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Gay and Lesbian Genre Documentarys

Gay and Lesbian Documentaries - DVD and Video

The gay and lesbian documentaries section has a cross section of documentaries on everything from GLBT history, culture, activism and society to doco's on community members, projects and various important issues. These documentaries are all available to buy from various sellers in the USA and UK - just choose your seller!
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GLBT Documentary Review of Twenty-Eighth Instance of June

GLBT Documentary Review of Twenty-Eighth Instance of June

28th Instance of June 1914 (1994)

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Artists often invoke a past that never existed, but this offbeat documentary focuses on a pair of artists who don't merely create a fictitious past but try to live in it. David McDermott and Peter McGough, a gay couple living in New York's East Village, choose to wear the fashions of a hundred years ago, and their anachronistic flourishes are an embodiment of their art. Their paintings generally resemble illustrations from the early years of the 20th century, but with a markedly gay theme. And as one of them says on camera, "We create our own homoerotic past." Visits to their urban home show them shaving with antique razors and living without electricity, although they claim they are not using their forays into the past as a gimmick to attract attention. Art critics and a staff member of the Whitney Museum appear on camera to discuss the art of McDermott and McGough, and while the verbiage may slide perilously close to oblique "artspeak," some cogent points are made. Even neighbors in the East Village appear on camera to talk about their neighbors who stroll about in top hats and stiff collars. This is an entertaining, thoughtful, and beautifully photographed film about artists whose steps backward in time make them stand out in the world of modern art. - Robert J. McNamara

GLBT Documentary Review of After Stonewall

After Stonewall (1999)

After Stonewall (1999)

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Thirty years after the momentous Stonewall Riots, this rousing historical documentary (and sequel to the 1985 Before Stonewall wonderfully encapsulates the social, political and sexual progress (and difficulties) the gay/lesbian rights movement faced from 1970 to the end of the century. It captures that time's important events including the 1970s when gay men came out of the closet and into the discos where the clone look, sexual liberation and a “it’s party time” attitude prevailed. It also looks at the convergence and conflicts within the women’s feminist and lesbian rights movements; the institution-backed homophobia backlash beginning with Anita Bryant; and the political battles and the eventual election of openly gay and lesbian politicians. Also examined is the schism that developed between gay men and lesbians during the 1970s as well as the AIDS crisis that brought about the metamorphosis, unification and politicization of the gay/lesbian/transgendered factions. The stories are brought to life through archival footage as well as interviews with a venerable who’s who of gay/lesbian leaders including Barbara Gittings, Armistead Maupin, Jewelle Gomez, Dorothy Allison, Barney Frank, Rita Mae Brown, Elizabeth Birch, Gil Gerald, Larry Kramer, Sheila James-Kuehl and Harry Hay. A galvanizing look at the last thirty years of courage, and the resulting struggles, defeats and triumphs – essential history for all gays and lesbians.

GLBT Documentary Review of An Empty Bed

GLBT Documentary Review of An Empty Bed

An Empty Bed (1990)

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One of the few films that deal with the lives of older gay men, this documentary centres around a gay man in his sixties. He reminisces about his younger days, the roads not taken and the prospect of an empty bed as his enters the winter of his life. His reflections are surprisingly not made with regret or bitterness.

GLBT Documentary Review of Ballot Measure 9 (1995)

GLBT Documentary Review of Ballot Measure 9 (1995)

Ballot Measure 9 (1995)

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A revealing and spirited documentary, Ballot Measure 9 takes a frightening look at a persistent and growing lack of tolerance in America. Efforts are made by the conservative Oregon Citizens' Alliance to revoke "special rights" (a.k.a. equal rights) from homosexuals during the 1992 presidential election. Director Heather MacDonald creates a sense of urgency and tension while covering all sides of this issue, but the viewer cannot help comparing Oregon to Germany in the early 1930s. She includes segments of anti-gay films produced by the Alliance, as well as interviews with those who fought its passage. Because of the sizzling passion on both sides of the issue, this captures the emotional turmoil by outraged gays and lesbians as well as the outrageous claims of the religious right. If nothing else, this doc provides irrefutable proof of the power of grassroots organizations, no matter your political view. - Rochelle O'Gorman (Amazon)

Gay Documentary Review of Beefcake

Beefcake - Gay Male Documentary

Beefcake (1999)
Director: Thom Fitzgerald

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Region 1 DVD - Amazon USA

"Beefcake," Thom Fitzgerald's (The Hanging Garden) provocative blending of fiction and documentary, tells the story of Bob Mizer, the pioneering founder of the Athletic Model Guild, a company which produced still photographs and short films extolling the beauty and chiseled physiques of men. The fiction story follows photographer and enterprising businessman Mizer, who teamed up with his mother in 1945 to film his beefy star-wannabes around his sun-drenched pool. It is here that Neil, a naive, right-off-the-bus teen is lured into using his handsome looks to become a model. The wide-eyed Neil soon learns about the world of sex and prostitution. But a police raid and ensuing criminal trial soon threaten both of the men's worlds. Interspersed with the story are rare archival footage and interviews with former co-workers, customers and models.

GLBT Documentary Review of Before Stonewall (1984)

GLBT Documentary Review of Before Stonewall (1984)

Before Stonewall (1984)

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Before Stonewall is a documentary about evolution, namely the evolution of gay culture in the U.S. from the early 1920s to the Stonewall riot of 1969. Embellished with archival footage and photography from five decades, the film most prominently features the gay underground of the '20s and '30s, the rise of gay service in the military and workforce during WWII, the persecution of gays as "subversives" and "sexual perverts" in the state department by Senator McCarthy, the growth of the first grassroots political organizations for gay men and lesbians in the '50s, and of course, the civil rights movement. Commentary is provided by the gay men and lesbians who came of age in the years leading up to Stonewall. 
Overall, Before Stonewall does an admirable job of illustrating the rise of American gay culture and pinpointing the various social and political issues that were most instrumental. Perhaps the film's only weakness lies in the vast ground it tries to cover in such a short amount of time, leaving certain themes without much in-depth coverage. However, as a snapshot of the years leading up to Stonewall, it succeeds remarkably well. - Katy Ankenman (Amazon)

GLBT Documentary Review of Benjamin Smoke

Benjamin Smoke - Documentary DVD

Benjamin Smoke (2000)
Director: Peter Sillen, Jem Cohen
Encoding: All Regions - Format: Black & White, Color

In life, the late Atlanta musician known as Benjamin (née Robert Dickerson) was a jumble of identities--singer, Patti Smith fan, drag queen, drug addict, and wry raconteur. The story of the 10 years before his 1999 death from complications due to HIV makes for an engrossing viewing experience for indie-minded film fans. Directors Jem Cohen (the Fugazi documentary Instrument) and Peter Sillen (Speed Racer) capture this eccentric figure in glimpses of 16mm and Super 8 as he philosophizes and performs with his bands, the Opal Foxx and, later, Smoke. The film's tone turns bleak as Benjamin's health begins to deteriorate, but his resilient nature, and a moving appearance by Smith that provides a coda for his life, brings a bittersweet finale in this fascinating portrait of a deep dreamer. Plexifilm's full-frame DVD includes an extra 40 minutes of outtakes and performances, including affecting covers of Benjamin's songs by musicians Cat Power and Vic Chestnutt. - Paul Gaita (Amazon.com)

GLBT Documentary Review of A Bigger Splash (1974)

GLBT Documentary Review of A Bigger Splash (1974)

A Bigger Splash (1974)
Starring: Hockney, Schlesinger

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This imaginative reconstruction of David Hockney's art and love life is stunningly filmed by photographer Jack Hazan in the moods, colors, and tones of Hockney's paintings. A leader in Pop Art and the best-known British artist of his generation, Hockney achieved international success by the time he was in his mid-twenties and has since earned a reputation as a superior designer and photographer. A Bigger Splash, which draws its title from one of Hockney's trademark paintings of a California swimming pool, follows the artist's break-up with fellow painter Peter Schlesinger. The former lovers star as themselves, as do many of the subjects of Hockney's paintings. Offering a swirling view of the 1970s London art scene--its art dealers, fashion trends, and gay bars -this semi-fictitious documentary captures the essence of the artist and the era.

GLBT Documentary Review - The Brandon Teena Story

The Brandon Teena Story on DVD (True Story from 'Boy's Don't Cry)

The Brandon Teena Story (1998)
Director: Gréta Olafsdóttir, Susan Muska

Brandon Teena was a handsome boy who had tremendous success with women because he always seemed to know exactly what they wanted. Perhaps it helped that Brandon Teena was born Teena Brandon, a young woman who desperately wanted to be a man. But Brandon lived in a small Midwestern town, where his sexual identity crisis wasn't tolerated, inciting two so-called friends to brutally murder him and two other innocents. This true story, which was the basis for the feature film Boys Don't Cry, is recounted in the award-winning (Best Documentary at both the Vancouver and Berlin film festivals) documentary The Brandon Teena Story.

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