Gay Screen

LONDON: Several months ago a few people got together and decided to form a gay film unit. And this week, on a G-string budget, the unit showed it meant business.

A little professional help is turning the amateur enthusiasm into a dream realised.

But before the movie-buffs rush off to the Biograph to see a blue movie, a word or two of warning: this is just the first of a series of commercials for gay liberation politics, the initial project being called Party Piece.

Needless to say, there’s a nude scene, played by Leonard Whiting, a fantasy leather sequence and so on. The message the movie gets across is quite explicit, so, of course, there won’t be a generous screening of it when it’s finished (the unit hopes it won’t take more than about a month in postproduction) and it may turn up at the Electric Cinema Club, or the Kings Cross Cinema, the unit hopes. But so far no definite arrangements have been negotiated for its screening.

The movie has the obvious weaknesses you expect if one uses an entirely amateur cast, but producer Ray Fowler and director Bruce Wisehart have very definite ideas of where they think the gay visual art scene should be headed.

The two-minute colour movie took nine hours to shoot in a borrowed Hampstead flat and although enthusiasm began to wane under the hot lights and the intense concentration required, I think Bruce and Roy have a small winner in the can.

The film unit intends to go ahead making more gay movies, but future plans are not yet definite.

Sssch-Press Silence

LONDON: A sex-education movie that may be bought by the Inner London Education Authority may not be advertised in the Evening Standard, because Cobra Films who made the movie want to quote the criticism of Cobra-1 that appeared in Gay News.

Cobra-1, also called etcetcetc, approaches the subject of sex from a standpoint that values relationships higher than “the perfect position” for a couple.

When Cobra Films booked the space in the Standard the advertisement department could see no objection to running the ad.

But when Geoff Richards, formerly of the Electric Cinema Club in Portobello Road, which gave Cobra-1 its premiere, took the copy for the ad along to the Standard, he was told by the assistant advertisement manager that the Gay News criticism was “near-pornography”. The man at the Standard suggested that Cobra should find a “respectable film critic to quote — like Alexander Walker” if it wanted to run the advertisement.

But Cobra Films, who maintain that the Gay News criticism (in GN10) was the only crit that approached the movie on its own terms refused to change the wording and would not cut off the by-line tag: “Peter Holmes, Gay News.”

The result is that no advertisement for Cobra Films’ first movie appeared in the Standard. The shareholders of Beaverbrook Newspapers are the losers.

Below The Belt

I’ve spent a few years as a provincial paper movie critic and, as such, I’ve had sex education flix up to here (he indicated his rat-low brow.)

In fact I’ve seen so many sex education movies that the Pearl and Dean breaks became cinematic delights before I moved from country pleasures to the lemming-race of the Northern Line.

All this by way of introduction to what was for me an amazing little movie that opens at the Electric Cinema Club, Portobello Road, this weekend (November 5) for a week.

It’s amazing because it’s not crammed with:

a) as much nudity as possible using sex-ed as the excuse for a pale blue movie

b) well-meaning Scandinavians discussing orgasms over their coffee and cakes with schlagsahne, evidently psychiatrists of some sort.

Cobra-One – called that because it’s Cobra Films’ first effort – is a realistic piece of sex-education that, as one would expect, concentrates on a heterosexual couple. But it does not put down gays, just as it doesn’t suggest that such a position may be just right for a certain couple. But then it doesn’t advise gay sex.

Cobra-One, otherwise known as etcetcetc, does not set out to teach sex but relationships. As such it’s a success, except the home-movie-ishness about it made me feel that the entire cast and crew were stoned on something all the time.

Viewed as a stoned movie it’s great. But as sex education it’s no great shakes.