Gay Sex in the '70s

Movies

Time Out says


RED-SHOES DIARY Lovett's doc captures happy days on Fire Island.

During the first minutes of this heartfelt documentary about the post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS era of gay sexuality in New York City and Fire Island, artist Barton Benes sifts through jagged pottery shards decorated with photographs of his dead friends. Although they look like jigsaw-puzzle pieces, they don't fit together to form a bigger picture, which is an appropriate metaphor for the film itself: It contains many interesting elements, but ultimately fails to capture the period's glorious, free-love bacchanalia.

Lovett interviews a number of articulate men (and one woman), mostly artists and activists who loved and lived through the titular decade. Their stories are both sexy and scary. Benes recalls having anonymous unions on piers, in trucks and at bathhouses. Rodger McFarlane, one of the original volunteers at GMHC, had lunchtime trysts with men he met on his way to work. Even director Joseph Lovett weighs in with his own experiences, including seeing the body of a gay man floating in the Hudson River. But the subjects are careful to put the obsessive sexual frenzy in context by explaining how closeted the community had previously been.
Disco music, vintage photographs and some wonderfully campy clips from Hand in Hand Films, a gay porno production company, go a long way toward capturing the time. But as McFarlane says about those adult movies, "Life was a pornographic film! They couldn't compete." The same could be said of this doc. You just had to be there.—Raven Snook

Posted:

Details

Release details

Cast and crew

Users say