Written by Adora y Teddy Behr Thursday, 04 February 2010 00:00
Adora: So Teddy, now that the holidays are over and it’s a new year, what are your new projects?
Teddy: Well I just saw the 1950 movie by the gay French film maker and writer, Jean Genet and I wound up re-discovering what great work he did on gay desire and the way it is really so subversive for mainstream society. It gave me a whole renewed way of looking at my sexuality in a social system that denies me my rights and tells me I ‘m going to Hell because of some lifestyle I’ve supposedly ‘chosen’ to live.
A: Oh I love his movie “Un Chant d’Amour”, “A Song of Love,” It’s so tender and passionate. Everything is expressed with movement and furtive glances, no words, it seems subtly and elegantly choreographed.
T: Yeah, it really makes the explicit porno we’re used to nowadays look mechanical and dull. I guess because it really expresses homo-erotic desire as a kind of emotional/mental state that overwhelms us in a more poetic way. Maybe it’s because it’s not just about homo-erotic desire but the nature of male desire in general.
A: Well in the movie, the prison guard, who’s supposed to be more or less straight does get all wrapped up in the love expressed between the two prisoners. When one tries to give the other a bouquet of flowers with a string to his cell window and then blows cigarette smoke through a little hole in the wall to his love on the other side, who inhales it…I mean it’s very romantic and sexual and the guard gets all caught up in watching it. But I ‘m guessing a woman would get caught up in watching it too. So I think it’s just a brilliant talent Genet had for depicting love and desire in film.
T: Yeah, I guess maybe it’s just the rough prison environment and these unshaven prisoners in their dirty clothes that gives it such a male identity. Genet spent time in an orphanage, in prison and in the French Foreign Legion. So he was in those all-male environments that can inevitably become pretty homo-erotic. But the big thing for me was to be reminded that my sexuality is still ‘outsider’ and that there are still a lot of people who think the way I feel is bad, wrong or less than.
A: Well, I ‘m glad you were reminded of that. When I put on a dress and a wig to go to work, it’s easy to keep track of the fact that I’m not exactly mainstream. But I hope you don’t plan on going around unshaven and in dirty clothes, because I can promise you I won t find that erotic at all.
T: Yeah I guess I already knew that.
Check out Genet’s biography written by renowned Gay author Edmund White