Yesterday, I wrote about gay performers. Today, I’m going to shift gears to look at a complete different aspect of the entertainment business- movies. Whatever we think of the power of gays in front of the camera, there is no doubt that gays do have influence behind the camera. No place is that power more important, one could argue, than in the role of director. The director, if you follow film theory, is the author of the films that we see. They are the voices that makes a movie homophobic or groundbreaking cinema. I decided to jot down some, but by no means, all of the directors with interesting work.
Gregg Araki (aka enfant terrible)
I met him once in West Hollywood. Alexis Arquette was on stage in drag as Eva Destruction. His movies have always been weird. My friends love them. I am always left wondering “huh?” But, I can’t deny his impact. Queer cinema’s enfant terrible. With movies like Mysterious Skin, weird or not, he’s shown a staying power. He has a new movie called Smiley Face that seems completely different for him.
He is known for a fat drag queen, big hair, a suburban housewife serial killer and many other out there, but fun movies. I want him. Seriously, what’s not to like? This is a guy who some might call a trailblazer, but I simply think of as a dirty man. As mentioned early, he’s busy with other projects. The new project may be wonderful, but, I’m hoping that he will get back behind the camera as a director soon.
Pedro Almodovar (I would look at his movies with out subtitles)
I don’t know Spanish. I do know a Spanish directing god when I see one. His name is Almodovar. From Volver to Bad Education to Law of Desire, he’s put a mark on world cinema. If I have the career he’s had, I will thank my lucky stars. He’s not afraid of gay themes, but what his films are truly about are the women. Penelope Cruz and other great female actors are wonderful in his films. It’s not like male actors have all faired poorly in his movies. Antonio Banderas probably owes his career to Almodovar. It’s just that it’s the women you remember.
Gus Van Sant (queer when queer wasn’t cool)
One of the first queer movies I saw when I was coming out was My Own Private Idaho. Since then, Gus Van Sant has had a special place in my heart. He’s followed up with other great movies like Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Good Will Hunting and Elephant. Like John Waters, Van Sant is not solely directing. He’s also producing films like Wild Tigers I Have Known. If there is one word to describe Van Sant’s body of work that word would be challenging.
John Cameron Mitchell (the origin of love)
This guy had me with his song The Origin of Love. Is there a movie that’s cooler than Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Maybe. But, this is definitely a movie that’s worth seeing.