"In a hundred years of movies, homosexuality has only rarely been depicted on the screen... When it did appear, it was there as something to laugh at or something to pity or even something to fear. These were fleeting images, but they were unforgettable, and they left a lasting legacy. Hollywood, that great maker of myths, taught straight people what to think about gay people...and gay people what to think about themselves." The Celluloid Closet (1995)
Encounters, a new DVD collection from the BFI released in March, brings together four rarely seen classic shorts from Lloyd Reckord, Andy Milligan, Bill Douglas and Peter de Rome, which makes it is essential viewing for anyone interested in the history of gay cinema.
The four films included are as follows:
Dream A40 – dir: Lloyd Reckord (UK, 1965, 16 mins)
Two years before the Sexual Offences Act decriminalised homosexuality, a young gay couple's relationship is put to the test as they make a journey during which they must refrain from public demonstrations of affection. Daring and poetic, Dream A40 was the second film by Jamaican actor-director Lloyd Reckord.
Vapors dir: – Andy Milligan (US, 1965, 31 mins)
Independent American director Andy Milligan's first film offers a fascinating glimpse into the pre-Stonewall gay scene. Set in New York's St Mark's bathhouse, this bold and sensitive film chronicles an emotionally charged encounter between two equally inexperienced strangers.
Come Dancing – dir: Bill Douglas (UK, 1970, 13 mins)
Celebrated filmmaker Bill Douglas's early student short follows two men who meet in a café on a Southend pier. Glances, body language and very brief snatches of lewd dialogue suggest a pick-up, but the atmosphere soon darkens and events take an unexpected twist.
Encounter – dir: Peter de Rome (US, 1971, 13 mins)
A number of young men wander through the streets of New York in a dream-like trance before finally coming together in a secret tactile ritual. Directed by legendary filmmaker Peter de Rome, this wordless erotic fantasy is presented here with a new score by Stephen Thrower (Cyclobe).
Encounters will be released on UK DVD on 26th March 2012 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.
The special features are:
- Lloyd Reckord in conversation at BFI Southbank (2011, 7 mins);
- 24-page illustrated booklet with essays and credits for each film.