09 april, 1997 - 03 may, 1997
Of Blood, of Pleasure and of Death…or Some Films on ‘Sexual Disorientation’
The series Of Blood, of Pleasure and of Death… presents a selection of experimental films with gay and lesbian themes designed to show some of the key pieces of avant-garde and underground film, putting them into context and in relation to the mass culture that generated them. The series title, in part inspired by the film trilogy by Gregory Markopoulos (Toledo, 1928 - Freiburg, 1992) Du sang, de la volupté et de la mort (1947-1948) acts as a metaphor for a series of films that, like the work by Markopoulos, see ‘blood, pleasure and death’ as an imaginary place where the desire, pain and the annihilation of the body are confronted and its being is oppressed by social norms and sexual taboos. The second part of the title, Some Films on ‘Sexual Disorientation’, in turn, relates to the confirmation of a fact: gay and lesbian film did ‘not’ exist before the 1970s or if it existed, it was limited to only two or three works. Given that the idea of a group or concept of gay and lesbian identity based on the term sexual ‘orientation’ did not exist (it emerged in the 1970s), this body of films cannot easily be described using those terms. This does not mean to say that there were no sexually ambiguous films suggesting ‘strange’ desires or ‘disoriented’ artists and filmmakers. Hundreds of films featured homosexual characters, but very few were made by homosexuals and even fewer had a gay or lesbian content.