Music, Film and Post-Stonewall Gay Identity

Gregory Woods and Tim Franks

in Film's Musical Moments

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623440
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651115 | DOI:
Music, Film and Post-Stonewall Gay Identity

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In the days when ‘musical’ was a code word for male homosexuality, a man's relationship with music could be as revealing and compromising as the biomechanics of his sexual acts. In dealing with questions of cultural identity, this chapter considers why the AIDS epidemic has apparently spawned films that have an affinity with the musical. It examines the relationship between the notion of a specifically gay ‘lifestyle’ and a particular set of musical tastes and cultural preferences (grand opera, Broadway/Hollywood musicals, disco). It also looks at camp culture as both a subcultural aesthetic and as a lexicon of signs with which post-classical films such as Jeffrey (1995), Beautiful Thing (1995) and In and Out (1997) have represented gay lifestyles. In such films, the chapter argues that disco also stands in for the unfilmable – gay sex.

Keywords: Jeffrey; Beautiful Thing; In and Out; cultural identity; gay sex; AIDS; camp culture; homosexuality; films; musicals

Chapter.  5473 words. 

Subjects: Film

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