❉ Award-winning documentary The Celluloid Closet kicks off VITO Project and Cinema Museum’s new season of LGBTQ+ film events.
Vito Russo is arguably the most important commentator on the historical depiction of LGBTQ+ characters in Hollywood over the decades. As well as being a prominent activist, his seminal book The Celluloid Closet was a queer eye opener on many levels to how filmmakers had traditionally depicted LGBTQ+ characters, whether as stereotypes or more subtle means. It is in Vito’s honour the VITO Project season at Kennington’s historic Cinema Museum has been curated. A series of specially curated films across the decades will be screened the last Sunday of every month with accompanying open discussion with prominent LGBT film historians and filmmakers.
Now in its sixth season, VITO Project’s 2020 season aims to present films in 3 particular areas: queer-influenced horror and fantasy, queer Latinx films, and classic movies inspired by The Celluloid Closet itself.
THE CELLULOID CLOSET (1995, USA, 101 mins)
Sunday 26th January | Doors open at 17:30, screening at 18:30 | Tickets £6 at Ticket Lab
A fascinating documentary that takes us through the golden age of Hollywood examining the depictions of LGBTQ+ people, particularly gay men and lesbians, through the evolution of stereotypes alongside often surprising subtexts of over 100 movies. Narrated by Lily Tomlin, it covers films such as Rope, Spartacus, Some Like It Hot and Thelma and Louise, with contributions from Gore Vidal, Quentin Crisp, Tony Curtis, Whoopi Goldberg. Armistead Maupin and Susan Sarandon. An entertaining eye-opener to sexual identity and representation on the big screen. Epstein also directed The Times of Harvey Milk.
The Celluloid Closet is presented from a 35mm archival print.
James Whale Queer Gothic double bill: THE OLD DARK HOUSE and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN
Sunday 23rd February | Doors open at 17:30, screening at 18:30 | Tickets £6 at Ticket Lab
British director James Whale was an openly gay filmmaker working in Hollywood from the 1930s to 1940s, but declining health and personal problems, which impacted on his professional career, led to his tragic suicide in 1957. A fictional account of his later years was presented in Gods and Monsters. Whale’s contributions to the horror genre have become classics and two of those are screened in this special gothic double bill followed by open discussion about their lasting impact and the continuing appeal of horror to queer filmmakers and audiences.
THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932, USA, 72 mins)
Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Ernest Thesinger
A deliciously black comedy based on a J.B. Priestley short story. Set in Wales, a group of travellers seek refuge from wild storms in an isolated mansion inhabited by the eccentric Femm family. Their unnerving hospitality only serves to reveal there’s more than a few skeletons in the closet. Openly gay Ernest Thesinger plays the impish, bitchy Horace Femm whist Karloff plays the mute butler Morgan, whose drunken rage releases the most psychotic Femm from the attic. The film also stars Melvyn Douglas, Raymond Massey and Charles Laughton, an actor much troubled by his own sexuality.
Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06RuAO980U4
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935, UK, 75 mins)
Director: James Whale. Stars: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesinger
The acclaimed sequel to the original Frankenstein that Whale had also directed. Karloff returns as the Monster, searching for his purpose, befriending a blind man and learning to talk, but desiring a companion. Colin Clive reprises his role Dr Frankenstein, and Ernest Thesinger as Dr Pretorius with his own mini human menagerie. But It’s Elsa Lanchester (aka Mrs Charles Laughton) who plays both the iconic Monster’s Bride as well as Mary Shelley. An everlasting and highly influential classic.
The Bride of Frankenstein is presented from a 35mm archival print
GOOD MANNERS (As Boas Maneiras)
(2017, Brazil/ France, 145 mins, Portuguese with English subtitles)
Director: Marco Dutra, Juliana Rojas Stars: Marjorie Estiano, Isabel Zuaa
Sunday 29th March | Doors open at 17:30, screening at 18:30 | Tickets £6 at Ticket Lab*
Set in Sao Paolo. Clara (Isabel Zuaa), a nurse is hired by wealthy, mysterious Ana (Marjorie Estiano) to be the nanny to her unborn child. They develop a strong bond that’s tested fully on one fateful full moonlit night. Good Manners is a modern fairy tale, complete with musical numbers with intriguing repositioning of werewolf mythology at the heart of this coming-of-age story about love and the responsibilities that such a commitment entails. Much like some of the fantasy films of other Latin American directors, such as Guillermo Del Toro, this is an exploration of wider social and gender identity issues.
❉ * Tickets for each performance: £6.00 via http://www.ticketlab.co.uk/ – search VITO.
❉ News source: Paul Smith PR.
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