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Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema

Jeff and I recently watched the new documentary Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema. It’s a great companion to the 10-year old The Celluloid Closet (and the original book), because it covers the recent explosion in gay-themed movies and focuses more on non-mainstream independent filmmakers (people covered in the Queer Theory class I took).

Fabulous! features lots of great interviews with directors like Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, John Waters, Angela Robinson, John Cameron Mitchell, Don Roos; actors like Alan Cumming, Wilson Cruz, Heather Matarazzo, Dan Bucatinsky; and writers like B. Ruby Rich and Michael Musto. In fact, it features more talking heads and less film footage than I remember in The Celluloid Closet. But it’s interesting to hear all their personal reactions and thoughts, and not all of them paint the rosy picture you’d expect (the DVD bonuses includes even more interview footage, on a variety of topics like “First Gay Movie Memories” and “Favorite Movie Love Scenes”).

The documentary ends with a brief mention of the then yet-to-be-released Brokeback Mountain. While I loved Brokeback, I’m not sure it’s ushering in the golden era of gay filmmaking that everyone predicted or hoped for. What’s more interesting is the coverage of Jonathan Caouette‘s Tarnation, which he originally assembled himself using home movie footage and iMovie. With the popularity of websites like YouTube, I wonder if the next wave of Queer filmmakers will emerge from the Internet…

4 responses so far (Respond)

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Cool, thanks for the review. Just added to my Netflix queue!

Rebel Prince | 26 Oct 2006
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Thanks for the heads up! I don’t remember people saying that Brokeback Mountain was going to usher in a golden age of gay filmmaking so much as it was the most mainstream, well-funded movie yet to center on a same-sex sexual relationship. But since large-scale studio-funded movies are probably going to be more and more rare, all filmmakers (including the gay ones) will indeed have to find alternative ways of getting their movies to the public.

Chris | 27 Oct 2006
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You know I never thought about this, but now that you mention it…

“With the popularity of websites like YouTube, I wonder if the next wave of Queer filmmakers will emerge from the Internet…”

I reckon you may be right. Wow, what an impact that could have. I remember when I came out. I had no idea where to start meeting other queers. It’s always harder meeting people when you are an introvert, but I didn’t even know where lesbians went to hang out. I suppose it’s much different now because of the internet and all the ‘social’ sites. There are virtual places where you can hang out and make friends even if you live in a homophobic small town.

Thanks for your post. It’s got me thinking now 🙂

Donna | 4 Dec 2006
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Thanks for the heads up! I don't remember people saying that Brokeback Mountain was going to usher in a golden age of gay filmmaking so much as it was the most mainstream, well-funded movie yet to center on a same-sex sexual relationship. But since large-scale studio-funded movies are probably going to be more and more rare, all filmmakers (including the gay ones) will indeed have to find alternative ways of getting their movies to the public.

Chris | 4 Nov 2009