Any minority craves images of itself, and this compilation of clips from Britain's post-war cinema archives is a testament to the closeted appearances of gay characters and sentiments from filmmaking's earliest days.
Following gay characters as they go from being the butt of jokes to full-blown leading characters, Weiss has captured a playful, occasionally melodramatic, insight into on-screen homosexual characterizations.
With Ian McKellen as narrator and witty graphics to bridge the thematic sections, A Bit of Scarlet reveals to what lengths the film industry went to include and yet ridicule gay characters. Both well-known portraits - like John Hurt's performance as Quentin Crisp in the groundbreaking BBC biography - and more obscure finds, make for a telling look at British cinema's postmodern queer soap opera.
Directed and edited by Andrea Weiss. Produced by Rebecca Dobbs. Produced through Maya Vision, Channel Four and the British Film Institute.
"Entertaining, funny and incisive: a cheering British partner for The Celluloid Closet. It's Weiss's skilful cross-editing and effective timing which are most notable."--Time Out (London)
"Director Andrea Weiss skillfully intercuts film extracts to develop a telling picture celebrating cinematic British gay and lesbian images." --"Film Choice", The Independent (London)
"A Bit of Scarlet is an imaginatively constructed, painstakingly assembled and highly amusing montage of gay-themed cliches and stereotypes from 60-odd years of British cinema. A riotously funny and engaging documentary." --Melbourne Film Festival
Awards & Screenings
"Best of the Fest", Edinburgh International Film Festival Best documentary, Festival de Films de Femmes Paris 1998 Berlin International Film Festival Melbourne and Brisbane International Film Festivals
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