Tuesday, 4 December 2012

#MTOS

I don't usually use this space for film work so I hope regular readers will forgive me. I'm hosting #mtos on Twitter this week (specifically, 20:00 GMT on Sunday the 9th), so it's something of a special occasion, and according to tradition I'm posing the questions here in advance. Any of you should feel free to join in – just follow the hashtag and let us know your thoughts.

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to those film fans finding their way here for the first time. If you're interested in reading my critical work on a regular basis you should check out Eye For Film. I'm also Chair of Trans Media Watch, a charity that works to improve the representaion of trans and intersex people in the media, and I've been involved in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights related work for twenty six years. Inevitably, there has sometimes been an overlap between these interests and my work as a critic, and so for my #mtos hosting session I've chosen to focus on queer cinema.

You can interpret the term 'queer cinema' as broadly as you like. I don't intend this discussion to be limited to academics or LGBT people. Queer cinema is interesting in part because it has carved out its own space alongside the mainstream before arriving, latterly, at a degree of integration. This means there are lots of different angles from which to approach it. I hope some of you will find in the course of this #mtos that you know more about it than you thought.

The Questions

  • Are there any films that have been pivotal for you in developing your understanding of sexuality and gender diversity?
  • Which pre-1980 films do you think were most powerful in their depiction of LGBT characters?
  • Does queer cinema have a responsibility to challenge stereotypes? Which films have done this well?
  • Has queer cinema helped to push the boundaries of what is acceptable in mainsteam cinema?
  • Historically, queer characters have often been hidden in coded roles. Which actors have stood out in this context?
  • Which films do you think have done the most to challenge mainstream narratives around the AIDS crisis?
  • Do you ever find it hard to suspend disbelief when watching a gay actor play a straight character, or vice versa?
  • Queer cinema has often deliberately undermined the notion that minorities must be represented by 'good' characters. Who are its best anti-heroes?
  • Does the new realism in films like Weekend and Keep The Lights On indicate that queer cinema is moving into mainstream spaces?
  • Are LGBT characters in mainstream cinema starting to have more complex roles? Any examples?

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your responses on Sunday.

4 comments:

  1. Reading this, I realised I can't answer any of these, at least off the top of my head. I can't actually name any 'queer cinema' work.

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  2. No #mtos topic is going to work for everyone but I guess part of the idea is that we'll learn from the ones we can't contribute to (or be surprised to dicover we have things to say after all). If we're lucky, we might even discover new films we enjoy.

    I'm posting a few links here that might be helpful:-

    http://mubi.com/lists/new-queer-cinema

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Queer_Cinema

    http://www.cinemaqueer.com/review%20pages%202/fab.html

    http://www.tqsmagazine.co.uk/queer-cinema-an-introduction/

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  3. I don't know enough to answer most of these questions, but #3 I'll answer with a question: Which "stereotypes"? When I think "gay man", a stereotype comes into my head, but it's one that's the result of a battle against other stereotypes (rather misguided on both counts, but that's just me). I might rather prefer the old ones if we're going to have them.

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