Free Streaming Gay Movie: Tearoom (William E. Jones, 2008) USA

Tearoom

Directed by William E. Jones
56min, USA, 2008
Excerpt

This film is completely silent! On purpose.


In 2007, the video artist William E Jones presented Tearoom. Originally filmed in 1962 by the Ohio police, Tearoom is surveillance footage, a blunt tool of oppression that documented men cruising in a public restroom. This footage was eventually used as evidence to prosecute the men of sodomy and public deviancy.
In exhuming this footage 40 years later, Jones revealed hidden dimensions through recontexualisation, offering up an open democratic space where age, class and racial boundaries break down, whilst remaining a poignant reminder of the anxiety and persecution these men were forced to endure.

Cruising the Seventies

I found this nearly one-hour found-footage silent film to be far from boring but rather fascinating and fun as I saw recurring characters, wondered about their lives — whether or not they met or spoke to each other outside of this public toilet — posited the relationships they might have formed were it not for widepread societal disapproval and self-imposed circumspection. One information source states that Jones didn’t edit the raw footage, but this seems unlikely. There are too many quick cuts and artful juxtoposistions and repetitions for it to have been unedited or edited by the cops. I do wonder though about the two young boys who turn up for a few seconds outside one of the stall and why only one guy smiles throughout all the sexual activity. Maybe that’s the point, though.


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