Sunday, April 26, 2009

Black Sheep @ TRIBECA

I am a gay man. For over a dozen years now, I have lived my life outside of the closet very proudly. And yet, when I sit to write for Black Sheep, I choose my words carefully. Well, I always choose my words carefully; I am a writer and that is the job after all. What I mean in this context is that I will often pause before making any overt statements that undeniably confirm my sexuality. It has always been my concern that if I were to come right out and state in my reviews that I'm gay, that it will somehow taint the way the reader interprets my work and my opinions. Oh, that explains why he loves BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN so much. Or, of course he named MILK as Best Picture of the year. He has to; he's gay. Not that one couldn't easily figure it out if they were to read between the lines, and not that I mind one bit if they do, but there is a significant difference between being coy and being direct.

Saturday morning, I caught the press screening of a new documentary from Kirby Dick, the man behind the wonderful film, THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED. His new documentary is called OUTRAGE and by the time I had finished watching it, I was in tears. Granted, yes, I was also quite tired but I'm sure I would have been crying regardless. Even as I made my way over to the Direct TV Tribeca press center for an interview with Dick, I could not stop the tears from welling up in my eyes on the streets of New York City. OUTRAGE is a direct effort to actually out prominent closeted men in American government. The approach has come under much criticism as outing is often considered sensationalistic and a private matter. That said, the men that are targeted in OUTRAGE use their powerful positions to pass legislature that denies many basic human rights to gay men and women but then proceed to live that very same lifestyle behind closed doors. I assure you, the arguments for are well supported and OUTRAGE is a fine piece of investigative journalism with its integrity well intact. As Dick later said in our interview, and I am paraphrasing because the interview itself is to be published at a later date, OUTRAGE is not about outing one's sexuality but rather their hypocrisy.

OUTRAGE obviously filled me with a great deal of rage in addition to my sadness and my pride. It also helped me see that my approach to writing for this site was in direct conflict with my basic approach to film criticism. It is my belief that film criticism is inherently subjective. Everything in my life lends to my interpretation and appreciation of the film. How then can I honour that philosophy without being completely honest about who I am? So, without supposing that you didn't already know, I will say once again that I am gay. And now that that's done, I can get back to the movies.

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