Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors

“There have never been lesbians or gay men in Hollywood. Only homosexuals.” With this final despairing statement, gay film historian and activist Vito Russo ends The Celluloid Closet, his landmark study of representations of LGBTQ people in film.

When Russo first published The Celluloid Closet in 1981, he could not imagine that over a decade later LGBTQ directors would make movies that depicted the complex and varied experiences of LGBTQ people with respect and pride, and that Hollywood would begin to finance and distribute these films. Nor could he foresee that 35 years later, Barry Jenkins, a black gay director, would win the Best Picture Academy Award for Moonlight, a sensitive, nuanced, and beautifully filmed story of a young gay black man’s coming of age.

Sadly, Russo died of AIDS-related complications in 1990 and did not live long enough to see the blossoming queer cinema that began to emerge shortly thereafter. In 2013, GLAAD created the Vito Russo Test in his honor. Mainstream Hollywood filmmakers still have a way to go in terms of positive portrayals of LGBTQIA characters, but queer filmmakers around the world have been producing excellent films that pass the Vito Russo Test and then some for decades. Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading “Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors”

Books to Movies: 2017 and Beyond

Want to catch up on must-reads books before they become movies? Are you excited to see – or dreading to watch – your favorite characters come to life? Here are some of the most anticipated adaptations coming to a screen near you. Check out the books now, while there’s still time! Continue reading “Books to Movies: 2017 and Beyond”

Beyond the Screen: Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

As a part of the African American Film Series this year, librarians have created some amazing resource lists that can help you take your understanding of the people, places, times and themes these films bring to life beyond the screen. For Douglass-Truth’s upcoming screening of the documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, on Sunday, May 8th at 2 p.m., here are a few books to deepen your experience:

Angela Davis: An AutobiographyFree Angela and All Political Prisoners by Angela Y. Davis
UCLA professor, political activist, former fugitive, communist, and Black Panther Party member Angela Davis describes her remarkable early journey as she became a major American figure in the fight for human rights. Continue reading “Beyond the Screen: Free Angela and All Political Prisoners”

2016 African American Film Series

Tomorrow begins our 2016 African American Film Series, celebrating black actors, directors and films depicting the rich and varied African American experience. This year we’re showing 28 movies in 14 library locations across the city through June. See the full calendar for further details!


October Takeover: Literature in Horror Films – from Book to Scream

~posted by The Spoiler

October is synonymous with horror movies, but horror is a tricky label to apply to literature. Often relegated as less legitimate, horror injects itself seamlessly into many genres – literary fiction, sci-fi, erotica or paranormal. In honor of the scariest month of the year and a genre that refuses to be narrowed down, here are some of the best films that link horror to the slipperiest character of all: the author.

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970 Dario Argento). Some may call this Argento film tame in comparison to his later horror masterpieces, and they may be right. But the master’s first feature film is full of frightening images, trickery and above all art. The story centers around a British author in Italy trying to work on his latest book. Totally unsuspecting, he witnesses an attempted murder (at night but in bright floodlights and behind clear glass). Everything about the film is a puzzle and misleads the character and the audience numerous times. The scares are fleeting but intense, and sets the stage for more meaty scenarios to come. Continue reading “October Takeover: Literature in Horror Films – from Book to Scream”