In our last LGBTQ+ network meeting here at Certitude, we chatted about LGBT+ History Month’s ‘Behind the Lens’ theme and the many LGBTQ+ directors who have made films which have made a real difference to us.
We spoke about the importance of queer cinema in the 50s and 60s when it was particularly hard to be out, about the language filmmakers had to employ both verbally and visually to communicate queer desire and relationships – and how you had to ‘read between the lines’ to get the hidden messages and ideas.
We talked about modern cinema too – and some of our favourite movies. We talked about the confidence that these films inspired in us when we were growing up, demonstrating that it was OK to be LGBTQ+
To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, here are some of our network members’ thoughts on LGBTQ+ films and directors that have had an impact on them.
LGBT+ History Month focusing on the theme, ‘Behind the Lens’ makes me think about the film, Carol. It’s based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, The Price of Salt, and is set in 1950s America, when being LGBTQ+ was very much a hidden thing. It’s a forbidden love story betwexen two women set against the backdrop of the glossy, ‘properness’ of certain circles in 1950s Manhattan – and it’s the juxtaposition of these two things that makes the film so powerful for me.
Cate Blanchett (one of my most fave actors!) plays Carol, who is unhappy and getting a divorce when she falls in love with department store assistant, Therese. Apparently, the story of Carol was based on a real-life encounter Highsmith had when working in a department store – apparently, she met an older blond married woman who intrigued her… but then she made the rest of the story up!
It’s a beautiful film, with incredible acting and a depiction of queer women that doesn’t pander to stereotypes. I love it.
May, Practice Development
In the late 80s, when you could only watch new films at the cinema or by renting VHS tapes at the local video store, I stumbled upon a film called ‘Desert Hearts’ and instantly loved it. A drama/romance set in 1950s Nevada, it’s now considered a groundbreaking classic – the main reason being that it was a lesbian romance that had a relatively happy ending!
The Director, Donna Deitch, campaigned for years to get the money together to make the film and she did this at a time when it was still very stigmatised to be ‘out’ or even play a LGBTQ+ role on screen; one of the leads in the film said that her manager told her that taking the part would ruin her career. Thankfully, Deitch’s tenacity and dedication to getting her film made eventually paid off and the film won various awards and a notable place in queer cinema.
Juan, Manager, Operations
Although the list of great directors, actors and actresses is very long I will focus on Lucino Visconti, Pier Paolo Passolini, Pedro Almodovar and Antonio Banderas. These directors and actors gave with their work a positive image of people in the LGBTQ+ community.
Visconti created some of the most visually beautiful movies, with beautiful men and women and fantasies of beauty and hedonism (nothing wrong with that).
More revolutionary was Passolini, who dared to tell stories which were quite scandalous at the time (sadly Passolini was murdered in 1975).
The director, Almodovar, is a genius who connects with people and understands human nature, feelings and passions. He brings to his movies what he sees around him and combines drama and humour in a magistral way.
Lastly, I have a lot of respect for Antonio Banderas who being a straight man did not hesitate to play gay characters during a time that could have affected his career in a negative way. Luckily, that was not the case.
Find out more about our network groups and Diversity and Inclusion at Certitude.