I HAVE BEEN TOLD I DESERVE
“A FULL LIFE THAT ISN’T JUST ABOUT FIGHTING FOR THINGS”

Andrew Haigh continues to maintain the delusion that his intrinsically gay film Weekend, which includes highly realistic depictions of male–male sexuality, will actually be “universal.”

It seemed obvious to me when I was writing the story that first and foremost it was about two people with very universal struggles, but simply being told within a gay context. I also think that I was quite excited at the idea that an audience would watch the film expecting one thing but that it would become something different, resonate in other ways. That was always part of my intention….

The problem is that the minute the film becomes defined as a “gay movie” it puts people off from going to see it.

It puts off hetero males and conservatives of any gender. They buy a lot of movie tickets.

Plus I do want straight people to give it a go precisely because I wish this separation that seems to exist would disappear. I go and see films about straight people all the time and those films resonate with me and I’m gay – so I find it frustrating that it can’t always work the other way around.

Yes.

Yes, gays’ generations-long cinematic accommodation to straight people – up to and including writing in, directing, art-directing, costuming, and of course starring in straight people’s movies – should immediately invert its polarity and manifest itself with heterosexualists. (The reasoning here is the same ancient dodge that insists all people are bisexual. It’s the closet at work.) But straight people are the ones who have never had to budge an inch to see themselves represented in movies.

We’re accustomed to being treated as marginal and expendable and inferior, so of course the first thing a ladder-climbing director of a gay movie will tell the press is that his movie is actually universal. Hasn’t Andrew Haigh had to spend his whole life lying to himself about what straight people in film mean to him? Hasn’t he had to do that just to actually have a life at the cinema? Haven’t we all had to do that?

The answer is yes. But straight people have never had to do it even once and are not in a big rush to start. It’s never even occurred to them. It isn’t even a topic of discussion.

The mythmaking that straight guys are gonna show up for Weekend needs to stop. They’re not gonna. Nor should they.

Has this guy even heard of Vito Russo? How about Armond White? (“The transference of identity that people of colour have always had to make at the movies is just the kind of theoretical, hypothetical leap of faith/pledge of fellow-feeling that Hollywood filmmakers now refuse to return.”)

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.09.08 17:15. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2011/09/08/universal-weekend/

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