Over a decade ago, I went on my first real date to go see Les Diaboliques at the Film Forum in NYC. We both loved the movie and everything was going great… until the evening was cut short by my date’s ex-girlfriend and a crisis of jealousy worthy of the sapphic drama we’d witnessed on-screen.
My love story with this girl may have been cut short, but my love story with the Film Forum had only just begun. In the years that have passed, I’ve seen a wide variety of premieres and classics, discovering new gems and revisiting old favorites.
Starting today, the Film Forum begins their series Sapph-O-Rama billed as “a broad look at the eccentric, enduring, and genre-encompassing history of the Lesbian image in cinema through the last century.” From today through February 13, there will be screenings of films including But I’m a Cheerleader, Pariah, Mädchen in Uniform, Desert Hearts, Saving Face, The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, and The Watermelon Woman.
In addition to the classics, there are also lesser known and lesser available films including Caged, Fucking Åmål, She Must Be Seeing Things, MURDER and murder, A Woman Like Eve, and Madame X: An Absolute Ruler. And, finally, some Hollywood classics with very textual subtext properly being entered here as canon: Salomé, The Wild Party, Calamity Jane, and Johnny Guitar.
Best series ever, right? What if I told you there is even more? There’s also: Je Tu Il Elle, Born in Flames, Shakedown, Tomboy, The Killing of Sister George, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, Daughters of Darkness, Desperate Living, Dark Habits, and Caged Heat.
I recently moved back to New York for a lot of reasons and the best repertory film programming in the country was among them. This series, programmed by Andrea Torres and Emily Greenberg, is a dream — a perfect combination of films to revisit and films to discover.
If you don’t live in New York… well, I’m sorry. But it’s a good reminder to check out the repertory programming in your city or town! Also a lot of these films are available online if you want to have your own mini film festival.
What’s most important is to remember the history of sapphic cinema is rich and plentiful! My job is watching lesbian movies and even I haven’t seen six of these.
I’m excited to change that the way these films were meant to be seen: on the big screen.
Check out the full schedule for Sapph-O-Rama on the Film Forum website.