28 March 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Gay men in homophobic cultures


While these are not an obvious part of our repertoire, they still make sense to be watched from a feminist and I Being a Girl perspective. Even though cis-men are at the center of these movies, and women is only a backdrop for their drama and passion, it still emanates from no other place than patriarchy and the obsession with controlling the sexual and amorous lives of people.

So, today's offer is two movies that look into the lives of gay men in culturally very restrictive contexts: A Single Man (2009, Tom Ford) and Eyes Wide Open (2009, Haim Tabakman). Set in two very different but undoubtedly socially controlling places - 1960's USA and nowadays Israel among the Orthodox Jews - both of them tell the dramatic tale of how even male privilege won't save you if you transgress the code of sexual morality.

Of, course there are differences. The aesthetics, trying to be true to time and place depicted, are very different. Eyes Wide Open adds a religious restriction where A Single Man deals with a more secular type of institutionalized homophobia. It is loss of a loved one when you are not really allowed to mourn vs. the discovery of lust where it's strictly forbidden and harshly punished. Nevertheless, the main theme is the social pressure to negate ones real desires and feelings in order to keep up with what's esteemed to be proper and moral. And what that does to people.

One of the lesbian versions of the same story would be Fire (1996, Deepa Mehta), already covered before here

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