By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
RANDAL KLEISER (filmmaker, The Blue Lagoon, Grease, It's My Party)
[via e-mail] My favorite gay film of all time is Cabaret [1972; Bob Fosse, director]. I was in college and felt like I was living the life of the Michael York character, that he was going through the same conflicts I was experiencing. There's a montage where Liza [Minnelli] and Michael smile at each other across a room that inspired a sequence in Blue Lagoon [1980; Randal Kleiser, director] between Chris Atkins and Brooke Shields, and the near-three-way scene inspired a scene in Summer Lovers [1982, Randal Kleiser, director].
BRUCE LaBRUCE (filmmaker, Hustler White)
[via e-mail] The gay-themed film I love the most is The Boys in the Band , because although it was directed by William Friedkin, who also directed The Exorcist and Cruising, it is much scarier than any other film he ever made.
GREG LAEMMLE (vice-president, Laemmle Theaters)
There was a time when one of my young sons was really into pink. He had a pink tutu, and he would dance around the house and say he was going to grow up and be a pretty pink ballerina. I didn't have a problem with it, really. Whatever. In this same time, I saw Ma Vie En Rose [1997; Alain Berliner, director], and there's that scene where they find the boy in the freezer, and I thought, "Oh, God, this is what can happen if you're not sensitive to whoever he is."
CHI CHI LARUE (adult-film director, drag queen personality)
Female Trouble [1975; John Waters, director] changed my life. I was living in Minnesota and was a fan of Divine's music and persona, but her movies certainly didn't play there. When it finally came to the video store, my friends and I rented it as a sort of perverse inquiry. I watched it over and over. It changed my look on everything freaky and brought me screaming out of the drag closet. I was always afraid to shave my mustache off, thinking that I was keeping a little of my masculinity, but Divine showed me I could be big and beautiful. And dirty!
EVERETT LEWIS (filmmaker, The Natural History of Parking Lots, Luster, featured in Outfest 2002)
One night in New York, over 20 years ago, when I was starting out on an architectural career, I went to see East of Eden [1955; Elia Kazan, director], which blew me away and made me want to make movies. I came out of that theater floating. It was like a drug. And for years I thought it was the movie, but recently I realized that the movie was nothing and James Dean was everything. And that I went into this whole moviemaking thing, in essence, in pursuit of a guy, led by desire for a guy.
[via e-mail] Hi. I don't know if you can call it gay/lesbian-themed, but the movie that gave me the most pleasure with a gay leading character and storyline was The Opposite of Sex[1998; Don Roos, director]. It made me laugh and laugh and think that there may be hope for independent movies after all. Hope this helps.
MING-YUEN S. MA (experimental video artist)
The Japanese film Black Lizard,written by Yukio Mishima, is a wonderful, very campy '60s-noir over-the-top crime story in the style of Aubrey Beardsley, all decadence and deco illustrations, very twisty. Black Lizard, this beautiful female criminal mastermind, is played by an onnagata, one of the male kabuki actors who specialize in playing females. For half the film, Black Lizard is a real, convincingly beautiful glamour girl. The other half she looks like a bad drag queen.
TIM MILLER (solo performer, author of Body Blows)
I remember seeing Derek Jarman and Paul Humfress' Sebastiane  at the old Four Star on Wilshire when I was in high school. Such an amazing movie, so full of heat and sex. It's a re-telling of the Saint Sebastian story, set on some remote Mediterranean island full of cute men whipping each other. I remember that the film kept burning up, literally, five or six times. I think of that melt, that explosion, as the movie's content eating through the celluloid.
JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL (actor, filmmaker, co-creator of Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
[via e-mail] I'm in a bit of seclusion now, writing. Let me be the gay Leonard Maltin. My favorite gay-themed movies, in no particular order, are:
Taxi zum Klo, a sweet 1981 tale of a German elementary-school teacher/leather queen that has the best narrative use of explicit sex that I've seen in a gay film.
Happy Together (1997), Wong Kar-Wai's best.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975), goes without saying.
Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971), bisexual love triangle, John Schlesinger's best.
This Special Friendship (1964), love in a French boarding school.
Boys Don't Cry (1999), uh-huh.
Mala Noche (1985), Gus Van Sant's first and best, still not on video.
Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Joe Orton's 1970 black comedy.
Un Chant D'Amour, Jean Genet's 1950 prison poem, featuring a fine black-and-white hard-on.