Ah this makes me happy!
I was Googling the names of some actors I admire but haven't heard of in years, and whilst Googling "John Bolger" I came across this July 2007 article in The Advocate. About the The Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation, which in partnership with the UCLA Film and Television Archive is restoring 'classic' glbt films and tv.
Years and years ago (gah, nearly 20 years ago!) I saw a film which had quite a big impact on me, "Parting Glances". The film was made in 1986 and I saw it at a film festival shortly after I moved to Sydney, which would place it sometime in late 1989. I still remember it, I went with some friends that included a guy called Peter that I had a huge crush on and it was showing at the lovely Hayden Orpheum.
But I digress. The thing I loved about "Parting Glances" then, and now, is that it isn't a coming out story. One of the problems I think a lot of glbt fiction and movies have had historically is that they get mired down in trying to prove that we are just as good as everyone else. Don't get me wrong, coming out stories are important and have their place, but so do stories that move past that point to represent our lives after. (I think that's why Armistead Maupin's "Tales Of The City" stories were so appealing to many people, the characters have moved beyond that point to the lives they have constructed, with all the friends, family, joy, and problems that entails.) Understandably a lot of glbt fiction and movies in the 80s were reactions to the times, to AIDS, to increased homophobia, to fear and ignorance.
But "Parting Glances" took a smaller focus and represented a group of people that were more like the experience of myself and my friends. The film is set in a 24 hour time frame, the last 24 hours that two lovers Michael and Robert are spending together before Robert leaves for an overseas work posting. Their relationship has become a little predictable, and it isn't clear if they are staying together or seperating. Michael also has some unresolved feelings for an ex, a musician living with AIDS (Steve Buscemi's in his first film role). Much of the action of the film takes place at a party, where a bunch of interconnecting and overlapping stories centered around Robert and Michael collide.
I have a poor quality video of the movie that I have watched a bunch of times, which I recorded when the film was shown on tv here in the 90s. Even then the image was pretty poor, having been made on 16mm and blown up to 35mm. So I was pleased to read that last year $88,000 was spent on tracking down footage (no good quality print of the original cinema release existed anymore) and restoring the film. Late last year it was rereleased in a limited run, and then best of all a DVD was released! YAY!
I was also pleased to see pics of the cast reunited for the rerelease. Handsome John Bolger has gone on to have a long career in films and tv, especially daytime soapies. Richard Ganoung has done lots of theatre, and appeared in another glbt themed film "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss". Kathy Kinney is best known as Mimi from "The Drew Carey Show", and Steve Buscemi has gone on to make lots of other movies.
I'm glad the film hasn't been lost and allowed to deteriorate to dust. I haven't watched it in quite some years, and I do remember that some of the performances were a little shakey, but I think it's a pretty good film and a very interesting snapshot of the mid 80s. Plus, the nostaglia aspect. It takes me back to my twenties just thinking about it. Which is a good thing.
Oh, and I had a major crush on the hunky John Bolger (as 'Robert') back then. He's aged pretty well, and here is a totally gratuitous shot of him in a kilt:
You know, just because.
[Here's an article about the film's rerelease from The Daily Page]