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    The Cinematic Rainbow

    Jan Wahl

    By Jan Wahl–

    There are so many great movies about Pride! In earlier issues of our fine paper, I’ve written about these:

    • 2014’s Pride is an under-seen movie about gay men and lesbians joining with striking miners during the restrictive years of Thatcher’s England.
    • The beyond-brilliant The Celluloid Closet (1995) illuminates LBGTQ Hollywood history. It’s a true classic.
    • Alice Wu’s romantic Saving Face (2004) unfolds secrets between generations.
    • Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) is joyful yet poignant and has an amazing father/son moment at the end.  How much more could I love this film?
    • The crossover hit Brokeback Mountain is a beautiful love story that remains another classic. None of us will ever forget it.

    Gay Chorus Deep South easily made my Top Ten List for the year in 2019. In response to the discriminatory anti LBGTQ laws, our own San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus members go to the American Deep South. I was worried for them. The movie surprised me on every level. The healing power of music and making peace with one’s personal past are just two of the themes that engross and enlighten us in this beautiful film. Dr. Tim Seelig leads the group with clarity and compassion. 

    Albert Nobbs is one of those movies that not enough people have seen. It’s the 1800s in Ireland, a time when women have very few choices for employment, civil rights, or contentment. A painfully shy butler (Glenn Close) hides her gender, finding it far easier to live life as a man. When she meets another woman doing the same (Janet McTeer), her life and outlook change forever.  Both actresses were nominated for Oscars; both should have won. McTeer has long been one of my favorite actresses. Give yourself the gift of her other films.   

    Paris Is Burning (1990) is Jennie Livingston’s documentary chronicling New York City’s drag ball culture of the 1980s. The film highlights African American, Transgender and Latino performance artists, both in celebration and competition. This is one of those rare documentaries that should be revisited, and would make a fascinating sequel. 

    Carol (2015) is a provocative adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s daring novel of a lesbian affair and all of its complication.  Okay … what affair isn’t complicated? But this one is told with so much yearning and longing that it stays with you. Elegant Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) develop a relationship, a deep and romantic love during the restrictive 1950s. Both of these actresses were nominated for Oscars, and, as for Albert Nobbs, both should have won. Also up for Oscar gold were the film’s amazing period costume design, cinematography, and screenplay. 

    So many great films … so much Pride to celebrate!   

    Emmy Award-winner Jan Wahl is a renowned entertainment reporter, producer, and teacher. A member of the prestigious Directors Guild of America, she is regularly featured on KPIX television (every Monday morning starting at 6:15 am) and on KCBS AM & FM and other media outlets. To read and listen to her reviews for KCBS, go to: For more info about her remarkable life and career: Check out her entertaining and informative videos at

    Spotlight Film for SF Pride 50: La Cage aux Folles (1978)

    By Jan Wahl–

    Anytime a movie can breathe life into our sense of celebration and pride, I’m there! This one is from 1978, but remains as youthful and alive as a movie made today. La Cage aux Folles is a French film that inspired Jerry Herman to write the great musical of the same name. 

    Do not think The Birdcage. This is just as funny but is a far more serious film with a real sense of the family that develops with two men or two women as parents. Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault star as a showbiz couple who have raised a son. The merde hits the fan when the possible in-laws come visit. Find this one on YouTube. You will love it!  

    Published on June 25, 2020