Thursday, October 24, 2019

"My Beautiful Laundrette": a semi-LGBTQ story from the 1980s and Britain, and comes to mind with "The Laundromat"



The appearance of Steven Soderbergh’s satire “The Laundromat” on Netflix (reviewed by me on Wordpress today) brings to mind an odd “gay” (or sorts) film from the mid 1980s, a British dramedy, “My Beautiful Laundrette”, by Stephen Frears, which I barely remember seeing in Dallas (maybe it was at the old Northtown Mall).  It was distributed by Orion and now the Criterion Collection. 
  
There’s a “queer” review of it from 2011, here


  

 The film concerns a young man Omar (Gordon Warnacke) of Pakastani descent, whose well-off uncle Nasser (his father, a journalist, has trouble with the bottle) hires him to run a parking garage and then a launderette (or laundromat machine bank, so familiar everywhere).  The uncle wants Omar to settle down and marry his daughter (is this a good idea biologically?)

The plot becomes complicated because Omar has a boyfriend Johnny who is also part of a “neo-fascist” Islamophobic gang, which attacks. 

  
The whole setup sounds ironic today – particularly since Britain has to deal with Tommy Robinson (whose very name Tim Pool says he cannot mention on his video channels without being banned).  Some of the concerns about terrorism and political upheaval were going on then, and they seem to get recycled all the time.

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