Filled with poignancy, humor and inspiring bravery, these ten acclaimed movies have paved the way for film making that honors diversity and acceptance. Featuring some of the world’s most talented and popular stars including Daniel Day-Lewis, Robin Williams, Shirley Maclaine, Audrey Hepburn, Jennifer Aniston, Hilary Swank, Paul Rudd, Clive Owen and more.
The Cinema Pride Collection is the first gay-themed DVD collection to be released by MGM and 20th Century Fox to commemorate the first Gay Pride March which happened 40 years ago this year. The DVD collection is available June 8, and includes 10 films that span 40 years. With a brightly colored case showcasing the films, one would think this will only celebrate the triumphs of the LGBT community. However, this collection really shows more of the intense struggle that gays and lesbians have dealt with.
Gays in cinema started as a joke. They were never allowed to touch one another, even a beard stroke in 1936’s My Man Godfrey was a brave move, they were also depicted as self-hating, evil people that chose to exclude themselves from society because they didn’t want to conform. Now-a-days, it’s very common to see gay characters leading a film and winning Oscars.
The first film in the bunch is the 108 minute The Children’s Hour from 1962 which stars Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine. In this drama based on Lillian Hellman’s powerful play, Maclaine and Hepburn give compelling performances as headmistresses, of an all-girls’ school, accused by a troublesome student of having an “unnatural” relationship. This is the one film which is questionable as a “gay” film. Maclaine’s character is the only one feeling “unnatural” and she says such things as, “I’ve ruined everything” with self hating and wishing for a cure. Although, watching this only helps the appreciation of how far we have come. From not being able to show any kind of affection to basically making love on screen, equality is a lot closer now than ever.
The other films in the box set are as follows: La Cage Aux Folles 1979; My Beautiful Laundrette 1985; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 1994; The Birdcage 1996; Bent 1997; The Object of My Affection 1998; Boys Don’t Cry 1999; Kissing Jessica Stein 2001; and Imagine Me & You 2006.
As far as special features go on the set, there is nothing special or newly added. If you own these on DVD already, there is no particular reason to purchase the box set. The worst transfer to DVD is La Cage Aux Folles, even though I love the film, the film looks like it’s still on VHS and the sound is echoey. However, The Children’s Hour looks great and sounds great. The most common special feature on each DVD is just trailers, some have a featurette, but they are short and not worth buying the set for. There was, however, director Kimberly Pierce of Boys Don’t Cry adding commentary to her film.
This is a great addition to any collection and a good way to see some smaller, forgotten films. I really fell in love with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I had no idea Guy Pearce could be so fabulous. I’ve always been a fan of The Birdcage, but now having La Cage, it’s hard to decide which of the two is my favorite. The box set is available on Amazon now. For more about each film, see below.
La Cage Aux Folles:
When Renato Baldi (Ugo Tognazzi) learns that his son is marrying the daughter of the “Minister of Moral Standards,” his drag-review-hosting nightclub gets a major makeover – as does his life partner (Michael Serrault) – in this delightful romp based on the beloved play. Rated R 98 minutes.
My Beautiful Laundrette:
Contending with the racial, cultural and socio-economic tensions of London, a young Pakistani (Gordon Warnecke) and his lover (Daniel Day-Lewis) set out to turn a ramshackle laundromat into a successful business. Rated R 98 minutes.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert:
When two drag queens and a transsexual board a pastel-colored bus to head for a cabaret show in the Australian outback, their road trip is brightly colorful in this high-heeled comedy starring Terrence Stamp, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving as you’ve never seen them!
A gay cabaret owner (Robin Williams) and his partner (Nathan Lane) attempt to convince a conservative politician (Gene Hackman) that they are man and wife in this hilarious film inspired by the acclaimed play, “La Cage Aux Folles.” Rated R 119 minutes.
In this palpable, action-packed drama with an all-star cast, a gay man (Clive Owen) is placed in a concentration camp where he lies about his sexuality, until a forbidden relationship with another prisoner teaches him that life without love is not worth living. Rated NC-17 104 minutes.
The Object of My Affection:
When she becomes pregnant, a young woman (Jennifer Aniston) asks her best friend, a gay man (Paul Rudd), to help her raise the child, much to the disappointment of the child’s father (John Pankow) in this touching comedy. Rated R 111 minutes.
Boys Don’t Cry:
Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny give powerful performances (with Swank earning a Best Actress Oscar) in this heart-wrenching film based on the story of Brandon Teena, a female whose life takes a tragic turn when she begins to live as a male. Rated R 116 minutes.
Kissing Jessica Stein:
In this clever, offbeat comedy, a perfectionist (Jennifer Westfeldt) who finds flaws in every man she dates has mixed feelings and hilarious reactions after she answers a personals ad placed by a woman (Heather Juergensen). Rated R 97 minutes.
Imagine Me & You:
When a woman (Piper Perabo) finds herself attracted to the florist (Lena Headey) at her own wedding, she goes ahead with her marriage, hoping to come to terms with the attraction – one way or another – in this engaging comedy. Rated R 93 minutes.
I give Cinema Pride Collection a BUY IT.
by Angela Davis