10/10
brilliant
29 November 2011
"Parting Glances" is the first gay-themed film I'd ever seen that did not present homosexuality as something to be ashamed of and apologized for - and it didn't have the characters pathetically pleading for tolerance. It did not present the lives of gay men as something exotic, strange or as the subject of some clinical study. It simply presents the characters on the screen as people, dealing with their lives, careers and relationships as best they could in the early, dark days of the AIDS pandemic. I suppose it would hard for me to describe to a younger viewer how much of a revelation this was to us in 1986.

While it certainly lacks the rough, edgy quality of The New Queer Cinema works that followed a few short years later, it is their clear cultural and cinematic antecedent.

Screening this film for the first time in over a decade last week, it hardly seems dated, where some of the movies that followed seem locked in a specific time and place.

As much as things have changed in the 25 years since I'd dragged so many friends to the theater (about a dozen times) to see "Parting Glances," so much has stayed the same... except that I am still alive and so many of those friends have since perished.

While I might be accused of seeing the film through a nostalgic haze, I am certain in my opinion that, in terms of gay cinema, "Parting Glances" represents a turning point as important as Welles' "Citizen Kane" or Godard's "Breathless." The difference, though, is that "Parting Glances" didn't just change gay cinema, it helped change how we see ourselves.
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