Marlon James Praises a Gay Cinema Classic

“Film was a sort of rarified, special thing you might luck into,” says Marlon James, recalling his first encounters with the art form as a child in Jamaica. Growing up in Kingston in the 1970s, he got his cinema education stumbling onto the art-house staples that played on the country’s one television station and watching movies projected in people’s homes. Now an internationally acclaimed novelist—his book A Brief History of Seven Killings won the Man Booker Prize in 2015—he continues to turn to the movies as a source of creative inspiration. Our latest episode of Adventures in Moviegoing, now playing on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, features the author as a guest curator, selecting a series of favorite films and talking about some of the experiences that turned him into a cinephile. In the above excerpt, James focuses on Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together, an aching portrait of love on the rocks, which he considers the “only effective depiction of a gay relationship” on-screen—and one of the few not made for a “straight gaze.” Head to the Channel to watch the episode in full alongside James’s series, which includes Alfonso Cuarón’s Y tu mamá también, Dusan Makavejev’s Sweet Movie, and Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line.

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