Blog Post

Girls on Film

black swan header
By Sarah Leeves
Let’s play a game… No it’s not that type of game, please put your top back on. It’s a cross between ‘Simon says’ and ‘follow the leader’; basically, as a lesbian, you have to be interested in everything that has a hint Sapphic undertones and casual stereotypes. So, for example, if Ellen buys a new linen suit, then you do too. If Tegan and Sara declare an undying love for roast squirrel, then off you pop to the woods for a barbeque. If Jodie Foster decides that her bob is too long, then you too are losing your luscious locks babe.  Wait, come back! Why won’t you play with me?
OK, maybe I took my game a little too far. Let’s play it a different way; if a film comes out that features a snippet of girl-on-girl ‘action, then you have to watch it. Because you’re a lesbian. And lesbians like girls kissing. Even if it’s for a second.
“No!” I hear you cry, “It’s not true! I only watched Black Swan for its acute cinematography and superb musical score!” Oh please, you sat through two hours of compelling drama just to see Mila’s head in Portman’s pussy. Fact. I don’t blame you though, it’s a position I wouldn’t be averse to finding myself in. But the point is it’s hard for anyone to have a believable, critical opinion of a film, once ‘the lesbians’ have invaded it, without your motives being questioned. For example, I watched The Hours the other day and fell in love with the three-tiered narrative, the characters and music. The kisses were of no consequence to my enjoyment. I then told my friend, who said “that’s the film where they all kiss isn’t it? All them women.” You see? Once the lesbians invade, there’s no going back.
OK, let’s pick a different example; a film that actually identifies itself as lesbian cinema. Let’s take The Guest House… this film got me banned from ever bringing a film to ‘DVD Night’ again. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is a brief synopsis (now, at this point it time I would usually insert ‘SPOILER ALERT’ but there is nothing to ‘spoil’ about this film; it spoiled itself); Girl A stays in the guest house belonging to the father of Girl B. Both girls fall for each other. They have awkward sex. Girl B’s father walks in and catches them. Turns out Girl A has slept with Girl B’s father. The end. Oh wait, they did go to the fair, but they didn’t win any great prizes so it doesn’t really matter.
The truth of the matter is that most lesbian films, like most mainstream films, just aren’t that good. Now, you can call me a heathen and threaten to bludgeon me with a pair of Crocs, but deep down you know it’s true. How many times have you sat through a piece of this niche and actually enjoyed yourself? Most of these films are the cinematic equivalent of a tequila hangover; a good idea the night before, but leaving you with feelings of sickness, regret and the unwelcome knowledge that you’ll do it again. Of course, there are exceptions; Hannah Free, Stud Life and Loving Annabelle are all good examples of how lesbian cinema can get is so right (granted, they aren’t all ‘happily ever after’ but you can’t have everything).
Ladies, listen; a girly kiss does not the lesbian film make. We want films that appeal to our sensibilities, not momentary gratifications. Don’t feel obliged to watch any film just because there is a ‘Sapphic second’. Make your own choices. Make your own decisions. Make your own cinema… just don’t visit The Guest House.
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About Sarah: Sarah enjoys coaching trampolining and drinking well-made mojitos… Not necessarily together. She writes columns for DIVA, reviews for her local paper and postcards for friends.