Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: God Loves Uganda; Big Joy
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2014-05-14

This article shared 4394 times since Wed May 14, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


After making the festival rounds last year and winning kudos from critics and audiences, two tremendous queer-themed documentaries are reaching Chicago audiences this week: God Loves Uganda via broadcast on PBS Monday, May 19 ( and DVD release the same day ), and Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton via a theatrical run at Facets Cinematheque beginning Friday, May 16.

Thematically, the movies couldn't be more different—a searing indictment of the U.S. fundamentalist movement's role in Uganda's anti-gay policies and a spritely portrait of one of the gay founding fathers of the San Francisco avant garde, respectively. However, both are superb additions to the queer movie canon and not to be missed cinema experiences.

Openly gay African-American documentarian Roger Ross Williams ( an Oscar winner for his documentary short Music By Prudence ) starts his searing film God Loves Uganda with a focus on a group of young missionaries trained by the Kansas City, Missouri-based International House of Prayer ( known by its acronym IHOP, which has no relation to the restaurant franchise ). IHOP is just one of the many large fundamentalist groups in the United States that's found Uganda perfect for its brand of radical conservatism. In a country where 50 percent of the people are under 15, the promise of all that soul-saving must be irresistible.

Williams follows this latest crop of missionaries—white, young, arrogant and sanctimonious—as the group heads to Uganda, determined and unaware of the consequences of using the Bible to justify homophobia in a foreign culture, and seemingly unconcerned by it. These sections of the film have a WTF, Book of Mormon feel, especially in a sequence that shows the young evangelicals upon arrival in Uganda. Stuck in a van in traffic, they are beset by food-sellers intent on selling their wares—vendors who don't seem to understand the missionaries' equally persistent attempts to convert them. The disconnect between the two cultures is apparent, and is pointed out again and again as Williams explores the intersection of politics and the radical Christian agenda that have converged in Uganda.

The sunny optimism and iron-willed insistence of these young religious terrorists and their leaders are matched by the zealousness of their Ugandan counterparts—several prominent pastors such as Martin Ssempa, the infamous "eat the poo-poo pastor" who whips up his massive congregation using S&M porn as an example of the "gay lifestyle." These pastors—whose embrace of the anti-gay conservative agenda pushed by U.S. fundamentalists like Scott Lively and Lou Engle—have become powerful and wealthy.

Williams smartly allows everyone—from the soon-to-be-brutally slain Ugandan gay-rights activist David Kato to the egotistical pastors and the missionaries—to speak for himself or herself. Because of that, the interviews ( and hidden-camera footage ) expose unfettered and jaw-dropping ignorance, greed and an unbridled lust for control—all of which outweigh any good intentions these Bible thumpers might espouse. The film also traces how this systematic approach, with U.S. money funding ( and often training ) these Ugandan religious powerbrokers, led directly to the country's infamous anti-gay law that was enacted in February.

The outrages pile up but, thankfully, Williams also found a voice to help balance the rabid anti-gay sentiment. That would be the Rev. Kapya Kaoma, a former resident of Zaire forced to flee Uganda in 2009 for his pro-LGBT views. Kaoma, who is straight and lives in Massachusetts with his family, is a gentle but urgent voice of reason who emerges as a real hero for the LGBT community.

God Loves Uganda is a vitally important film that hopefully will also serve as a reminder to the U.S. LGBTQ movement that complacency about our hard-won freedoms is far from being a global thing. Far from it. http://www.godlovesuganda.com/

At the other end of the documentary spectrum, subject-wise, is the delightful and light-as-a-feather Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, from co-directors Stephen Silha and Eric Slade. Broughton, a seminal figure in experimental film and poetry ( he is aptly described as a founding father of San Francisco's postwar artistic movement ) was also a renowned sexual free spirit.

Broughton's creative life was fueled by his personal one: a life that included affairs with men and women, and included an early relationship with Pauline Kael ( which produced a daughter ). Kael, who is heard in a taped interview, went on to become this country's most respected film critic and introduced him to Kermit Sheets, with whom Broughton had his first serious male relationship. A marriage to dancer Suzanna Hart ( with whom he fathered two children ) followed. That relationship ended when Broughton fell in love ( and lust ) at 61 with Joel Singer, one of his filmmaking students who was 35 years his junior. Broughton and Singer remained together until Broughton's death in 1999 and their love affair is tellingly described by Singer. ( Hart's memories, not surprisingly, are not quite so sunny about the end of her marriage. )

Broughton defiantly followed his "follow your own weird" maxim after escaping from a well-born but restrictive upbringing, and this refusal to set boundaries on himself or others seems to have been the most consistent aspect of his life. Embodying the true hippie spirit ( long before such a concept existed ) Broughton's pixilated approach to life, based on the evidence, seems to have indeed brought he and others, "big joy" ( though there are hints here and there that Broughton's sunny outlook had its darker aspects ).

The filmmakers include bits from Broughton's movies ( 1967's The Bed is a lovely highlight ); excerpts from vintage interviews, lectures and poetry readings with him; and current interviews with Hart, Singer and several of Broughton's contemporaries, Armistead Maupin among them. The movie is as spritely put together as its subject—another winning aspect of this charming look at the life of a free spirit whose life and work are an important part of queer history. As noted, Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton is having its Chicago premiere run at Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave., beginning Friday, May 16. bigjoy.org/twirl/


This article shared 4394 times since Wed May 14, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Actor formerly known as Ellen Page comes out as trans
2020-12-01
Elliot Page has come out as transgender. The star of movies like Juno and TV shows like The Umbrella Academy, formerly known as Ellen Page, posted about his transition on social media on Dec. 1, according ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Singer Justin Utley, Gus Kenworthy, video game, 'Jackplot' film
2020-11-30
OUTMusic Award winner Justin Utley has released the single "All Is Bright"—his first holiday release, a press release noted. Utley described the song as a little-bit of Lumineers/Mumford & Sons mixed in with a lot-a-bit of ...


Gay News

Laverne Cox 'in shock' but okay after transphobic attack
2020-11-30
Transgender actress/activist Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) said she was "definitely in shock" and "triggered" but okay after an anti-trans attack while walking with a friend in a Los Angeles park, USA Today reported. ...


Gay News

'The Prom' out Dec. 11 on Netflix
2020-11-27
The Prom—a musical-comedy film directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin (from their and Matthew Sklar's 2018 Broadway musical of the same name)—will be out on Netflix on Dec. 11. The ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ: Awards, 'Bebop,' Andy Cohen, Mariah Carey, Revry
2020-11-23
The American Music Awards aired live Nov. 22 and some of the biggest names in music took home awards; Taraji P. Henson hosted. According to CNN.com, Doja Cat won new artist of the year and Becky ...


Gay News

MOVIES Paul Bettany talks 'Uncle Frank' and his own closeted father
2020-11-22
In the critically acclaimed Amazon Studios movie Uncle Frank, out Nov. 25, Paul Bethany (the Avengers and Iron Man series; Master and Commander; The Da Vinci Code) plays the title character—a literature professor who has two ...


Gay News

MOVIES Peter Macdissi reflects on making 'Uncle Frank'
2020-11-21
In the Amazon Studios movie Uncle Frank, out Nov. 25, Peter Macdissi plays Walid "Wally" Nadeem—the partner of the title character (played by Paul Bettany). However, the dynamics are a bit different in that Frank Bledsoe ...


Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance presents surrealist film online Dec. 3, 5 and 6
2020-11-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) continues its 2020/21 43rd season with a virtual premiere presentation of new work from former Hubbard Street dancer and acclaimed choreographer Jonathan Fredrickson ...


Gay News

Day With(out) Art: Transmissions launches online Nov. 30
2020-11-18
--From a press release - NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2020 — Visual AIDS, the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS and HIV awareness through dialogue, art exhibitions and public forums, announces their ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wentworth Miller, Whitney, lesbian author, Mark Wahlberg
2020-11-16
Out actor Wentworth Miller said he doesn't want to be involved in a new season of the TV show Prison Break if it happens, according to Deadline. On Instagram, he thanked fans for his support and ...


Gay News

MOVIES Trans-focused Born to Be to be released Nov. 20
2020-11-16
Born To Be—a hit documentary on the country's first hospital center for transgender medical care—will open in Philadelphia on Friday, Nov. 20 (also the Transgender Day of Remembrance) with Gene Sickle Film Center Virtual Cinema. The ...


Gay News

THEATER Pride Arts artistic director resigns; PFP keeps Zak
2020-11-12
Two controversial developments have occurred at Pride Arts (in which Pride Films & Plays, PFP, is the main tenant). According to a letter from PrideArts President Cheri Tatar that Windy City Times obtained, PFP Artistic Director ...


Gay News

MOVIES Henry Golding gets intimate in 'Monsoon'
2020-11-11
Taking a turn from larger-budget movies such as A Simple Favor and Crazy Rich Asians, actor Henry Golding stars in the intimate film Monsoon. The movie features Golding as Kit, a young British-Vietnamese man who returns ...


Gay News

Mama Gloria, about Chicago's elder, trans, activist icon, to screen
2020-11-10
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Luchina Fisher's Mama Gloria, an important and timely documentary about Chicago's trailblazing Black trans elder icon and activist Gloria Allen, will hold nationwide screenings during Transgender Awareness ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Rock Hudson, The CW, Jillian Michaels, Isis King
2020-11-09
Among Kino Lorber's December DVD and Blu-ray releases is a three-movie set (with the 1953-54 features Seminole, Golden Blade and Bengal Brigade) starring the late actor Rock Hudson, a press release noted. Co-stars in the films ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.