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Gay Directors, Gay Films?: Pedro Almodovar, Terence Davies, Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, John Waters

by Emanuel Levy Columbia University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 392 pages
AU$59.99 NZ$64.34
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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Through intimate encounters with the life and work of five contemporary gay male directors, this book develops a framework for interpreting what it means to make a gay film or adopt a gay point of view. For most of the twentieth century, gay characters and gay themes were both underrepresented and misrepresented in mainstream cinema. Since the 1970s, however, a new generation of openly gay directors has turned the closet inside out, bringing a new and poignant immediacy to modern cinema and popular culture.

Combining his experienced critique with in-depth interviews conducted with each director, Emanuel Levy draws a clear timeline of gay filmmaking over the past four decades and its particular influences and innovations. While recognizing the 'queering' of American culture that resulted from these films, Levy also takes stock of the ensuing conservative backlash and its impact on cinematic art, a trend that continues alongside the growing acceptance of homosexuality. He compares the similarities and differences between the 'North American' attitudes of Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, and John Waters and the 'European' perspectives of Pedro Almodóvar and Terence Davies, developing a truly comprehensive, up-to-date approach to gay filmmaking in particular and auteur cinema in general.

1. Pedro Almodóvar: Spain's Enfant Terrible
2. Terence Davies: Subjective Memoirist
3. Todd Haynes: Deconstructive Queer Cinema
4. Gus Van Sant: Poet of Lost and Alienated Youth
5. John Waters: Queer as Trash and Camp
Conclusion: Gay Directors—Who's Looking and How?
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A comprehensive account of five remarkable careers in film.
Emanuel Levy is a professor of film and sociology, now teaching at New York University. He is the author of nine books, including Vincente Minnelli: Hollywood's Dark Dreamer; All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards; Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Film; George Cukor: Master of Elegance; John Wayne: Prophet of the American Way of Life; and Citizen Sarris: American Film Critic. A two-time president of the L.A. Film Critics Association, Levy served as senior critic for Variety and chief film critic for Screen International before founding in 2003 the acclaimed website: He has served on the grand juries of fifty-four international film festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Montreal, Locarno, Taormina, San Francisco, and Sundance.