Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dirk Bogarde's Girl-Girl Squeamishness

Unhappy with the roles he was being offered, Bogarde considered joining The Village People

A collection of Dirk Bogarde's personal letters is set to be published in England later this month and, if anyone's interested, The Telegraph offered their first batch of excerpts this morning. I gave them a skim to see whether Anthony Forwood, Bogarde's partner of several decades, was mentioned (he is, repeatedly), and found myself amused by this recollection of the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, where Bogarde served as president of the jury, that was sent to Kathleen Tynan:
24 in 12 days, starting at 8.15am! I got rather to like it all... but some pretty crummy movies flashed over the screen I assure you! And if I have to look at another pubic-hair or another shot of a cow being slaughtered, a horse being drowned, a fat man having his orgasm, I'll choke. All that, I may add, jammed with Lesbian-Love scenes of extreme explicity, at eight of a morning is really not adorable.
Bogarde's description of art-house movie hell is just about perfect, but we're not on the same page when it comes to lesbian love scenes. While I agree that 8 AM is a bit early for such viewing (I'm not at my most lecherous until later in the evening), I'd say the same of sex scenes featuring two men, a man and a woman, or threesomes of any variety. That he jokingly singles out lesbian love scenes as being enough to put him off his breakfast is a little obnoxious, but more than that I resent that he wasn't specific. How many films with such scenes of "extreme explicity" were being made in the early '80s -- and screened at Cannes, no less? The only film from that era that I could think of that might have played at the festival was Diane Kurys's Coup de foudre (released as Entre Nous in the U.S.), which is famous for its lack of lesbian love scenes. Obviously I'm overlooking something, but what could it possibly be?

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