Critical Writing Index

Philadelphia not a "gay film": There are plenty of homosexual movies, but this isn't one of them. It's about AIDS

by Sky Gilbert

The Toronto Star, Jan. 21, 1994

Toronto filmmaker Sky Gilbert argues Jonathen Demme's Philadelphia, while addressing issues within the gay community, is not in and of itself queer cinema. Gilbert argues that by treating bodily functions and sexuality with a sort of shock and disgust, the filmmakers moralize, rather than merely depict, issues within the gay community. Contrarily, queer cinema is more honest and upfront with sexuality and queer moments. Gilbert identifies gay mainstream filmmakers working within this idiom: Pier Paolo Pasolinim Paul Morrisey, Gus Van Sant and John Waters. As wel, several Canadian ndependant queer makers and venues are introduced, such as John Greyson and Pleasuredome. Gilbert concludes the primary difference between what Philadelphia is doing and what true queer cinema is doing is "that queer work speaks honestly about queer life from inside the culture."

ITEM 1994.083 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

PhiladelphiaJonathen Demme

Squeezing Sorrow From an AshtraySteve Reinke

UrinalJohn Greyson

MassillonWilliam Jones

No Skin Off My AssBruce LaBruce

My AddictionSky Gilbert