Gay Directors, Gay Films? Early Reviews of New Book

Gay Directors, Gay Films?

Pedro Almodóvar, Terence Davies, Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, John Waters

By Emanuel Levy


This is an impressively informative treatment of five prominent

gay directors who represent a wide range of differences

within the gay spectrum. Levy’s background in gay cinema,

independent cinema, and traditional Hollywood cinema make

him the ideal author for this significant and original study.”


Molly Haskell, film critic and author of Frankly, My Dear:

Gone with the Wind Revisited


“In a nuanced examination of five pioneering gay directors,

Emanuel Levy moves with fluid grace and astonishing erudition

through a broad range of national traditions and personal

styles, nailing what is peculiar and intriguing about each

auteur. His study will enchant anyone interested in the twists

and turns of gender, sex, and cinema over the last 50 years.”


Thomas Doherty, author of Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939


About the Book:


For most of the twentieth century, gay characters and gay themes

were both underrepresented and misrepresented in mainstream

cinema. Since the 1970s, however, a new generation of openly gay

directors has turned the closet inside out, bringing a new and poignant

immediacy to modern cinema and popular culture.


Combining his experienced critique with in-depth interviews

conducted with each director, Emanuel Levy draws a clear timeline

of gay filmmaking over the past four decades and its particular

influences and innovations. While recognizing the “queering” of

American culture that resulted from these films, Levy also takes

stock of the ensuing conservative backlash and its impact on

cinematic art, a trend that continues alongside the growing

acceptance of homosexuality.


He compares the similarities and differences between the “North

American”  attitudes of Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, and John Waters

and the “European” perspectives of Pedro Almodóvar and Terence

Davies, developing a truly comprehensive, up-to-date approach to gay

filmmaking in particular and auteur cinema in general.


August 2015 392 pages · 33 b&w photographs


$25.00/£17.50 paper · 978-0-231-15277-8

$35.00/£24.00 cloth · 978-0-231-15276-1



Emanuel Levy is a professor of film and sociology, who has

taught at Columbia University, Wellesley College, ASU, UCLA, and

New York University. He is the author of nine books, including

Vincente Minnelli: Hollywood’s Dark Dreamer; All About Oscar: The

History and Politics of the Academy Awards; Cinema of Outsiders:

The Rise of American Independent Film; George Cukor: Master

of Elegance; John Wayne: Prophet of the American Way of Life;

and Citizen Sarris: American Film Critic.


A two-time president of the L.A. Film Critics Association, Levy is the

only critic in the U.S. who votes for seven groups, ranging from the

Hollywood Foreign Press Association to the National Society of Film

Critics. He had served  as senior critic for Variety and chief film critic for

Screen International  before founding in 2003 the acclaimed website: Cinema 24/7. He has served on the grand

juries of fifty-four international film festivals, including Cannes, Venice,

Montreal, Locarno, Taormina, San Francisco, Hawaii and Sundance.