since the documentary Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema explored the emergence of boy meets boy and girl meets girl cinema from the beginning of the gay rights movement in the 1960s to the "New Queer Cinema" of the 90s, and the explosion of gay images in the mainstream media. OutUK's Ron Dicker has been talking to the co-producer of Fabulous! Lesli Klainberg about her groundbreaking documentary.
Even though the documentary Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema focused on American independent film, British director Derek Jarman was too pivotal to exclude. A portion of Lesli Klainberg and Lisa Ades' documentary is devoted to Jarman's premiering of Edward II at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992, a watermark in the modern wave of gay movies.

"He was the sort of Godfather of all that," Klainberg says. "He is a huge, huge figure in all of gay cinema." Jarman spoke at a film festival two years before he was to die of AIDS at age 52, bringing the homoerotic subtext of Marlowe's classic into full view with a modern interpretation.


Director Lesli Klainberg.
Critic Ruby Rich, one of several talking heads interspersed with clips, described a heightened feeling of hope for gay artists at the time.

"I would be embarrassed to show the film in England and say it's the story of all queer cinema," Klainberg cautions. "Tilda Swinton would kick my butt."

Swinton, of course, was Jarman's muse and actress in such films as Caravaggio and The Last of England. UK films buffs can see Fabulous! for themselves on DVD, as it is available now from Amazon.

Fabulous! certainly does arouse glimmers of recognition for a host of American film faves such as John Waters (Hairspray), Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) and Don Roos (Happy Endings), and for milestone movies such as Boys Don't Cry and the multi award-winning and much critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.
The makers of Fabulous delayed wrapping the film to squeeze in an interview with the Academy Award-winning -- and straight -- Ang Lee. Brokeback qualifies as independent cinema by only the loosest of definitions, but its story of gay cowboys so seized the zeitgeist that Klainberg had to include it.

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