Magazine article Herizons

Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives

Magazine article Herizons

Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives

Article excerpt


When I first heard of a film project combining interviews of lesbians who were in the bar scene in the 50s and 60s with dramatized sequences based on the lesbian pulp fiction of those decades, I had misgivings. Was this going to be an unredeemed wallow in a murky, depoliticized past?

I needn't have worried. From first frame to last, Forbidden Love - The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives, deftly juggles hard-edged political analysis, kitschy romance, and the timeless, invaluable herstory of women telling truths about their own lives. The result is not the world split open, but one made a little more whole. Cutting back and forth between interviews with the wonderfully feisty and funny lesbian Crones who give the film its documentary core, and an archetypal seduction/ bringing-out tale of yesteryear, the film may be unnerving for a first-time viewer, ignorant of lesbians (paperback of otherwise) and hoping to stay that way. It's treat for everyone else.

Linking both strands of Forbidden Love is the mistress of lesbian pulp herself, Ann Bannon, who graces the film - after who-knows-what inner debates - with a discussion of her own much-closeted life. She survived respectable role-playing as a suburban wife and mother by escaping for the occasional weekend to soak up lesbian atmosphere in Greenwich Village; and authored six fervid romances before silencing herself to avoid disclosure to her children.

Bannon's refusal to inflict 'til-then-mandatory plot resolutions of death, madness and/or suicide on her fictional lesbians gave thousands of women a glimpse (however tow-dimensional) of a world that affirmed their reality and the possibilities of happiness outside compulsory heterosexuality.

Believing in a lesbian utopia somewhere that would validate their hopes or fantasies has been a survival tactic for isolated dykes for too long. …

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