‘My Life with James Dean’, ‘gay cinema’, and whether cinema should be classified as ‘gay’

Posted on September 20, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/my-life-with-james-dean-queer-gaze-and-whether-cinema-should-be-categorised-into-inclusive-labels-5216091.html/​

In the June 25 column, written on the occasion of Pride month, I wrote, “There are, of course, many filmmakers who are homosexual, but it’s interesting to explore whether this ‘gayness’ manifests itself in the films they make, and what really makes for a ‘gay film’. Is there a particular gay sensibility that’s manifest, even if the material is hetero-normative? Is it that the film has a gay protagonist, or is about LGBTQI issues?” And if the story would play just the same had the characters been straight, then is it really a ‘gay gaze’, or a ‘gay movie’?

As though by way of an answer, I received a screener of Dominique Choisy’s My Life with James Dean, a 2017 French film that premiered at Chéries-Chéris, the annual international LGBTQI film festival in Paris. Given the Supreme Court’s historic verdict on Section 377, it seemed a good time to talk about this film, and this issue. First, the premise. Géraud Champreux (Johnny Rasse), a gay filmmaker from Lyons, is invited to exhibit his film, titled My Life with James Dean, in three cinema houses around Normandy. At the first theatre, the usher seems unaware of any such screening. When Géraud tells him the name of his film, he asks, “A comedy?” Géraud says, “Not really.” The usher says, “No good. Only comedies work here. Or US action movies.”

Continued at the link above.

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