Self and Other IV

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Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 18, 2015

Some of you might still want to resist this one. Gay propaganda! It’s calculated, craftily manipulative, an ideological example of the Hollywood Studios’ old practice—judged to be unconstitutional, mind you, and eventually made illegal—of block booking. If you want this Clark Gable picture, they said, you’re going to have to take these other nine films as well, and sight unseen. The connection? You’ll agree with a few dear and unexceptionable ideas here, but it’s pretty clear that they really want you to accept the entire ticket!

Then again, you might not want to resist this one. Gay propaganda? Who cares? Or, at this point in history, maybe everyone ought to listen a little more closely to what people have actually been saying. There’s something even more important than that. This is a very moving, heartbreaking movie, finally rooted in something more basic and uncontestable than any ideology. Gay or hemophiliac or needle user, these poor people loved, and they were loved. Let’s establish that first, and work out the rest later. Listen to the inflection in that spirited, grieving survivor’s voice. “So sweet…”