Conspicuously Obscured

I once heard a prominent gay clergyman say how homophobia is a room in the ‘Hotel Sexism.’  Initially startling, having tumbled from the lips of a gay man who came out in later life, the idea reasonated. While neither touchstone nor bedrock, it’s an occasional directional sign or barometer.

This jumbles my consciousness as I ponder the fate of an excellent film, which not only depicts that guest room with punch and panache, but some of the inn as well.  Directed and produced by a talented friend, it has yet to be justly distributed despite its A-list casting and performances, and being well-reviewed, amply circuited, and community-seal approved.

The film is not just a heartfelt auto-reimagining, but a truly equality-forward study of gay marriage from two generations ago.   Nevertheless, languishing, unreleased films are nothing new, and the film is in (relatively) good company.  The pervasive and persistent sexism in the film industry however might offer a clearer scapegoat which in fact is culpable.

Had this film been made by a man–gay or straight–might it have gotten to Netflix already?  Might it have had a modest but thorough art/indie house run?  Might it even have garnered mention if not spots on the 10 best lists of mostly straight white male (with few exceptions) film critics?  This is all still possible, though the film’s post-production kickstart didn’t take, reinforcing the suspicion that certain funding pool crashers are killing its efficacy for budding and blooming filmmakers.  I wonder had Sarah Jones been male, how much more furious would the tempest have brewed from her tragic end?

Having a gifted and successful relation who has transcended all those hurdles, and yet remains Oscar-non grata has increased my sensitivity to this conundrum.  An expanded list of equally steadfast and established peers comes to mind.  Meanwhile, I wonder about my friend’s film, if the prematurely tragic death of one of her fine principals, Phil Hoffman or James Gandolfini-like, will propel her film into cinematic consciousness?  Or not?


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