Race d’Ep – Paris street slang for homosexual, is a four-part French film that argues that ‘’gay liberation was not born in the 60’s’’ but, instead, had its roots in the mid-19th century. The film, which opens today at the Agee Room in the Bleecker Street Cinema, is modestly scaled but not amateurish, acted by what appear to be nonprofessionals who never overreach themselves. It seems to have been shot silent, with soundtrack narration added later.
It is the point of Lionel Soukaz and Guy Hocquenghem, who conceived and made the film, that the more or less concurrent development of photography and the birth of an unashamed homosexual consciousness in the 19th century were not a coincidence. Photography, says the narrator, ‘’created a new definition of ’mankind’ ‘’ and gave the homosexual the means by which he could express his ’’forbidden’’ desires.
The film begins with ‘’The Pose Period,’’ a consideration of the life and work of Baron von Gloeden who, we are told, gained a reputation in the second half of the 19th century by his photographs of nude Sicilian boys. The film rather amusingly recreates the baron’s fussily fancy visions of naked goatherds and streetboys idealized in classical poses. Intercut into the film’s new footage are what I take to be some examples of the baron’s actual work. –nytimes
Lionel Soukaz, born in 1953 in Paris, is a French filmmaker.
Since 1973, he began to make films in super-eight, and directed short queer underground films, still taboo in the tradition of FHAR, from pornography (Ixe) to social criticism (I Live In a Bush World). His films often take the form of film essays, similar to that of Jonas Mekas.
He organized several gay film festivals in 1977 at the Film Festival of La Rochelle, and in 1978 in Paris (la “Quinzaine de cinéma homosexuel”). The Ministry of Culture festival interfered, stopping Soukaz. He directed Race d’Ep, un siècle d’images de l’homosexualité with Guy Hocquenghem in 1979. He has been pursuing a career as a discreet, marginal videographer in recent years (and claimed as such). –Wikipedia