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Film / Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives

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It's time they came out of the closet.

"The whole world is full of stupid myths about women."
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A Canadian documentary on the subject of lesbians and their culture in the 1940s-1960s. Nine different interviews are interspersed with a story about Laura, a young woman moving away and discovering her sexual orientation in a way reminiscent of classic lesbian pulp novels and their clichés; a common motif throughout. Co-directed by Lynne Fernie & Aerlyn Weissman and released in 1992, it can be viewed online for free at the producer's website.


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This movie contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Played with, the introduction warning audiences not to assume anyone shown is homosexual...or heterosexual.
  • Audible Gleam: The heart-shaped locket given to Laura from Meg does this, complete with cartoonish special effects.
  • Butch Lesbian: Discussed in detail, more so than femmes, due to the oft unbalanced ratio of the two.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Laura's visibly nervous as she smokes at the gay bar, though as she becomes more and more comfortable around Mitch, this isn't shown again.
  • Contemptible Cover: The primary aesthetic influence is campy old lesbian pulp novel covers.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: Used often while showing hotels and other gay bars due to limited footage.
  • Male Gaze: Intentionally inverted in the narrative sequences, which generally end with both women looking directly at the camera.
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  • Society Marches On: Especially noticeable in the CBC segment, which acknowledges the changing socio-economic status of women in the mid-century all while reassuring the audience that women will never leave their role as wives and mothers.
  • Your Favorite: Mitch orders a grasshopper for Laura, knowing it's her preferred drink before they even speak.


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