Out in force
As Wild Things: The 8th London Lesbian And Gay Film Festival hits Scotland, Alan Morrison discovers plenty for straight and gay audiences to get excited about.
Could it be that 1994 was the year that Queer culture skipped over the walls of its political and artistic
.ghetto and placed itself in a bright pink spotlight for
the rest of the world to wonder at and enjoy? it has always been assumed that programmes of lesbian and gay short ﬁlms or the occasional feature preached almost exclusively to a minority faithful. in the twelve months since the touring London Lesbian And Gay Film Festival last wandered north. however. the UK's screens and newspapers have frequently highlighted gay issues that refuse to remain in the dark.
ln Westminster. Edwina Curry swapped salmonella for sexuality. although, in the end. our protectors decided that compromise really meant continued discrimination and eighteen became the magic number. Brno/(side pin-up Beth gave us our ﬁrst TV soap lesbian snog and keeps a nation on the edge of its seat as she swithers over how to tell her mum. Trendy gay magazine Attitude was castigated for having — shock! — too many straights-in key editorial positions, and so began the debate over the existence of ‘strays’ — the ‘gay—friendly‘ cultural equivalent of the fag hag. And the wider art world mourned the death of Derek Jarman, realising too late that you really don‘t know what you‘ve got ‘til it's gone.
For many. the Oscars brought the issue into sharper focus. as an overflowing Tom Hanks thanked God and America for the chance to play a gay man on
screen. Critics with their own agendas sniped at Philadelphia for its lack of physical contact between the two straight actors (Hanks and Antonio Banderas) in the lead gay roles. completely missing the point that the ﬁlm is aimed unashamedly at a .heterosexual audience through the character played by Denzel Washington. As the ﬁnal credits roll. Denzel may not have abandoned all of his homophobic beliefs. but he's certainly able to respect the rights ofthe homosexual in individual. if not exactly universal. terms. And surely. among the millions who watched the movie in multiplexes across the world. a little candle of understanding began to flicker.
Not that this commercial audience is likely to flock in droves to the movies that make up the touring package of Wild Things, the 8th Lesbian And Gay Film Festival. But — slowly, slowly —— such ﬁlms are ﬁnding wider appeal as apprehensive movie-goers discover that. hey. it's safe to venture into a darkened auditorium with a bunch of gays. As festivals go. this
one can do a lot to knock down prejudices and
Maybe, one day soon. straight ﬁlm fans won’t have to defend their passion for gay movies by tentatively advancing the argument that they don‘t have to. say. be Mexican to like Mexican movies. Or, when distancing themselves from the more explicit end of on-screen antics, that watching a Western doesn’t necessarily make them want to pick up a gun andjoin in the shooting. The point is that some of the most adventurous. exciting. controversial, fun, thought- provoking. entertaining ﬁlms being made anywhere in the world fall under the gay banner. Good ﬁlmmaking is good ﬁlmmaking, regardless of the sexual orientation of cast and crew — although the ﬁght-back attitude present in much of Queer culture gives it an edge over its self-satisﬁed hetero counterparts. Checking out the ﬁlms at Wild Things needn't be a political statement — it's simply a worthwhile cinema experience.
Wild Things: Tlte 8th London Lesbian And Gay Film Festival reaches the Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse on Fri IO June.
'Out, it Rained, Went Back In Again.
the Japanese tradition of male
Best of the fest
The highlights of the 8th London Lesbian And Gay Film Festival on tour. I Grief Richard Glatzer‘s screwball comedy is set in the tacky world of a daytime soap. The executive producer is about to leave, the story editor is contemplating suicide. a hetero writer who'sjust split up with his girlfriend begins an affair with the scripter. And this is just what‘s going on in the production ofﬁce — the clips from the show are even more melodramatic. Hip and funny. with great performances from Jackie Beat and Craig (Swoon) Chester.
I Go Fish Fussy lesbian Max is on the hunt for a new babe. having suffered ten months of celibacy. Meanwhile. her circle of friends dish out advice and sassy one-liners in the freshest dyke comedy to hit British screens. Catch these one-off preview screenings now before the movie's wider release later in the year. I Amelia Rose Towers Jackie Farkas‘s Aussie short seduces us with stylish poetry as the lanky Amelia searches for true love. Part of the Sapphic Shorts programme. which also features Jane Horrocks as a ‘learner lesbian' in Game
. I Dottie Gets Spanked The ﬁrst ﬁlm 3 by Todd Haynes since his feature x Poison follows a father's attempts to
curtail his son‘s obsession with a camp 60s TV star. Part of the Tales From The Cities 2 line-up.
I Belle Lyrical and erotic ﬁlmmaking from the Netherlands. lrma Achten‘s feature follows the love of a young woman for her family‘s maid. Shot in crisp black-and-white, it's any but not inaccessible.
I Dream Girls Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams’s documentary examines
sponsored by BACARDI BLACK
impersonators and the adulation that goes with it. Screening with the BBC- commissioned Sandra Bernhard - Confessions or A Pretty Lady.
The List has two pairs of tickets for the Edinburgh Filmhouse screening of Go Fish (Thurs 23) and two copies of Derek Jarman‘s Glitterbug — a montage of the late director’s Super-8 footage. set to music by Brian Eno and currently available on gay specialist label Dangerous To Know at £15.99 - to give away. To enter, just tell us:
To whom is this year‘s London Lesbian And Gay Film Festival dedicated?
Send your answers. which must reach
us by 15 June. to WILD THINGS COMP, The List, 14 Illﬂl
Street, Edllblr'ﬂl, EH1 ITE.
The List 3— [6 June I994 25