The Robert Epstein Collection (5 Discs) DVD
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THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK (1984): Academy Award winner The Times of Harvey Milk is the dramatic and moving story of the first openly gay person elected to office in California: from his triumphant grassroots campaign to his brutal assassination one year later by fellow San Francisco supervisor Dan White. These events and the Twinkie Defense trial that followed, united an entire city, first in mourning and then in violent rage. A story of communities and values in conflict, told with humour and compassion, this gripping film builds to its climax with the intensity and inevitability of classic tragedy. And ultimately, when the fires die down, it is a life affirming testament to courage and hope.
COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT (1989): In the early 1980s, a mysterious new disease suddenly started killing young gay men in American cities. It was not until Rock Hudsons death in 1985, that the rest of the country began to take notice. Common Threads tells the powerful story of the first decade of the AIDS epidemic in the US: from the first ominous warning signs and the governments failure to respond, to the vibrant protest movement that was born as a result. Starting with five life stories chosen from the thousands memorialized in the Names Project AIDS Quilt: the Olympic athlete; the recovering drug addict; the conservative naval commander; the gay street activist; and the 11 year old suburban boy with haemophilia: the filmmakers skilfully weave intimate memories with contemporary news footage to tell an epic and moving story of love, loss, anger and healing.
THE CELLULOID CLOSET (1995): What Thats Entertainment did for movie musicals, The Celluloid Closet, does for Hollywood homosexuality, as this exuberant, eye opening serves up a dazzling, hundred year history of the role of gay men and lesbians on the silver screen.
Lily Tomlin narrates as Oscar winning moviemaker Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman assemble fabulous footage from 120 films showing the changing face of cinema sexuality, from cruel stereotypes to covert love to the activist triumphs of the 1990s. Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Curtis, Harvey Feinstein and Gore Vidal are just a few of the many actors, writers and commentators who provide funny and insightful anecdotes.
PARAGRAPH 175 (2000): The Nazi persecution of homosexuals may be the last untold story of the Third Reich. Directed by Oscar winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Paragraph 175 fills a crucial gap in the historical record, and reveals the lasting consequences of this hidden chapter of 20th century history. This epic story is told through personal accounts of men and women who lived through it: the Jewish gay resistance fighter who posed as a Hitler Youth member to rescue his lover from a Gestapo transfer camp; the Jewish lesbian who escaped to England with the help of an older woman she had a crush on; the photographer and loyal German citizen who was arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality, then joined the army on his release because he wanted to be with men.
These are the stories of survivors: sometimes bitter, but just as often filled with irony and humour; tortured by their memories, yet infused with a powerful will to endure. Their moving testimonies, rendered with evocative images of their lives and times, tell a haunting, compelling story of human resilience. Intimate in its portrayals, sweeping in its implications, Paragraph 175 raises provocative questions about memory, history and identity.
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