Posts Tagged ‘film’
Read the article: http://www.indiewire.com/biz/2008/11/iw_bot_weekend_5.html
Today I saw the movie Milk, starring Sean Penn. Penn was fabulous, along with the entire cast, superb acting, and Gus Van Sant really caught San Francisco of the 70s. The story had drama, comedy and an endearing romance.
As wonderful as the movie was — and I believe everyone should see it — I couldn’t help but feel depressed. Thirty years later there are still the same chants (Get Out Of The Bars & Into The Streets), the same fight for Equality, and the Christians still see us as perverts who are out to get their children.
Thirty years, several hundred deaths and countless protests later and the US still doesn’t have a national Hate Crimes Bill passed or legislation regarding discrimination in housing or employment to include sexual orientation. How much longer will we be denied?
Maybe the Gays of San Franciso in the 1970s had it right:
CIVIL RIGHTS OR CIVIL WAR.
|Film brings homosexuality out of closet
|NEW DELHI: Once upon a time in Bollywood, a handsome hero would croon and bash up a few goons to win over his coy but willing lady love. If the film worked, the director could live happily ever after.
But the staple heterosexual romance is no longer the only stuff that Bollywood dreams are made of, as filmmakers turn to subjects that would previously have been considered too serious or unthinkable for a conservative audience.
That is why there is much buzz about the industry’s latest offering, Dostana (friendship), a film about two men who pretend to be a couple, in which homosexuality — illegal in India — is a running theme.
“I think the film does a lot for gays in a country where the word homosexual does not even exist for many people,” said leading gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi.
Homosexuality is punishable by a fine and a 10-year prison term in India, where a law prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” although convictions are unheard of.
A court in New Delhi is currently considering a suit brought by gay rights activists to decriminalise homosexuality, which is seen by many Indians as a “Western” import.
“Men come to us and say they now know that there is a word for their feelings, as the term homosexuality is a recent construct,” Kavi said.
In the film, there is no such confusion as Bollywood actors John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan pose as a couple to win over a prospective landlady who is averse to renting out her apartment to single men because of her young niece.
Though the characters themselves are not homosexual, there are ample references to gay love – a topic that had been largely shunned by Bollywood, except in one low-key but acclaimed film My Brother Nikhil three years ago.
“Dostana gives a feel-good vibe without being gloomy or sending out wrong messages. It is very clearly gay, with Bachchan shown driving a pink limousine,” said Kavi, who founded India’s first gay magazine, Mumbai Dost.
“Rarely will you get to see two popular desi (local) heroes indulge in such gay banter, even though it’s make-believe,” film critic Nikhat Kazmi wrote in The Times of India.
In one scene, the mother of one of the men finally comes around to accepting his “boyfriend” and wails: “Do I call you a daughter-in-law or son-in-law?”
“That is something new,” Kavi said.
The two “gay” men ultimately end up chasing the landlady’s young niece in Miami, where the film is set.
Produced by top filmmaker Karan Johar, Dostana is already on its way to becoming one of the biggest Bollywood hits this year, industry watchers said.
“It is doing very well among the younger, educated people in big cities,” said Indu Mirani, entertainment editor of the tabloid Mumbai Mirror.
But Mirani cautioned against giving Dostana too much credit for championing the cause of gays and lesbians.
“It’s too flippant, it won’t change anything. Sociological changes take years to happen,” she said.
“The Indian audience is still not that evolved for Bollywood to try a film with gay characters in the lead.” – AFP
By Maureen Dowd, New York Times Columnist
LOS ANGELES — Dianne Feinstein is not sure she’ll ever be able to watch the movie Milk, even though she’s in it.
There is 1978 footage of a stricken Feinstein in the opening minutes of the new Gus Van Sant biopic of Harvey Milk, her colleague on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the first openly gay elected official in American history. (Sean Penn soars as Milk.)
“I was the one who found his body,” the California senator told me Friday, on route from the airport to her home in San Francisco. “To get a pulse, I put my finger in a bullet hole. It was a terrible, terrible time in the city’s history.”
The movie, chronicling the rancorous California fight of gay activists against church-backed forces in the ’70s to prevent discrimination against gays, is opening amid a rancorous California fight of gay activists against church-backed forces to prevent discrimination against gays.
Milk was gunned down by Dan White, who had served on the board with Milk and Feinstein. White, an Irish Catholic former policeman and Vietnam vet, opposed Milk’s equal rights initiatives for gays. He resigned and immediately wanted his seat back, a move Milk helped persuade the mayor, George Moscone, to reject. White climbed through a City Hall basement window with a loaded gun and shot down Moscone and then Milk. (In the “Twinkie defense,” White argued that junk food had left him stressed out.)
I asked Feinstein, who became mayor after the tragedy, if she would see the movie.
“It’s very painful for me,” she replied. “It took me seven years before I could sit in George Moscone’s chair. It took me a long time to talk about it.”
This month, gays who supported Barack Obama had the bittersweet experience of seeing some of the black and Latino voters who surged to the polls to vote Democratic also vote for Proposition 8, which turned gay “I dos” into “You can’ts.” About 20,000 gay couples had exchanged vows before Prop 8 passed, backed by a coalition that included Mormon and Catholic opponents.
Now that donor information can be found on the Internet, gay activists have called for boycotts of anyone who contributed to the law’s passing, from businesses small (El Coyote restaurant in L.A., where Sharon Tate had her last meal and Fabio and George Clooney nearly came to blows) to large (Utah ski resorts and Park City, Utah, theaters where Sundance movies are shown).
Feinstein felt sure that gays who have been married in the state since June are still married. “You can’t redact it,” she said. “You can’t blot it out. It’s so intrinsic to the Constitution that you cannot remove it by a vote of the people.”
Jerry Brown, the California attorney general who is also featured in the archival reels in Milk from his days as governor, agreed: “I believe those are valid,” he told me, saying that he will argue in the appeal before the state Supreme Court that there cannot be “a retroactive invalidation of these marital contracts.”
Brown harked back to the defeat of the Milk-era Prop 6, which sought to root out gay teachers from California public schools. (“If it were true that children mimic their teachers, we’d have a hell of a lot more nuns running around,” Milk says in the movie.)
“Any time you take an issue that has such deep feelings connected to it and you frame it in terms of a political initiative,” Brown said, “you drain out some of the anger and convert it to an issue that people can approach in a more reasonable, open-minded way.”
Feinstein agreed: “I think as more and more people have gay friends, gay associations, see gay heroism, that their views change.”
The gays were outfoxed by their opponents. In both Prop 6 in 1978 and this year’s Prop 8, the specter of children being converted to a gay orientation was raised. Feinstein said the TV ad of Prop 8 supporters insinuating that “gay marriage would be taught in school really hurt.” (“I can marry a princess,” a pigtailed girl told her mom in the ad.)
“I think people are beginning to look at it differently; I know it’s happened for me,” Feinstein said of gay marriage. “I started out not supporting it. The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve seen the happiness of people, the stability that these commitments bring to a life. Many adopted children who would have ended up in foster care now have good solid homes and are brought up learning the difference between right and wrong. It’s a very positive thing.”
I e-mailed Larry Kramer, the leading activist for gay rights in the era that followed Milk’s, to get his read on Prop 8. (In 1983, I interviewed Kramer about the new scourge of AIDS, and he read me a list from a green notebook of 37 friends who had died.)
“DON’T WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO HAVE RIGHTS?” he e-mailed back, blessedly cantankerous. “I AM ASHAMED OF YOU THAT YOU HAD TO ASK ME THAT QUESTION.”
© New York Times News Service
On December 5th, 2008 Focus Features will release the film Milk, starring Sean Penn.
The film is a bio-pic based on the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. He was murdered in 1978 and his killer would serve a reduced prison sentence due to the “Twinkie defense”. Read more about Harvey’s life.