The Monogamous/Promiscuous Optics in Contemporary Gay Film: Registering the Amorous Couple in Weekend (2011) and Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo (2016)



Needham, GW ORCID: 0000-0003-0031-6702 and Cakirlar, Cuneyt
(2020) The Monogamous/Promiscuous Optics in Contemporary Gay Film: Registering the Amorous Couple in Weekend (2011) and Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo (2016). The New Review of Film and Television Studies, 18 (4). 402 - 430.

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Abstract

This article explores representations of same-sex intimacy in contemporary gay cinema by focusing on two films, namely Weekend (2011), and Theo & Hugo (2016). Both films spatialize intimacy, which is reflected in a formal appeal to monogamous and promiscuous optics. What interests us here is how the relational politics of monogamy/promiscuity can be considered as stylistic and ideological registers in gay filmmaking. Informed by Bersani’s work, we investigate how gay cinema tests the social viability/intelligibility of same-sex intimacy against a centring of the self. Furthermore, we explore how gay films use form and style to situate both their politics and their spectators through spectacles of erotic relationality. Following Bersani, the article proposes a theory of a cinematic optics that privilege the impersonal over the personal, and the ontological over the psychological. The film Weekend ‘ovalises’ intimacy and locates the couple formally and ideologically. The couple in Weekend’s space of sociality operates within a monogamous optic that presents intimacy through stabilising identities and psychologising subject positions. Theo and Hugo, however, reorients spectatorship as impersonal and promiscuous in finding a way to express the experience of cruising and sociability in ways that are dispersed and extensible.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leo Bersani, film theory, intimacy, sex, gay cinema
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 09:06
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2022 13:13
DOI: 10.1080/17400309.2020.1800329
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3057356