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Archive for October 27th, 2008

 

by Sam Juliano

Terrence McNally’s plays Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion! enjoyed long and successful tenures on Broadway, while a few others have thrived for modest runs.  Nothing of the famed playwright, however, has attracted the kind of controversy that his Corpus Christi did when it first appeared in 1998, on the day before the gay teenager Matthew Shepherd was killed in Laramie, Wyoming.  Angry Bible-toting protesters picketed the Manhattan Theatre Club, where the original production debuted, and issued death threats to producers for the work’s centerpiece depiction of Jesus and his disciples as gay men.  The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued written protests and others called for the demise of the author and the extermination of the production’s staff.  For that 1998 run, there were purportedly metal detectors at the entrances, and a long line of gay-bashes holding signs that brandished warnings like “Terrence McNally Sodomizes Jesus–And Your Mother Is Next.”   The tumultuous reception overshadowed the artistic worth of the piece, and there were immediate parallels drawn with the untimely death of the teen, a similitude that invariably linked the two, (the play and the killing) to the present open acknowledgement by the producers, who regularly donate some of the proceeds to the Matthew Shepherd Fund, an organization that promotes gay rights.     

Basically, the medial concern of Corpus Christie (which is named after McNally’s hometown of Corpus Christie, Texas) is that all people are the children of God, and as opposed to drudges who are mortified by the punishment of a vengeful deity, these Christians adhere to the belief that all human beings are blessed.  While McNally is a devout Catholic, he consistently opposed the church’s repudiation of homosexuality, and sought to accentuate orientational equality by portraying Jesus as a “gay Everyman.”       (more…)

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the next in the series, no 16

by Allan Fish

(France 1934 89m) DVD1/2

Aka. Le Chaland qui Passe

We’re on the canals to sail all day!

p  J.L.Nounez-Gaumont  d  Jean Vigo  w  Jean Guinée, Jean Vigo, Albert Riera  ph  Boris Kaufman, Louis Berger  ed  Louis Chavence  m  Maurice Jaubert  art  Francis Jourdain

Jean Dasté (Jean), Dita Parlo (Juliette), Michel Simon (Père Jules), Giles Margarites (Peddler), Louis Lefébvre (Cabin boy), Fanny Clair (Juliette’s mother), Raphael Diligent (Juliette’s father), Jacques Prévert, Pierre Prévert,

There can be fewer better loved films in the history of French cinema than Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante.  For many years, even decades, it was the sole seen example of his work, the single flickering flame that burnt to his cinematic memory.  Now that his earlier shorter works are available, it makes L’Atalante not seem quite such a privilege…at least in that sense.  Anyone, however, who does not feel privileged to have seen it, is without a cinematic soul.

Such as it is, the story follows the fortunes of a young couple as they prepare to get married, finally do so, and retire to the groom’s barge – where he is the captain – for an alternative honeymoon period.  Bliss soon gives way to exasperation and frustration, sexually and otherwise, with the lack of privacy.  When on shore leave, our young wife is charmed by a peddler with the gift of the gab who dazzles her with tales of the bright lights of Paris.  Soon sick of her life, she jumps ship to seek something more than water everywhere.  Her devastated husband contemplates suicide, even trying to drown himself, before his friend realises enough is enough and goes off to find the stray wife.  (more…)

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