“The View From Here”–behind the scenes of GLBT movies

Hays, Matthew. “The View From Here: Conversations with Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers”, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007.

Behind the Scenes

Amos Lassen

Gay and Lesbian films have come into their own more than ever since the releases of “Brokeback Mountain” and “Transamerica”. It is the people who work behind the cameras that have made the difference and “The View from Here” carefully looks at them. Hays looks at directors and screenwriters—some of whom work in mainstream cinema and some who are working from the edges and gives us a personal look of what they went through to maneuver in the movie industry. Written in the form of personal interviews, we get a fascinating study as well as an in depth look at gay cinema. The book is laded with photographs from the films contained in the book as well as production stills.

Interviews are not always readable but in “The View from Here”. They read quickly and are exceptionally informative.  It is obvious that the author has done his research well and the result is a reference book for all who love the movies. Besides when a book has a really great picture of Divine on the cover, it has something to say.

Some of the filmmakers included as John Waters, Gregg Araki, Wakefield Poole, Rosa von Praunheim, and Bruce LaBruce. There are many others as well.

Reading the book is like taking the yellow brick road through gay film history. There are anecdotes and analyses, facts and interviews and random thoughts on our movies. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about the history of gay/lesbian film and it is important to know about the people who shaped that aspect of our history. Gay film takes all forms and all genres and it is all here—trash, porn, realism, documentary. Indies, Hollywood, noir, and activism. Like our symbol, the rainbow flag, our movies are diverse and Hays includes the diversity of our community in his book. He gives us the voice of the filmmaker. He shows us the courage and the fortitude of the people that make these films happen and he inspires us and allows us to feel a sense of solidarity as well as perversity of which our century has established as virtues.

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