Picturehouse Central’s LGBT film strand OUT At Central is pleased to present a short season of films curated by actor and filmmaker Clea DuVall. Featuring three bold titles that have influenced and inspired Clea’s life and work.
When I was young, it was vital for me to see LGBTQ characters in film and television. Seeing myself represented helped me accept the parts of myself I thought needed to change. There weren’t many LGBTQ characters when I was growing up, but the ones I had meant the world.
Monday 7 November, 7.00
Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski. USA 1996. 148 mins.
I was 16 when I came out, and 19 when Bound did. It was playing at a theatre that was within walking distance from my house. I saw it soon after its release, then went back to see it every afternoon for over a week.
The sexuality of the characters in Bound had nothing to do with their appeal. I was very used to the sexy guy taking charge, being the hero, getting the girl, but this was the first time I saw a woman playing what is essentially the guy’s role. The reimagining of the gender roles turned what could have been another crime thriller into something truly unique.
Something else I appreciated was the depiction of the women’s sexual relationship. The little I had seen of romantic encounters between women in film all felt very soft and polite. There was nothing polite about their physical relationship. It was liberating for the teenaged me to see female sexuality as powerful, a little dangerous and very sexy.
Monday 21 November, 7.00
High Art (18)
Director: Lisa Cholodenko. USA 1998. 101 mins.
I am an only child, and with that came a very active imagination. As I got older and my hormones turned on, my fantasies became almost exclusively love-based. I would see someone across a room, create an entire narrative in a moment, and watch the love story unfold in my mind. They all ended tragically. In my youth, romance had to be painful, difficult, and it could never last.
My views on love have changed (thank God), but I so vividly remember that feeling of desire and longing for something (usually someone) that was very bad for me. The relationship between Lucy and Syd was like seeing a fairy tale that was made just for me. Watching them fall in love made my heart ache. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there is a shot of Radha Mitchell toward the end of the film that is one of my favourite moments in any film ever.
Monday 5 December, 7.00
Dog Day Afternoon (15)
Director: Sidney Lumet. USA 1975. 125 mins.
I knew nothing about this film when I sat down to watch it. A friend of mine was obsessed with Al Pacino, and insisted this was his best performance. That was good enough for me. I had never heard the real-life story this was based on, and did a double take when Sonny’s true motivation was revealed.
I saw the movie in the ‘90s, and it was the first time I had seen trans represented in any way. I appreciated the way it was handled, as well as the lack of judgment. Al Pacino was a man fighting to do anything he could for the person he loved, and that was the most important thing.