18 Oct 2006
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…