Chumlum (Rice, 1964)

Recovering the Significance of Postwar Queer Underground Cinema: The Gender Question / Questioning Gender

Friday, February 3, 2006 - 7:00pm

Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising (1963), Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures (1963), and Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls (1966) are widely regarded as some of the most influential films of postwar underground cinema. But cinema studies has only recently begun to take seriously the fact that Warhol, Smith, and Anger were gay filmmakers whose films developed a distinctly queer aesthetic. Moreover, the field has still barely registered the fact that they were not just brilliant auteurs but were enmeshed in and influenced by a larger circle of mostly New York-based queer filmmakers, performers, writers, and artists. These screenings and the accompanying symposium seek to map the contours of this wider cultural formation, which we call postwar queer underground cinema.

This cinema largely developed in the 1950s and 60s in the ferment of New York's East Village, the scene of complex interactions, collaborations, and conflicts between mostly gay or bisexual filmmakers and between white and Puerto Rican bohemian, queer, and street cultures.

Behind Every Good Man (Nikolai Ursin, 1965, 8 minutes)
Chumlum (Ron Rice, 1964, 26 minutes)
Dirt (Piero Heliczer, 1965, 12 minutes)
Avocada (Bill Vehr, 1966, 37 minutes)
Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts (Edward Owens, 9 minutes)
Tomorrow's Promise (Edward Owens, 1967, 45 minutes)

Co-sponsored by University of Chicago Lesbian and Gay Studies Project in cooperation with the Committee on Cinema and Media Studies and Experimental Film Club.