Leo Enticknap writes:
>In what sense would you call this a "gay and lesbian
>feature?"  OK, the heterosexual relationships depicted are
>unconventional (to put it mildly), but homosexuality isn't,
>as far as I could see, a central element of the film's
>narrative (having said that, I saw it without subtitles and
>might have missed some of the subtleties).
Over the years the definition of what can fall under the rubric of gay and
lesbian cinema has been broadened in many ways.  If one approaches this
particular film from a lesbian perspective (and, for the sake of argument,
let's consider something like Dorothy Arzner's film Craig's Wife in the same
boat) we can see a certain critique of normative heterosexuality -- Gorris
and Arzner's women will be married but only on their terms -- which has a
very unique resonance for gay and lesbian audiences.
In the case of Arzner, we know that she was a lesbian working in a Hollywood
system and at a period in time when she would not have made an "explicit"
lesbian film.  But we can bring this information to our viewing experience
and see ways that her sexuality must surely have had an influence on her
And you may or may not be aware that Marleen Gorris's previous films have
been a staple on the lesbian and gay film festival circuit for nearly a
Personally, watching Antonia's Line and being familiar with Gorris' previous
work, I felt keenly aware very early on in the film that the lesbian
character was a lesbian character (we don't explicitly learn this until much
later in the film).  Although the lesbian character is not the central figure
of the film (her mother is), she is certainly the second most significant
In short, different viewers bring different insights and expectations to a
given film.  In my eyes Antonia's Line (and Craig's Wife) are lesbian films.
 And I understand perfectly that they are not lesbian films for everyone.
And, of course, as with any identity-based qualifiers, a given film has
numerous "identities." It is a Dutch film, a woman's film, a family film,
There is certainly much more to say on the subject.  I am interested to hear
other people's opinions as well.
I guess a working definition might be "a film that has a unique resonance for
a gay or lesbian audience."
Have you ever seen Pee-Wee's Big Adventure?  :-)
Jenni Olson
Producer, PopcornQ
The Ultimate Online Home for the Queer Moving Image
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