cover image Queer Imaginings: On Writing and Cinematic Friendship

Queer Imaginings: On Writing and Cinematic Friendship

David A. Gerstner. Wayne State Univ, $42.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-8143-5021-8

“Cinema is the queer work of art,” contends Gerstner (Christophe Honoré), a professor of cinema studies at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, in this eclectic if sometimes abstruse collection of previously published academic articles, movie reviews, and blog posts, as well as several new essays. The more accessible offerings analyze how literature gives rise to desire in director Christophe Honoré’s Sorry Angel (2018) and how Peter Greenaway’s use of montage in Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2015) challenges the “homophobia that has for so long circulated around [Sergei] Eisenstein,” the Russian director who some claim was gay. In “Queer Angels...” Gerstner suggests that filmmaker Kenneth Anger’s 1959 book Hollywood Babylon, a compilation of tabloid fodder about major players in the film world, represented a queer approach to history because its factually dubious gossip complicated mainstream accounts from which queer people had been excluded. However, these thought-provoking selections are accompanied by sometimes impenetrable, theory-heavy entries that are shrouded in academic jargon and awkward in style (“It is necessary to reengage the limits of Irigaray’s concept of sexual difference in order to, first, identify the homosexual’s relation to the (m)other”). There’s a stimulating exploration of queerness on the silver screen on offer here, but readers will have to wade through some opaque prose to find it. (Mar.)