No list of queer cinema would be complete without a contribution from the late, great German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. His final film -- 1982's "Querelle" -- capped off an epic career with an adpatation of Jean Genet's 1947 novel "Querelle de Brest." Following a hot sailor (Brad Davis) who ends up getting into some serious trouble (a lot of murder and even more sex) at a brothel in a French coastal town, it was one of the first films from an internationally renowed filmmaker to offer up a considerably uncompromising portrait of male homosexuality.
"Rebel Without a Cause"
What, you don't think this movie is gay? Think again. Or, better yet, watch it again and put a little more of your focus on Plato, played beautifully by the haunting Sal Mineo. Watch the way Plato looks at James Dean. I've always felt his feelings went beyond idolatry, but I can't decide whether the film paints them in visible, broad strokes or not. Perhaps it's because any viewer probably feels the same way gazing up at James Dean the screen. [Austin Dale]
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
Initially a box office bomb upon its release in 1975, Richard O’Brien’s gender-bending rock musical became a cult phenomenon thanks to audience participation heavy midnight screenings and an outcast friendly message of “Don’t dream it. Be it.” The film finds a young couple getting lost in a rainstorm and taking shelter in a giant castle housed by mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) and his bizarre servants. “Rocky Horror” takes the underlying homoeroticism of films like “Frankenstein” and brings it to the forefront as Frank tries to create his own man/sex object. Legions of fans still show up at screenings dressed as Curry’s “sweet transvestite” Frank N. Furter and Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick’s naïve couple Brad (“Asshole!”) and Janet (“Slut!”) to sing along, shout out their own lines, spray water pistols and throw toast. If you haven’t lost your “RHPS” virginity yet, there’s no time like the present. [Devin Lee Fuller]
“A Single Man”
Colin Firth’s titular single man, George, is a college professor whose longtime partner recently died in a car accident. Facing life alone is unbearable for George, so over the course of one day he plans his suicide. Tom Ford’s directorial debut is as impeccably art directed as one would expect from the fashion designer; he alternates from using a faded color palette to a bright one whenever George sees something (or someone) attractive in front of him. And while some may find the stylistic touches to be a little much, there’s nothing excessive about Firth’s pitch-perfect performance. While Firth won an Oscar the following year in “The King’s Speech,” his performance here is less showy and far more affecting. [Devin Lee Fuller]