John Greyson

1988, 100:00 minutes, English (available with French subtitles)


A motley crew of famous dead artists, including Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, are mysteriously summoned to Toronto in 1987. Their Mission? To research the policing of washroom sex and propose solutions. Of their group Dorian Gray is mandated to infiltrate the police force as an undercover 'gay' agent.

Urinal combines narrative and documentary conventions and blends film, video and computer paintbox special effects to explore this urgent political issue. Since 1981, hundreds of men are arrested each year in Ontario's public washrooms for 'indecent acts'. Video surveillance and undercover entrapment ensure that the men plead guilty. Their names are often published in local papers. Their lives are destroyed -- several have committed suicide.

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Critical Writing

The Straight Story
by David Livingstone. Elm Street, Sept. Fall 2000.
Jon Greyson, an Uncut above
by Liam Lacey. The Globe and Mail, May 30, 1997.
Less Griping More Groping
by John Greyson. Canadian Dimension, 1997, v. 31, no. 3.
Director disrupts AIDS certainties with Zero Patience: Hammering...
by Cameron Bailey. Now, Feb. 23, 1994, v. 13, no. 26.
Philadelphia not a "gay film": There are plenty of homosexual...
by Sky Gilbert. The Toronto Star, Jan. 21, 1994.
Identity and Consciousness:: (Re)Presenting the Self
by Sheila Petty. Dunlop Art Gallery, 1991. Regina, SK: Dunlop Art Gallery, 1991.
The Passionate Queer Documentary
by John Greyson. Video Guide, Nov. 1990, v. 10, no. 5.
On A Trumped-Up Charge: Two Video-Films
by Nancy Shaw. Vanguard, Summer 1989, v. 18, no. 3.
Film challenges "gay-bashers"
by Peter Goddard. The Toronto Star, Apr. 27, 1989.
Video at the Crossroads: A review of the 1988 AFI Festival
by Margaret Morse. Video Networks, 1989, v. 13, no. 314.
What the hell's going on in that bathroom?
by Steven Gaydos. The Advocate, Apr. 11, 1989.
Private Parts in Public Places
by Andrew J. Paterson. Fuse, Jan. 1989.
Video & Television
by Michael Nash. High Performance, Winter 1988, no. 44.