Free to Love: Cinema of the Sexual Revolution
It is Not the Homosexual Who is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives
dir. Rosa von Praunheim, Germany, 1971, 16mm, 67 min.
"Defining the gay ghetto as a state of mind, a product of internalized heterosexual values, Praunheim takes a dime-novel story about one man's journey to liberation and uses it to assail media-created romantic illusions, capitalist principles and sexist role-playing." David, a young man from the country, arrives in Berlin where he meets Clemens and lives with him in bourgeois domesticity. The relationship ends when David becomes involved with a wealthy older gentleman, but this liaison is also shortlived. The film then follows the young man as he explores the various options of the gay world: street cruising, the bar life, the "rough trade" of public lavatories and the transvestite cabaret scene. In the end, David's friend Paul takes him to a gay communal flat where the group discusses his problems and helps him realize that he has been leading a superficial life. They suggest that he become politically involved and join with other gay people in the fight for freedom. When shown in New York, the film aroused the ire of gay activists who bristled at the film's litany of accusations (delivered via voiceover narration) against bourgeois homosexuals, particularly their inaction in the face of oppression.
It's Not the Homosexual Who is Perverse But the
Society in Which He Lives courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video
Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Queens at Heart
dir. Southeastern Pictures Corporation, US, 1967, 35mm, 22 min.
An amazing portrait of four male to female transsexuals, Queens At Heart portrays a rare and poignant glimpse into pre-Stonewall transsexual life made by the Southeastern Pictures Corporation. Despite this film having been made with a mainstream lens, the subjects’ journey is depicted with dignity and respect as they explore gender and sexuality. Queens At Heart includes very early footage of drag balls in the New York area.
Free to Love: The Cinema of the Sexual Revolution has
been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage