DEAR ROCK is a posthumous fan letter to Rock Hudson that uses Hudson as a springboard for an exploration of AIDS and homophobia. As the bachelor, movie-star idol, Hudson was emblematic of Hollywood's construction of the all-American male. Yet, as is the case with most cultural myths, this public, straight facade masked the private, gay man Hudson was, forcing him to lead a double life.
Using the contrived form of the fan letter, DEAR ROCK uses digression as its structure, beginning with elements of Hudson's life that open onto larger contemporary issues about gay male identity. DEAR ROCK builds on the dichotomy facing gay men: it moves between the private and the public, the myth and the reality using Hudson's life as a metaphor for gay male issues. The often contradictory relationship between gay male desire is explored using images from men's swim meets and underwear advertisements. Tension is constructed between the homophobic and the homoerotic, the forbidden and the desired. DEAR ROCK is a reflection on a victim of Hollywood's enforced homophobia, but ultimately the tape attempts to map the landscape of AIDS since Hudson's death in 1985.
Running Time: 20 minutes
Year of Completion: 1993
Written, Directed and Edited by Jack Walsh
Narration - Eric Newton
Sound Engineer - Kate J. Goodnight
On-Line Editor - Lise Swenson
Screenings: Festival at the Lake, (Oakland), Icelandic Lesbian and Gay
Film Festival, LACE, Hawaii Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Atlanta Film
and Video Festival, Athens Film and Video Festival, National Educational
Film and Video Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque, Melbourne Queer Film
Festival, AIDS Film and Video Festival (Finland), Black Maria Film and Video
Festival, Lookout Queer Video Festival, San Francisco International Lesbian
and Gay Film Festival, Santa Barbara Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Baltimore
Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Chicago Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Film
Arts Festival, The Other Cinema
In 1986, when the Religious Right in America was barely noticeable, yet still fostering conservative, anti-gay legislation nationwide, I thought to myself if Christ appeared in American today most right-wing Christians would never see him and most would likely despise him. Thus, my initial premise for The Second Coming came into being. I thought who is most hated in American today, for surely that is where a messiah will surface, and then I thought that few are more dispossessed than a gay, bi-racial, poor, teenager.
Though The Second Coming began as a retelling of a Christ myth, it was soon displaced by my humanist interest in ordinary people taking extraordinary stands, often in complete contrast to their circumstances, as a result of the injustices they experience themselves and as witnesses to injustices perpetrated on others. Employing a Hollywood convention, that of the love story, Carlos, the main character, is moved to action as the result of his boyfriend's murder during a queer bashing.
The film that most directly informed the creation of The Second Coming is Vincent Sherman's 1941 film Underground, a story that is told in my film, about a group of resisters inside Nazi Germany. And, of course, the Munich based anti-Nazi youth group, The White Rose, is also central to the construct of these kids' resistance to the Fundamentalist threat that eventually topples the US government.
Like my previous works, this film incorporates narrative, documentary and experimental film making to tell its story. For example, found images are used as signposts of information in the film's narrative structure. They illustrate a narrative space that could not be created -- government offices, the White House, and religious right compounds. They also serve as essay counterpoint to what occurs in the film's narrative.
Although The Second Coming is driven by the narrative, Carlos' story, I describe it as an experimental narrative film because it employs devices that are absent from the current narrative cinema. The film moves between narrative and documentary (at times fictionalized) as well as experimental essay that recontextualizes found images and archival footage. To this end, The Second Coming is a film that collapses forms and tells its story from multiple perspectives.
In a growing climate of repression and right wing patriot movement organizing,
The Second Coming serves as a wake-up call to the forces of evil
afoot in American today.
-- Jack Walsh
Send email to Jack Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org.