cinema polaris

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Putting on the Dish
Written & Directed by Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston, 2015

London, 1962. Two strangers strike up a conversation on a park bench about life, sex and the hostile world they find themselves in as gay men. The conversation might be commonplace, but the language isn’t, because the two men are speaking in Polari.

Polari was a form of slang spoken by some gay men in Britain prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. Used primarily as a coded way for them to discuss their experiences, it quickly fell out of use in the 70s, although several words entered mainstream English and are still used today.

Shedding light on a little-known and fascinating slice of gay history, this film is a darkly comic exploration of oppression, resilience and gay subculture in 1960s England.