Election Day, remember that? I know it’s hard but cast your mind back. What about the fire-breathing, gay bashing Republican, you don’t remember him? Or the secret, singing Muslim with no birth certificate?
Perhaps you haven’t heard about it, it was a very quiet affair after all.
Having proved for a second time that race is no obstacle, Barack Obama is without doubt, the man of the moment. His fans and campaign supporters still can’t seem to believe their luck, and neither can the rest of the world. Four more years. F0ur more years of a sensitive, intelligent man who believes that love is love no matter, that women should control their own bodies, and that workers are the true building blocks of a nation.
Just how is the US going to cope?
With all of the furore surrounding America’s born again ‘Ba-rackstar’ (see what I did there) it’s easy to forget that another change occurred on Novermber 6th. A truly massive, emphatically hopeful cultural shift that could see the US one day become a very different place altogether.
After decades of shaking their heads and wringing their hands, voters in three different states finally endorsed proposals to legalise gay marriage. A fourth rejected a ballot measure that would have enshrined an anti-gay marriage law in their constitution. And a fifth elected America’s first out and proud gay senator.
There’s a long way to go. But it looks as if America might have finally found the right path.
To celebrate what has been a truly landmark election, and to showcase just how far ahead the arts has always been when it comes to issues of alternative sexuality; here are three of the film industry’s most remarkable gay and lesbian stories.
A film that has been parodied more times than The Godfather and The Exorcist put together, Brokeback Mountain has become a part of American lore. Whether you’re giggling nervously through the intentionally awkward sex scene or watching it with your sincerest, middle class liberal face on, there’s no doubt that Brokeback Mountain is a cinematic milestone.
Yes there are tears. Yes, there’s even a few ‘I love you’s.’ But anybody who thinks that this is the kind of romantic offering that could sit comfortably next to You’ve Got Mail or The Wedding Planner will be sorely disappointed. It is not Casablanca with a bit more penis.
It is heart wrenching and it will make you hate the world for a while, hate the world for what it does to people in love. A true and immutable masterpiece.
Rome In Rome
To Italy now, a country that arguably how to do romance better than any other. And Room In Rome is no exception. It’s also not for the faint hearted. Intersected with dreamy reveries on love, ambition and desire, are very graphic and very intense lesbian sex scenes. Think Michael Winterbottom’s ‘Nine Songs’ but much, much better.
Room In Rome is a stunningly beautiful film. Medem’s use of light is inspired throughout, as is his casting. The (only) two actresses light up the screen whether they’re musing on past lives, or falling tentatively in love in a hotel bathtub.
For some people, sexually graphic films like Nine Songs and Room In Rome can never be considered art. They’re wrong. This film is an ode to that giddy, heart in mouth type of love that hits you when you least expect it.
The Kids Are Alright
The most astonishing thing about The Kids Are Alright is its ability to avoid cliché. Two long term lesbian lovers are forced to meet the biological father of their sperm donor children. Anybody with less of a heart than director Cholodenko, could have used that storyline for a slapstick comedy.
Instead the audience is presented with a surprisingly tender portrait of a failing lesbian marriage. And guess what? It’s not that different to any other struggling relationship. The Kids Are Alright is here to remind us that love is love and family is family, it doesn’t matter what it looks like.
The two lead (Moore and Bening) performances are nothing less than Oscar worthy. They really do tear your heart to pieces when things begin to crumble. There’s a good dose of intelligent comedy throughout, plus a few risqué scenes that prove that women over 40+ can still give younger counterparts a run for their money.
Other notable mentions include Mysterious Skin, Milk, Boys Don’t Cry, A Single Man and My Beautiful Launderette. If you’ve got any others feel free to share!
It’s a big, beautiful world. And nobody in it should have to feel ashamed about who they wish to enjoy it with. Am I right?