What the Mainstream Can Learn From 2015’s Queer Indie Cinema (Flavorwire)


Shane Barnes over at Flavorwire discusses lessons Hollywood can learn from 2015’s Queer Indie Cinema. From Flavorwire,

This summer, something predictable happened: the Internet’s collective outrage targeted the trailer for a gay movie. The why behind the anger was less predictable, though: the characters were not queer enough, were too whitewashed, and misrepresented the real, varied players in the major historical event the movie purported to recreate. That film was Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall, which happened to tank at the box office — though its gayness had nothing to do with that, I’m sure. The film itself, while bad, is not significant. Emmerich’s public comments about the film, which he made in response to the whitewashing, are:

You have to understand one thing: I didn’t make this movie only for gay people, I made it also for straight people. I kind of found out, in the testing process, that actually, for straight people, [white lead character Danny] is a very easy in. Danny’s very straight-acting. He gets mistreated because of that. [Straight audiences] can feel for him.

The idea here is that the mainstream is always going to present the least polarizing version of any given thing in order to appeal to the most people and make the most money. That’s what Emmerich should have said, only he didn’t want to say that trans people or queer people of color were polarizing.

While I disagree with Barnes dismissal of HBO’s Looking as “mainstream gay banality,” the the article deserves to be digested and discussed at length.

Barnes concludes with,

So, while it’s nice and important to tell the tragic story of a lesbian couple, or the beginning of the gay rights movement, it must be done in a way that doesn’t pander to the Academy Awards. It must be done in a way that tells these characters’ stories, rather than makes their mere existence the story.

My only issue with this statement is that I believe that’s already being done through indie films. The real nature of Hollywood is making money, not making art. I don’t think we will ever see films being greenlit which aren’t considered pandering or re-written in order to appease the masses. Yes we will soon see a black James Bond and we will see a queer action hero, but they will be just as sanitized as their hetero predecessors.

What’s  your take on all this?
Read the entire article at Flavorwire.


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