Repertory Picks

Basil Dearden at the Film Society of Lincoln Center

Tomorrow, the Film Society of Lincoln Center begins its fascinating series An Early Clue to the New Direction: Queer Cinema Before Stonewall, organized by programmer at large Thomas Beard. The survey, which aims to explore the origins of queer cinema and expand the knowledge of its production prior to the revolutionizing Stonewall riots of 1969, features an exhaustive program of films that range from Hollywood auteurist pictures to experimental masterpieces. You can catch Ingmar Bergman’s Persona on Saturday, and on the schedule for next Thursday is a screening of Basil Dearden’s extraordinary 1961 feature Victim. Starring Dirk Bogarde, the film centers on a married barrister in London who, along with a group of other closeted men, is being threatened by a blackmailer. The masterfully crafted suspense drama was made in response to Britain’s Wolfenden Report of 1957, which proposed decriminalizing homosexual acts. Victim, one of the first films to explore homosexuality without sensationalizing it as a cultural taboo, is an influential, crucial work of social drama. See it next Thursday on 35 mm, and in the meantime, read our liner notes for the film, published in the booklet accompanying our Basil Dearden Eclipse set.

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