What Makes A Queer Film Essential Viewing?

Liquid Sky

Film buffs define classic movies in different ways using different criteria. Definitions can range from record-breaking to precedent-setting to influential to just intensely moving on a personal level. If you were to ask the average gay person on the street to name LGBT-themed movies that every queer person needs to see as a rite of passage, you’d probably hear the usual check list: The Boys in the BandBrokeback Mountain, Milk, Desert Hearts, Parting Glances, HBO’s Angels in America, maybe Trick for relief from all the doom and gloom.

However, Queer/Art/Film, a New York City-based screening series has been presenting a number of films that aren’t as widely known, such as Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason and Pasolini’s Salo or 120 Days of Sodom. Tonight the series will partner with Sundance Cinemas to launch an L.A. off shoot and offer Angelenos an opportunity to see these rarely-screened gems of queer cinema on the big screen — and you can take booze into the theater. Curators for the L.A. series are Ira Sachs, director of acclaimed films Keep the Lights On and the upcoming Love is Strange, Martabel Wasserman, editor of the must-read Recaps magazine and Adam Baran, an award-winning filmmaker whose recent video for the band Holopaw was obscenely beautiful but so raunchy we couldn’t post it. These three know something about life outside the mainstream.

tumblr_mm8tzpePxV1sq0e9co1_400-thumb-500x363-17452The first film they’ve chosen is 1982’s exquisitely perverse Liquid Sky, a new wave sci-fi opus from director Slava Tsukerman. It’s a film that could only have been made in New York in the early 1980s and it defies easy description other than to say it’s about invisible aliens in search of the human pheremone that’s created in the brain during orgasm. Anne Carlisle offers an astounding dual performance as bisexual model Margaret and her nemesis Jimmy. The film has developed such a fanatical following over the three decades since its premiere that Tsukerman recently announced he’ll shoot a sequel in the near future. Other films planned for west coast screenings include Fassbender’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (June 16) and Derek Jarman’s Jubilee (July 28). Each film will be followed by a discussion with a queer artist who will explain how the movie inspired his/her work. To purchase tickets for the films in the series, go here. Watch the trailer for Liquid Sky below.

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