A fascinating new series about LGBT cinema—before it was "officially" out—starts next week at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. An Early Clue to the New Direction: Queer Cinema Before Stonewall will showcase 23 films and 25 shorts, all made before 1969 and the Stonewall riots, that show how subtly or surprisingly boldly auteurs and actors represented sexual and gender identities.
Among the selections are The Wild Party (directed by Dorothy Arzner and starring Clara Bow), Persona (directed by Ingmar Bergmann with Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson), Ed Wood's Glen or Glenda, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant-vehicle Sylvia Scarlett and My Hustler from Andy Warhol.
Programmer at Large (and Light Industry co-founder) Thomas Beard said, "The subject of early queer cinema has long fascinated me; this survey has, in a sense, been in the works for over a decade. Now, the result of those years of research is manifest in the 30 programs that comprise the series, and I'm thrilled that audiences will have a chance to revisit classics like Hitchcock’s Rope while they also discover the many rare items on offer, like Jacqueline Audry's Olivia and Gregory Markopoulos’s Twice a Man."
Here's a trailer, created by Zach Clark, for the series:
Beard also tells us, "Since the series brings together many different styles of moviemaking—classical Hollywood cinema, documentary, experimental film, grindhouse fare—my hope is that the program will appeal to a wide range of audiences. Each screening is essential in its own way, though there's one in particular that I'd like to single out: Leontine Sagan's Weimar touchstone Mädchen in Uniform, a stirring parable of authoritarianism and the first great film about lesbian love."
Queer Cinema Before Stonewall starts Friday, April 22nd and runs through Sunday, May 1st.