Vito Russo

Genesis 2022-07-07 15:56:52

Five stars for Vito Russo's (1946-1990) seminal research and the century-old history of social change depicted in the film.

The Celluloid Closet reveals how queers are represented in Hollywood films. They lived in shadows, stood for being bullied, and most often ended up dying as punishment for their transgressive sexuality in homophobic patriarchy. They were once sheer source of humour, blooded villains, victims , and victimizers. Another stereotype is they are unhappy, sad, pathetic, suicidal people with either mental illness, low self-esteem, or self-hatred.

Interesting lines from the film:

“She says that I think more of you than I do of her”

"love is spelled with four same letters"--Tom Hanks

- "you cannot die an old maid"

- "I have no intention to, Chancellor, I shall die a bachelor"

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Extended Reading

The Celluloid Closet quotes

  • Shirley MacLaine: None of us were really aware. We might have been forerunners, but we weren't really, because we didn't do the picture right. We were in the mindset of not understanding what we were basically doing. These days, there would be a tremendous outcry, as well there should be. Why would Martha break down and say, "Oh my god, what's wrong with me, I'm so polluted, I've ruined you." She would fight! She would fight for her budding preference. And when you look at it, to have Martha play that scene - and no one questioned it - what that meant, or what the alternatives could have been underneath the dialog, it's mind boggling. The profundity of this subject was not in the lexicon of our rehearsal period. Audrey and I never talked about this. Isn't that amazing? Truly amazing.

  • Susan Sarandon: Oh, movies are important and they're dangerous because we're the keeper of the dreams. You go into a little dark room and become incredibly vulnerable - on one hand all your perspectives can be challenged, you could feel something you couldn't feel normally. It can encourage you to be the protagonist in your own life. On the other hand it can completely misshape you.