To conclude this series of Pride 2017-related posts (though certainly not the end of gay-relevant content on this blog), here’s a two-part post on Todd Haynes’s exquisite 1950s-set lesbian romance Carol (2015). Last year, Carol was voted the best LGBT film of all time in a poll that featured over 100 critics and was compiled to mark the 30th anniversary of London’s lesbian and gay film festival, BFI Flare. There are many qualities worth celebrating in this film: the sublimely modulated lead performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, the richly atmospheric period detail and mise-en-scène, Haynes’s deft invocations of classical Hollywood genres (melodrama, film noir, women’s pictures). But most importantly, as the following quote reminds us, Carol’s uncommonly uplifting and affirmative take on same-sex love represents a quietly radical step forward for LGBT narratives in cinema.
“In the years since Brokeback Mountain, we’ve seen Best Picture nominations for The Kids Are All Right and Dallas Buyers Club – though in both of those cases, the primary audience surrogate was arguably a straight man (Mark Ruffalo in Kids, Matthew McConaughey in Dallas) – and the slightly Sapphic Black Swan. And, of course, there was Milk and The Imitation Game, both stories about gay men who met with tragedy… Spoiler alert: Carol’s protagonists fall in love, consummate their passion, and encounter some difficulties – it’s the early ‘50s, after all – but do not die for/from being gay. Such a declaration sounds stark, but an astonishing number of films about gay life have seen their characters come to some sort of a tragic end, as if comporting to the old Hays Code, where characters must be “punished” for their “sins.” Ultimately, Carol’s most transgressive quality is its refusal to engage in such shenanigans; this is a film about full-blooded gay lives, not tragic gay deaths. Maybe Oscar voters weren’t sure how to deal with that?” — Jason Bailey, Flavorwire (January 2016)
Celebrate black history month by watching the works of these 10 history-making directors
6 to 10:
Best Known For: Being the first black woman to direct a movie for a major studio in 1989, bringing Marlon Brando out of retirement to act in her film A Dry White Season and directing him to an Oscar nomination.
new release from one of my favourite bands. the band have been nothing but ambitious so far with their new songs indicating a complete change in direction of their musical style. their very laid back, post-modern, electronic, over-romantic sound is really fitting well in my life. the album ‘i like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ is out on feb 26th, roll on!
Honestly, if you like awesome romantic contemporaries that also tackle real issues, Sarah Dessen should be your patron saint! Lock and Key in particular is one to make you laugh, cry, and love. But if Sarah’s extensive book catalogue isn’t enough for you, then we also have…
This book will make you truly question what it means to love someone. Full of heart and friendship (and lots of love) this steamy, contemplative romance will also leave you sobbing as it twists and turns through the mysterious (cursed?) lives of Lorna, Isla, Delila, Charlotte, and Cruz.
Check out more books that will destroy your heart here!