Brit filmmaker Daisy Asquith whisks us through 100 years of homosexuality in England in a tight 71 minutes in Queerama her latest documentary.
Combining a real treasure trove of archival footage from extensive vaults of the British Film Institute, with clips from a whole range of LGBT feature films, plus more than a dabbing of vintage home movies, Asquith’s doc is a glorious celebration of both the good, and bad, old days.
Watching the stiff-upper-lipped BBC journalists conduct their own investigations into homosexuality on TV programs during the early 1960’s is a joy because it so accurately portrayed the bizarre general consensus at the time of how depraved and sick we were. Equally amazing is revisiting the fact that British politicians, particularly the likes of Thatcher and her cronies, were so out of step with public opinion which was evolving positively about homosexuality, albeit slowly, whilst they passed laws chipping away at equal rights.
Initially, the references to any LGBT characters on film was very definitely all in the subtext, and there was that long period where a character could only be gay if they were very unhappy or a big screaming queen. It was fascinating seeing how gradually LGBT was eventually portrayed on the big and small screen without being belittled in such a negative fashion.
Asquith and her really talented team of editors strung it all together using a very lively tongue-in-cheek soundtrack featuring tracks from the likes of singer/songwriter John Grant which certainly helped lighten some of the sections of the film that could have otherwise been a tad too serious.
The film is an excellent potted history of queer life in England for those who lived through a great deal of it, and for others who need to learn about how our community got to where it is today.