Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Homophobia": a major "short" about gays in the military from Austria, apparently during Cold War period; also, riveting short doc on Uganda anti-gay laws

Homophobia” (2012) is an important short (23 minutes) from Austria about gays in the military, even with the 2011 repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.”
The film, directed by Gregor Schmidinger, portrays a late teen young man in a unit prevent illegal immigrants from coming from Hungary.  The film seems to be set during the Cold War years, and may be taking place before most European countries preceded the US in lifting bans on gays in the military.

A straight soldier (Gunther Strumlechner( accosts a gay soldier (Michael Glatschnig) for “recreation”, and then apologizes when they are on guard duty together in the snow at night.  But then complications develop, with the feelings of both men, and whether they trust one another.  There is a serious confrontation.

There is a line from the cadre, that the “75% who are born that way” can affect the 25% who aren’t (the so called “waverers”), and this was an unfortunate idea in the early days in the debate on “don’t ask don’t tell”. 

The film is produced by “Irrational Realm”.

There is a 10-minute film by Theo Ferguson, "A Short Documentary on Homophobia", posted on YouTube by LGBTDocumentary, filmed in Britain.  It gives a quick history, with an emphasis on religious beliefs in "natural law" and that God insists that people behave the way he made them (which runs into logical trouble quickly. Toward the end, the film answers the "illogic" of most anti-gay "arguments".

But the sleeper documentary on this subject is the 57-minute BBC documentary, "The World's Worst Place to Be Gay", by Scott Mills, YouTube link here. The film seems to be part of a BBC series called something like "Dangerous Places" so maybe it should be on my TV blog, but I'll put it here this time to reinforce a point.   Scott, himself about 30, a radio and TV DJ and producer and raised in London, teams up with a friend from Uganda living in Plymouth, and then flies to Kampala, Uganda on his own on a most dangerous adventure. This is one of the most graphic films made directly in the "third world" that I have ever seen.  Scott lands in the middle of the hysteria from a 2009 draconian anti-gay bill that could impose the death penalty.  People in the streets tell him that homosexuality is "un-Afrcian" (an idea parallel to Putin's idea that it is un-Russian).  A couple of local tabloids called "Onion" and "Rolling Stone" actually try to goad witch-hunts of secretive homosexuals.  But this attitude seems to be recent, and to have been imported by certain evangelical pastors who were able to influence politicians.  It is shocking to see "common people" believe in "non sequitirs" because they are told to by authorities.   Curiously, Mills finds one gay bar in Kampala. Mills visits a witch doctor, where he gets beaten by a "last chicken" in a ritual, and then goes to Mbarama for a partly illegal debate on the subject on the radio.The idea of denial of procreation and threat to fertility of the population does come up int he debate (Putin seems to play this card in Russia).  Mills gets in trouble and is almost arrested, but gets out of the country with his tape, but not before bringing some goods for people thrown out of their homes and living in the barrios.   This is a riveting film and ought to be distributed in the US.  I'll see what I can do.

One quick business note: I had posted a review of "The Union: The Business of Getting High", but then I found I had reviewed it Sept, 3, 2009 and "forgotten".  I added more comments (quite a bit more extensive) to my review t\here.  Netflix has a habit of recommending films you've rented before unless you remember to rate them, in quick case the yellow stars become a "red flag".

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