Jan 29, 2015

PRIDE DVD Straightwashed for US market

Two postings ago, I offered my brief review and recommendation of Pride, as the best gay film of the year. In fact, it won the British Independent Film award a month ago for best overall British film of the year.

I wasn't aware at the time of posting that the DVD cover of the film for US markets had removed all references to 'gay' and 'gay activists' from both the cover and the write up blurb. Yet again another sign of just how backward parts of US culture remain. There were, of course, a number of attempted rationalizations - to the effect that if the gay references were left in, the film would be back shelved and out of reach. By cleansing the product, it makes it more accessible, ete etc. Here's the director trying to put a positive spin on it (He was clearly taken by surprise)

"Pride" is a film which plays incredibly well to a global mainstream audience of any political or sexual persuasion. It’s a film about two groups of people forming an unlikely alliance and fighting each others’ corners rather than just their own. It is probably one of the most political films ever to hit the mainstream and it is certainly one of the most loved films of the year (even by people who hate politics). I don’t consider it a "gay film" or a "straight film." I’m not interested in those labels. It is an honest film about compassion, tolerance, and courage.
Marketing "Pride" has proved an interesting challenge from day one, and there are many people in the mainstream who have yet to see the film. My guess is some of those people are imagining that the film is maybe "too political" for them, and some others are imagining it could possibly be "too gay." As it happens, these concerns completely evaporate in the presence of the movie itself, but they are important when attempting to manage potential audience perceptions through marketing. Since the day I first read the script I have felt passionately that this film, of all films, deserves to find a fully diverse audience from all walks of life. Indeed its very meaning and message is diminished the more "niche" it becomes. I look forward to living in a world where these kinds of marketing negotiations are neither valid nor necessary -- but we're not there yet. In a sense, that's why I made the film.
For these reasons I don’t automatically condemn any attempt to prevent the movie being misunderstood as an exclusively “gay film." I certainly don’t regard such attempts as homophobic.

Quite a difference, I must say, and a shameful one.