An Overlooked Gem from the New Queer Cinema Wave Imagines John Lennon on Holiday

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“Anyone who has been following the news at film festivals over the past few months knows, by now, that 1992 has become a watershed year for independent gay and lesbian film and video.” This was the opening of B. Ruby Rich’s foundational essay on what would be known as New Queer Cinema. A year removed from Todd Haynes’s Poison and Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning becoming sensations and sources of controversy, even more films arrived on the festival circuit which brought their own new, distinctly queer energies to cinema.

Gregg Araki’s angry punk debut feature The Living End portrayed an HIV-positive gay couple turning to a life of crime, eschewing respectability politics. Tom Kalin came out of the AIDS activist group ACT UP to make Swoon, which casts a revisionist queer lens on the Leopold & Loeb “perfect murder” case. And then there was Christopher Munch’s The Hours and Times, which received a Special Jury Prize at Sundance in 1992 but, being less salacious or anarchic than its contemporaries, has faded from memory. But the film, recently restored and now available to stream, is a dynamic and frank depiction of friendship and same-sex attraction that’s well worth revisiting.

The Delicious and Campy Queer Cinema of 1970s and ’80s Germany

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This week, the Quad Cinema is showing Queer Kino, German queer cinema from the 1970s and ’80s. These delicious, campy critiques of good taste, bourgeois society, and the restraints of middle-class life come at a crucial moment. What does it mean to assimilate marginal groups into popular culture? How can camp serve us today? Is it possible to live in the perimeters of society and be respected by culture at large but not devoured by it?