June 21, 2006

Turning passion into love is a relationship's main task

If your culture invents the campest art form (opera) you would think it has little trouble with deviant sex. But no, Italy is hardly known for a fantastically open out of the closet queer culture. Au contraire, gay culture seems to be one of the most closeted I have come across, for a country that has been part of the liberal west for a long time. The men may walk arm in arm along the street there, but you cannot presume they have are anything else but friends. Last time friends of mine visited Italy they had huge trouble finding any gay clubs or saunas. Do I have to blame that church organisation in Rome again for this?
In contrast, queer representation in Italian art, be it cinema, literature or the plastic arts, has huge abundance: Fellini, Pasolini, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Versace... But when it comes to day-to-day Italian boys getting it on together, lovingly approved by La Mamma and patronised by La Famiglia, it's a totally different situation from, say, in Spain where the boys can get married and people like Almodovar have made a lifetime film career out of it.
We watched a wonderfully romantic Italian film last night called La Finestra di Fronte, which has a terribly sad gay side story of a young pastry chef who saved a lot of people during the war from deportation but had to sacrifice his secret lover to the Nazi round-up. If you have working gaydar you deduce that his secret hidden love is not heterosexual really soon but it takes almost until the end of the film for this to become explicit.
Highly recommended and the totty award goes to Filippo Negri (left, husband of the film's main character, and doesn't appear enough times shirtless for my liking)

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