Friday, 31 March 2017

Gay April at Odie Cinema

April is a special month for the Odie Cinema, as it was on April 15, 2016 that our silent movie nights first started.

That first screening was part of an exhibition I organised on my island in Second Norway - Love in Sepia - showing early photographs depicting male-male intimacy. To go with the theme, the first movie was Different from the Others (Anders als die Andern), a 1919 German silent on the subject of homosexuality. It was only after that movie that I came to the idea of organizing regular silent movie nights in Second Life.

The venue of the first silent movie night

At the very beginning, the movie nights were a once-a-month event on the island, first in the park, during summer months on a boat, later in a proper cinema building.

Inside an earlier building used for the cinema

Eventually they evolved into weekly gatherings at a separate mainland location in Odie, Nautilus, taking place on Fridays, 13:00 SLT (exceptionally at 14:00).

Additionally, there is now a Facebook group dedicated to Odie Cinema, and a Google Plus collection, both featuring news and updates, as well as background information on the scheduled movies.

Snapshot of our group page on FB

I must say a big thank you to everyone who has been a part of our community. My Friday evenings wouldn't be the same without you! Special thanks goes to those who have been helping me in various ways, from technical support to donations (often both): Duncan, Monique, Ciska, Florian, Zoe, Terance.

In honour of the Odie Cinema beginnings, this April will be dedicated to homosexuality in silent cinema. There is a surprising number of silent movies which had either a homoerotic plot or subplot, and this month's selection is aimed at showing some of the most important ones.

7th April 2017
Michael (Mikael, 1924)
Made by the celebrated Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer, this German movie made history. Based on the novel by Herman Bang (who himself was gay), it tells the story of an unusual love triangle. The film has been praised for visual beauty and psychological insight. Starring Benjamin Christensen (known to Odie Cinema regulars as the director of Swedish movie "Witches"), Walter Slezak, Nora Gregor.

14th April 2017
Le menage moderne du Madame Butterfly (c. 1920)
We're going to celebrate our first anniversary with a bang! This adult movie is the first known movie to include explicit scenes of gay / bi sex. It is only about 6 minutes long, and the intertitles are in French, but I'm sure people will have no trouble following the plot...

It was directed by Bernard Natan, a Romanian-born French director and actor, and the owner of Pathe - the world famous movie company. He was also one of the most important names in the early history of adult cinema, as well as the history of television: in 1929, he was the founder of France's first TV station, Television-Baird-Natan, and a contributor to important TV experiments done earlier that year in Germany.

21st April 2017
Sex in Chains (Geschlecht in Fesseln, 1928)
This German silent movie was directed by Wilhelm Dieterle. The movie is about a group of cellmates, their (sexual) frustrations in the absence of women, and how the prison changed them. The film apparently aimed at a prison reform in Weimar Germany, rather than anything to do with homosexuality, but it is nowadays considered an important early gay-themed film. Starring Wilhelm Dieterle, Gunnar Tolnaes, Paul Henckels.

28th April 2017
Lot in Sodom (1933)
This is an experimental, avant-garde movie directed by James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber. It is not entirely silent, but I thought it would be a shame to miss it this month. It is based on a well-known Biblical narrative, and in fact the intertitles are all quotes from the Bible. Of course, homosexuality hasn't always been led into connection with the sin of Sodom, but that is the case here. Starring Friedrich Haak, Hildegarde Watson, Lewis Whitbeck, Dorothea Haus.

P. S.
Finally, as a reminder, here's a list of all the films we've had the chance to see until now (you can search most of the titles on the blog for more information). They are all available on YouTube, if you want to do some catching up...

April 2016
* Different from the Others

May 2016
* Sunrise - A Song of Two Humans

June 2016
* The General
* The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

July 2016
* The Abyss

August 2016
summer break

September 2016 (theme: German expressionist films)
* From Morn Till Midnight
* The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
* Destiny
* The Last Laugh

October 2016 (theme: silent horrors)
* The Cat and the Canary
* Witches
* Nosferatu
* The Haunted Castle
* The Haunted House

November 2016 (theme: Vamps)
* A Fool There Was
* Salome
* Cobra
* The Circle

December 2016 (theme: Christmas)
* Three's a Crowd
* A Little Girl Who Did Not Believe in Santa
* A Trap for Santa Claus
* The Night Before Christmas
* A Christmas Carol
* The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus
* Big Business

January 2017 (theme: American South in silent cinema)
* Our Hospitality
* Sparrows
* The Birth of a Nation

February 2017 (theme: silent westerns directed by William S. Hart)
* The Return of Draw Egan
* Hell's Hinges
* Wagon Tracks
* Tumbleweeds

March 2017 (theme: Japanese silent movies directed by Yasujiro Ozu)
* Days of Youth
* I Was Born, But...
* Woman of Tokyo
* Dragnet Girl

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