Francis Lee’s much-anticipated period romance, Ammonite, is finally available this week on streaming services. Along with many others, I’ve eagerly awaited the chance to see Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan fall in love against the backdrop of the English coast. Ammonite is both more and less than I expected, with Winslet and Ronan delivering stellar performances in a story that doesn’t quite live up to its potential.

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(This article contains minor spoilers for Ammonite.)

Lee opens the film with an extended shot of a nameless woman scrubbing a museum floor. A group of men barks at her to move as they carry a fossil across the room. …


With Luke Skywalker back in the public consciousness for, uh, no particular reason, now seems like an opportune time to revisit one of cinema’s most iconic heroes. There’s much to be said about the farm boy from Tatooine. One could argue that Luke upholds false narratives about white male exceptionalism, or conversely that he represents a softer and more compassionate view of masculinity. As far as I’m concerned, though, two things about Luke Skywalker are unquestionably true. First, he reinvented the classical hero’s journey for the space age. Second, he’s gayer than a basket of Coruscanti jogan fruit.

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I would say “Welcome to my TED Talk,” but apparently my gay Star Wars headcanons don’t meet TED’s highfalutin standards of academic rigor. Instead, I will present my humble homosexual argument by walking you through each film with a pair of gay goggles firmly in place. Please note that I’m restricting myself to the Star Wars canon as presented in the films. I won’t be delving into the bottomless Sarlacc pit of comics, novelizations, TV shows, and games because I don’t hate myself. …


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When discussing diversity in film, it can be tempting to mistake the mere presence of diversity for meaningful representation. All too often, however, films cast members of underrepresented groups with no real intention of telling their stories. For example, films that aim to criticize eurocentrism and colonialism often inadvertently perpetuate eurocentrism by placing the colonizer at the center of the narrative.

This hypocrisy appears in Icíar Bollaín’s 2010 film También la Iluvia, the story of an idealistic director and his ruthlessly practical producer attempting to make an anti-colonial film about Columbus. They shoot the film in Bolivia and cast indigenous Quechuan people as extras to save money, but growing protests against the privatization of water soon disrupt filming. The film portrays the Quechua’s exploitation at the hands of both the Bolivian government and the Spanish filmmakers. It also engages in the same exploitive patterns that it claims to condemn. …


(Note: This article contains spoilers for The Old Guard.)

As a lover of action, sci-fi, and comic books, I often feel that I have to leave my identity at the door when I go to the movies. Genre films, particularly action films, tend to operate under the increasingly false assumption that straight white men make up most of their audience. Every time one of these movies casually objectifies women or uses LGBT people as the butt of a joke, I feel the sting of alienation. …


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Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in “His Girl Friday”

When Howard Hawks adapted The Front Page into His Girl Friday in 1940, he retained most of the original film’s plot and even some of its dialogue. Both films center on a newsroom covering a politicized murder case. However, Hawks made two key changes: softening the film’s more overt political messages and changing a major character from male to female.

Most likely due to the stricter enforcement of the Hay’s Code, His Girl Friday tiptoes around the Red Scare whereas The Front Page openly satirizes it. In The Front Page, directed by Lewis Milestone in the pre-Code Hollywood of 1931, the mayor of Chicago blatantly exploits a soon-to-be-hanged suspect for votes by labelling him as a Communist. Conversely, the mayor in His Girl Friday berates one of his cronies for attempting to pull a similar move on his behalf. The Front Page exposes the Red Scare as a political tool used to manipulate the public rather than a genuine threat, which passed censors in 1931 but would almost certainly not have made it to the big screen a decade later. The Front Page even takes a covert jibe at the homophobic Pink Scare with the mayor’s objection to his nickname: “Pinky, how’s that look to the voters? …

About

Chrissy Saul

Writer, actor, bread enthusiast. She/her or they/them.

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