Homosexuality and Catholicism Bibliography:
Section XIV: Lesbian and Gay Christian Movies and TV
© Paul Halsall
Some, but not all, listings and comments come
from the The GLBO-Centered Film List compiled by Frank Swilling
(30 Jun 94), Minotaur@cup.portal.com
The Agony and the Ecstasy,
1965 USA, (Movie), concerns the life, struggles and art of Michaelangelo
Buonaroti. Played by Charlton Heston, there is no mention that
the artist was gay - so a classic case of erasing homosexuality.
Still, next time you are in Rome, take a close look at the men's
bodies in the Sistine chapel!
Black Narcissus, 195?
UK (Movie), set in an Anglican convent in the Himalayas, portrays
intense emotions between the sisters. A stunning movie shot entirely
The Boys in the Band,
William Friedkin, 1970 USA (Movie), was the first Hollywood movied
in which all the main characters were gay. The leading figure
- Michael - a a tortured and torturing gay Catholic. The movie
was attacked by gay activists at the time, but, as gay filmographer
Vito Russo pointed out, it gave ample evidence of what evil the
closet inflicted, and why the closet had to be broken.
The Boys of St. Vincents,
Canada, (TV Series: released as a movie) looks at the issues of
sexuality and repression, leading to sexual abuse, in a Canadian
Granada TV, UK , (TV series) based on Evelyn Waugh's novel. The
writer of the Screenplay, John Mortimer, insisted that the main
characters were not gay, but both actors played the relationship
as gay. There was also a reference to "silk shirts and vices
high on the list of deadly sins". Waugh seems to have been
reflecting on his own early homosexual experiences at Oxford.
La Cage aux Folles [Birds
of a Feather] Edouard Molinaro, Director 1979 : France : 110 minutes
: Gay/Gay Transvestite : Comedy : Renato's son is bringing his
fiance's conservative parents home to meet the family : Renato
(his gay father), and Albin (Renato's lover), an aging female
impersonator who raised the boy as "her" son. Watch
for the priest at the end!
Caravaggio, Derek Jarman,
Director 1986 : UK : 93 minutes, (Movie), about the life and loves
of the painter Caravaggio. Lots of queer cardinals.
Citizen Cohn, 1992 : Gay
: Biographical Drama : Made-for-HBO movie about infamous lawyer
Roy Cohn, a Jew who prosecuted the Rosenbergs, a queer-hating
homosexual who was the prime shaker behind Senator Joe McCarthy's
anti-communist & homosexual witch-hunt in the 1950's. Includes
such delightful scenes as Cohn being entertained after dinner
at J. Edgar Hoover's home by Hoover's true love -- Deputy FBI
Director Clyde Tolson -- at the piano, and a restaurant scene
with Cohn eating from the plate of one the other most influential
right-wing closet-cases of the day: Francis Cardinal Spellman.
Entre Tinieblas [Dark
Habits] Pedro Almodovar, Director 1983 : Spain : 95 minutes :
Lesbian : Drama : In a convent in Madrid, the Mother Superior
has fallen in love with the female singer Yolanda. A hard-eged,
intentionally offensive religious satire, not as original or as
funny as Almodovar's later films.
Extramuros, 1985 : Spain
: Lesbian : Drama : A dark story of love and ambition behind convent
walls. Sister Angela decides to fake stigmata to save her convent
from ruin; her devoted lover reluctantly agrees. But Angela's
scam brings them unexpected fame as well as new enemies who could
destroy their relationship.
Fated To Be Queer, Pablo
Bautista, Director 1992 : 29 minutes (Movie): A moving documentary
that illuminates issues and concerns for the Filipino American
The Fourth Man [De Vierde
Man], Paul Verhoeven 1983 : The Netherlands : 102 minutes , (Movie)
about obsessive religious and sexual desire.
Frost in May, UK, (TV
series) based on Antonia White's novel of a Catholic girls' school.
A Hard God, 1980 : Australia
: 82 minutes : Gay : Drama :A depressing made-for-Australian-TV
movie wherein a working class Catholic family in Sydney endure
tough times and misery in the 1940s. In the middle of it all,
the 16-year-old son tries to cope with falling in love with a
Heart of the matter : fighting against nature, written/presented by Joan Bakewell. London : BBC, July 1992.
Holy Mary , 1991 5 min,
A collage film which intercuts images of Pope J.P. 2, Fashion
Experts, and a sex-change medical specialist. The result: an
outrageously funny look at gender, fashion, and the head of the
world's largest gay sex club.
The Hunting Season, Rita
Moreira, Director 1992 : Brazil : 30 minutes : GLBO : Brazil's
gay and lesbian population are being slaughtered in a ghastly
series of hate crimes. Intercutting scenes from Hollywood movies
(The Deer Hunter and Cruising), director Moreira stops people
on the streets of Sao Paolo for a quick health check on the state
of the nation. "They should be killed," is the most
In the Name of the Father,
199? HBO, USA (TV Movie) concerns a sexually abusive priest and
the way the hierarchy has hidden this problem while continuing
to condemn adult sexual relationships.
In This House of Brede,
George Schaefer, Director 1975 : UK : 100 minutes : Lesbian :
Drama : A young nun gets a crush on older one who wants to reciprocate
Jeffrey, 1995: US: based
on a play by Paul Rudnik about a gay man's fear of intimacy in
the age of AIDS. It features a gay Catholic priest with strongly
pro-sex views - which he dispenses in the confessional at St.
Law of Desire [Ley del
Deseo] Pedro Almodovar, Director 1987 : Spain : 100 minutes :
Gay/Transsexual : Comedy/Drama : Screwball tragicomedy centering
on a gay film director, his transsexual brother (now a sister,
who is played by a born-female actress), and two of his young
lovers. Watch for Antonio Banderas and his frenetically Catholic
Lot in Sodom, James Watson
and Leville Webber 1933 US, (Movie) set in Sodom with, according
to Vito Russo, "glitter queens running the show".
Mass Appeal, Gelnn Jordan
1984 US, (Movie), about a radical young seminarian in a rich parish
and the challenge he presents to the comfortable old pastor.
No Need to Repent: The Ballad of Rev. Jan Griesinger,
1989 : Lesbian :Reverend Jan Griesinger is an "out"
minister in the United Church of Christ who has integrated her
ministry, her politics and her personal life. The story of a courageous
contemporary feminist, this film reveals some of the many levels
of her activism.
On Being Gay: A Conversation with Brian McNaught Ron Robin, Director 1986 : 86 minutes :(VHS Video), an exploration
of a number of issues. Often used by groups wishing to explore
gay and spiritual issues [more info from TRB Productions, Box
2362, Boston MA 02107) Gay :
One Nation Under God,
Teodoro Maniaci, Francina Rzeznick, and Zinka Benton, Directors
1993 : 83 minutes : GLBO : Focusing on the contemporary religious
Right Wing proliferation of curative therapies for homosexuality,
this riveting documentary offers historical context as well as
a political analysis of this frighteningly large movement.
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit,
UK, (TV series) based on Jeannette Winterton's accoun of a young
Lesbian's evangelical childhood. Not Catholic, but we understand!
Priest, Angela Bird Director
1994, UK, (Movie) - set in Liverpool, this is the story of a conservative
Catholic priest and his movement towards self-acceptance of his
gayness in the context of his placement in a poor Liverpool parish.
It is wonderfully acted, and presents some of the best representations
of gay men to found in any film. The sex scenes alone set new
standards in realistic but not exploitative representation. The
most attractive character in the movie is, however, the straight
parish priest - a heartening example of modern priesthood.
Salome's Last Dance, Ken
Russell, Director 1988 : UK : Gay : Drama : A typical Russell
extravaganza, wherein Oscar Wilde is invited to a bordello to
view a wildly decadent version of his banned play "Salome".
Seams, Karim Ainouz, Director
1993 : Brazil/USA : 30 minutes : GLBO : A personal account of
Brazil's social and sexual constraints for women and gay men,
seen through the eyes of the women in the director's family.
Sebastiane, Derek Jarman
1977 90 mins UK, (Movie), unique movie with dialogue in Latin
and actors nearly naked most of the tiime. Aimed at classicists,
gay men, and Catholics. The story of St. Sebastian, who was sent
to be outreaches of the Roman Empire after objecting to the murder
of a young Christian page. There he carries on an affair with
his commanding officer, whereupon he is brutally murdered by his
jealous fellow soldiers.
Stop the Church, 1991?,
23 mins US, (TV Documentary), looks at ACT-UP/New York's demonstration
against Cardinal O'Connor. This was broadcast on PBS amidst great
furor. It makes no attempt to be non-partisan.
This Special Friendship [Les Amities Particuliers] Jean Delannoy, Director 1964 : France
: 105 minutes : Gay : Drama : A relationship between an older
boy and a younger boy at a strict Catholic boy's school ends in
disaster when the priests voice their disapproval with increasingly