothing so accepting of and positive about homosexuality had ever been shown on film before.
Where the film was distributed, it filled movie houses. But in some parts of Germany, screenings were banned almost immediately or restricted to audiences of people over the age of 20. Within a few months, Hirschfeld and Oswald were organizing special screenings for politicians, with little success. The opposition to the film (and others made in this free period) was so strong that by 1920, the parliament had reinstated censorship. Different from the Others was quickly banned–in part on the recommendation of Hirschfeld’s rivals, who claimed to cure homosexuality with hypnotism, which the film depicted as an ineffective ruse.
Hirschfeld was still allowed to show the film at his own institute, but he wanted it to have a wider audience. Over the next few years, he tried to edit the film into some form that would make it past the censors, and, very briefly, in 1927, he succeeded. His movie Laws of Love was an educational picture, which combined David Attenborough-esque nature footage of sex in the animal kingdom with parts of Different from the Others.
The film was shown in theaters for just a week and was not well reviewed, before it was yanked from public distribution. A version of that movie, though, made it to Russia, where it stayed safe (and forgotten) for decades.
Some of the images in Hirschfeld's collection (Photo: Wellcome Images/Wikimedia)
In the later decades of the 20th century, the most widely seen copy of the film was just 24 minutes, a version that had been edited in 1928 to evade censorship. In 2004, though, the Munich Film Museum rescued the footage from the archive and cut together a restored version. “The Munich version was a breakthrough,” says Steakley, who translated the text for the English version.
It's also the basis for the new cut of the film. Jan-Christopher Horak, now director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, oversaw that earlier restoration, and, when he came to California, started working with Outfest, an L.A. organization that promotes LGBT films, on a new version, based on that same footage from the Moscow archive. 
“We have about half the film, maybe slightly more,” says Horak. “That’s all there actually is. There has been a search all over the world, but so far no one has found more. No print was found in other countries. We’re lucky to at least have some of this material.”
The version that will premiere in February at the Berlinale makes some improvements on the 2004 German version, though. Horak says that a “very, very long synopsis of the film,” found in censorships records, gave them additional hints as to how the existing footage should be ordered and how the plot worked. The latest version also has newly uncovered stills from the film, some of which were saved in film magazines from the time, including an additional shot from Körner’s funeral.
The most important update, though, may be to the lecture that Hirschfeld gives. In the film, he showed his own slides about the nature of human sexuality, including people in gay and lesbian relationships, as well as transgendered and transsexual people. In the new version, those slides come from Hirschfeld’s four-volume history of sexuality, which includes selections from his photo archive and from the photos that once hung on the wall of his Institute for Sexology.
“We can’t say for certain that these were the actual images in the film,” says Horak. “But they could have been.”
With the information available, this may be the best version of the film that can be made–unless, by chance, there’s more original footage, somewhere in the world, hidden away.

December 21, 2015

Gay SeX Scenes Shock Viewers, Like Gays Have not been Watching Straight Sex All Their Lives


This story was posted at the Guardian but Gay Times UK posted it in a condensed but with details of  why make movies that have gay theme stories if you can’t show gays making love. Gays have been watching straights have sex on TV and cinema all their lives and have not become straights yet! Im sure that those who opposed it and get shock have never seen a gay dick before and have no idea of where it goes. Since I have been on both fences let me just add that a gay dick is just as happy as a straight dick when they see what they want.  I say let straights watch and learn, they can always ask questions later.      [Adam Gonzalez]


The writer of BBC drama London Spy has revealed that he was surprised that people were shocked by gay sex scenes in the show.

In an interview with the Guardian, Tom Rob Smith was asked about the emotional impact that the story had on viewers, including the negative ones.
He said: “I thought a gay love story might not be embraced by everyone, but I was really surprised that Danny and Alex’s sex scene in episode one shocked anyone. It was as mild as I could have made it.
“I was less surprised by the second one [a chemsex orgy] creating a stir, but the two scenes were narrative counterpoints – you needed to see one to fully understand the other.”
Rob was also asked why he decided to take on a story that revolves around a gay relationship when homosexuality still divides opinion.
He said: “I’ve heard executives ask what the point is of having a gay relationship when it’s off-putting to so many people.
“Gay people have been watching straight relationships and been engrossed by them for years. Why would you need to see a mirror version of yourself to connect with a story?”
It was recently announced that London Spy will be airing in the US on January 21.

Featured Posts

Human Rights Campaign Testifies Against Judge Neil Gorsuch

LGBTQ groups have come out in strong opposition to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as U.S. Supreme Court Justice, ar...