theSpaces @ Surgeon’s Hall V53
August 12th to 17th 20.15
⭐⭐⭐ (3 stars)
This show is an hour in Geoffrey Brown’s company as he talks about the very many films that have been made covering the young gay male experience. There are a vast number of these, of course, and they vary very greatly in the approach taken to homosexual behaviour.
Geoffrey divides his catalogue into fourteen sections, and that hardly seems exhaustive. His opening section, The Hot House, includes some very negative approaches such as in Young Torless, involving the torturing of guys believed to be gay in an academy. And then the famous If….. But there is not a great deal of the oppressive – we soon bounce into The History Boys and then Love, Simon. Much more positive images.
For some of us, this survey can reignite feelings of youthful passion when we first saw these films, and with other films a sense of relief that things do seem to be much better for almost all of us here now. For younger viewers, it may well prove a useful reminder that things were not always as easy as they are for many now.
We are not spared reflection on continuing issues, such as the recent films about conversion therapy, covered here by Boy, Erased.
One of the striking things about dipping into these many films is to reflect on the skill, imagination and cash that has been put into exploring this topic, as with the brilliant film Bad Education, where we have artistic beauty, irony and – well, pretty bad behaviour, all thrown in.
Geoffrey Brown is a very entertaining and genial host, and this show is a reminder of many past pleasures, and an invitation to explore more pleasures in a dark room before a large, vivid screen that will populate your dreams.