Rock Hudson was more a total lady-charmer than an actor for men, because he looked amazingly good and, by the standards of the time, didn’t act in a discriminating manner towards women – which can be read from the film characters he embodied. From a historical perspective he was a non-threatening man, especially in his role as an international star. Revealing his sexuality would have exploded this concept. He broke out of this situation because he recognised that he was not alone and possessed the potential of being able to speak out as the voice of like-minded people. After a breakdown, he publicised his sexuality and the fact he had AIDS through his PR agent from a hospital in Paris. That was a great act: to throw off the straight jacket you had learned to live with shortly before the end of your life. Still today, that’s the greatest revolution a person can go through.
Looking back at the past
What does Rosa von Praunheim, for example, do when he returns to New York? Is that the hindsight of a man looking back at his Sturm und Drang period?
Rosa is the type who would, astonishingly, also provoke his own kind from the very beginning and so he was also a kind of traitor. He has maintained this position to the current day, just in a somewhat milder form. With New York Memories he revisits the women of his most successful film – the 1989 documentary Überleben in New York (Survival in New York) – and paints a picture of New York from the 1970s till today. Interestingly, Lothar Lambert does the same thing in Berlin. Alle meine Stehaufmädchen – Von Frauen, die sich was trauen (All My Tumbler Girls - Or All About Women Who Dare To) shows Berlin life stores and a great potpourri of images and memories. Here, typically, we see that it’s mostly gay filmmakers who are interested in the lives of older women, when it’s not themselves.
In the programme one notices diverse ways of dealing with music and all other art forms, including film. Such as the documentary Blank City, about the cinematic avant-garde or underground. Besouro explores the Brasilian martial art Capoeira which has its roots in Africa. Waste Land looks at visual art with the well-know artist Vik Muniz, who is trying to improve the lives of the rubbish collectors of Rio de Janeiro…Does film function especially well as the unifying medium of the arts?
Compared to all of the other arts, film has an advantage: it’s not univocal, but it’s far more definite than all others together. In terms of space and time, a filmmaker has a totally different framework in which to say what he wants to say, while a visual artist has no influence over who sees his pictures and at which point in time and for how long and what they get out of them. I believe that many artists use the medium of moving images, film, when they really want to express something.