The Yale Film Archive Collection of LGBT Films, DVD’s, and Videos

The Yale University Film Archive maintains an extensive collection of films, videos, and DVD’s for use in teaching and research. The collection includes rare 16mm prints of films by the queer underground filmmaker José Rodriquez-Soltero and the pioneering lesbian experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer, the art video work of Sadie Benning, and prints of important individual films ranging from pre-Stonewall classics such as Queen ChristinaStrangers on a Train, and Boys in the Band, to more recent landmark films such as Milk, All About My Mother, and The Adventures of Felix. The FSC’s DVD and VHS collection includes many of the most important early Hollywood films representing homosexuality; the films of Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, Su Friedrich, and other queer avant-garde filmmakers; the new queer cinema; and more recent films such as Brokeback Mountain and television and cable series and network specials featuring LGBT characters.

Address: Sterling Memorial Library, 7th Floor, 120 High Street, New Haven, CT 
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Auteurs: 16 or 35mm Prints

José Rodriguez-Soltero (1943-2009)

The gay filmmaker José Rodriguez-Soltero brought a Puerto Rican aesthetic and political sensibility to his experimental films. The FSC holds a rare 16mm copy of his most important film, Lupe(1967), which portrays the tragic rise and fall of the Mexican actress Lupe Vélez, a Latino camp icon, as portrayed by Mario Montez, the most important transvestite star of the 1960s queer underground.

Barbara Hammer (b. 1939)

Barbara Hammer is widely regarded as the most influential lesbian feminist filmmaker of the 1970s. Her experimental films explore lesbian sexuality, subjectivity, and lesbian-feminist politics. She has continued to make award-winning films in a range of genres, including important documentary works. The FSC has many of her most important early films on 16mm film, including Dyketactics (1974), Women I Love (1976), and Double Strength (1978). It also has many of her later films on DVD and VHS.

Pedro Almodóvar (b. 1949)

One of the most important European filmmakers working today, Pedro Almodóvar helped foster the cultural liberalization of post-Franco Spain with his stylish, lushly colored films, which featured groundbreaking gay, lesbian, and trans characters and often a camp sensibility.  The FSC owns excellent 35mm prints of some of his most important films, including Matador (1986), All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002), and The Skin I Live In (2011).

Alfred Hitchock (1899-1980)

At the height of the Production Code censorship regime, Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, may have devoted more (coded) attention to homosexuality and other “sexual perversions” than any other major filmmaker.  The FSC’s collection includes 35mm prints of Hitchcock masterpieces exploring homosexuality (Rebecca [1940], Rope [1948, 16mm], and Strangers on a Train [1951]), voyeurism (Rear Window [1954]), sexual obsession (Vertigo [1958]), and Mama’s boy sexual psychopaths (Shadow of a Doubt [1943] and Psycho [1960]).

Individual Prints

In addition to the film prints included in other categories on this page, the FSC’s extensive collection of 16 or 35mm films includes these important individual feature films, among others:

  • The Boys in the Band (William Friedkin, 1968, 16mm)
  • The Color Purple (Spielberg, 1985)
  • Prick Up Your Ears (Frears, 1987)
  • The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee, 1993, 35mm)
  • Love and Human Remains (Arcand, 1993)
  • Adventures of Felix (Jacques Martineau and Olivier Ducastel, 2000, 35mm)
  • The Deep End (Siegel and McGehee, 2001)
  • Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2003, 35mm)
  • Dostana (Mansukhani, 2008)
  • Eyes Wide Open (Tabakman, 2009)
  • Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008, 35mm), donated by producer Bruce Cohen ‘83

Auteurs: DVD and VHS

Kenneth Anger (b. 1930)

Kenneth Anger’s influential gay experimental films include Fireworks, which he made in 1947, at age 17, over a long weekend at his parent’s Beverly Hills home, and Scorpio Rising (1964, 16mm print at the FSC), which explored the homoerotics of biker culture. The Films of Kenneth Anger, a two-volume DVD compilation, contains ten of his most important works.  

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

Andy Warhol, painter, printmaker, and leading figure in the pop art movement, was also the doyen of New York underground experimental cinema in the 1960s. Warhol’s films, which feature hustlers, pretty boys, queens, and transvestites, explore the era’s queer underground culture. The FSC has DVD copies of Blow Job (1963), Kiss (1963), My Hustler (1965) Chelsea Girls (1966), and other of his films.

Derek Jarman (1942-1994)

Derek Jarman was a stage designer, artist, writer, and influential British filmmaker, whose groundbreaking film Sebastiane (1976) was arguably the first British feature film to portray gay male sexuality positively. The FSC collection includes video compilations of his early Super 8 films from the 1970s as well as video and DVD copies of his major later films, including Caravaggio (1986), Edward II (1992), Blue (1993), and Wittgenstein (1993).

Su Friedrich (b. 1954)

Born in New Haven, Su Friedrich has produced and directed eighteen 16mm films and videos, many exploring queer subjectivity through her own life experiences. The FSC has an extensive collection of her films on DVD and VHS, including Gently Down the Stream (1981), The Ties That Bind (1984), Damned If You Don’t (1987), Rules of the Road (1993), and Hide and Seek (1996).

Sadie Benning (b. 1973)

Sadie Benning, video maker, visual artist, and musician, began making films with a Fisher-Price Pixelvision children’s video camera when she was fifteen. Her videos creatively mix music and collage in a deliberately cheap and grainy style to document her developing desire as a young butch lesbian. Videoworks, a multi-volume DVD selection of films she made from 1989–1998, includes Jollies (1990), Me and Rubyfruit (1990), It Wasn’t Love (1992), and Flat is Beautiful (1998).

Thematic Clusters: Prints, DVD, and VHS

Pre-Stonewall Classics

In addition to the film prints, the FSC has an extensive VHS and DVD collection of important Hollywood films representing homosexuality in the decades before the gay liberation movement.  Titles include the lesbian prison drama Caged (John Cromwell, 1950), Tea and Sympathy (Vincente Minnelli, 1956, on laserdisk), The Children’s Hour (William Wyler, 1961), The Killing of Sister George (Robert Aldrich, 1968), and The Detective (Gordon Douglas, 1968).  It also holds two important early German films, Anders Als Die Andern (Richard Oswald, 1919) and Mädchen in Uniform (Leontine Sagan, 1931).

Queer Avant-Garde Cinema

The FSC holds 16mm prints of three exceptionally early and important queer films: Salome (Alla Nazimova, 1923), Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau, 1930), and Lot in Sodom (Webber and Watson, 1933).  Its extensive DVD collection includes Orpheus (Jean Cocteau, 1949), Christmas, USA (Gregory Markopoulos, 1949), Image in the Snow (Willard Maas, 1952), Chumlum (Ron Rice, 1964), Line of Apogee (Lloyd Williams, 1967), Pink Narcissus (James Bidgood, 1971), and Ulrike Ottinger’s Image of Dorian Gray in the Yellow Press (1984) and Johanna D’Arc of Mongolia (1989).  Films from the new queer cinema include Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston (1989), Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied (1989), Todd Haynes’s Poison (1991), Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho (1991), Tom Kalin’s Swoon (1992), Gregg Araki’s The Living End (1992), Greg Bordowitz’s Fast Trip, Long Drop (1993), Rose Troche’s Go Fish (1994), and Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman (1996).

AIDS Films

Filmmakers, many of them HIV+ themselves, responded to the AIDS epidemic with an extraordinary outpouring of films.  Melodramas solicited the empathy of outsiders for people with AIDS:  Longtime Companion (René, 1989, 35mm), An Early Frost (Erman, 1985), Parting Glances (Sherwood, 1986), Philadelphia (Demme, 1993), Dallas Buyers Club (Vallée, 2013).  Experimental films challenged the dominant representation of HIV and people with AIDS:  The ADs Epidemic (Greyson, 1987), They are Lost to Vision Altogether (Kalin, 1989), This is Not an AIDS Advertisement (Julien, 1990), Silence=Death (Von Praunheim, 1990), Zero Patience (Greyson, 1993).  Documentaries chronicled the devastation of AIDS and the response of AIDS activists:  Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (Epstein and Friedman, 1989), Positive (Von Praunheim, 1990), Silverlake Life: The View from Here (Joslin and Friedman, 1993), We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco (Weissman, 2011), United in Anger: A History of ACT UP (Hubbard, 2012), How to Survive a Plague (France, 2012). Some of the most heralded plays and films of the 1980s and 1990s made AIDS their starting point:  Angels in America (Nichols, 2004), Rent (Columbus, 2005).  And a growing number of films included HIV+ characters, even when they did not focus on the disease: Savage Nights (Collard, 1992), The Cure (Horton, 1995, 35mm), The Adventures of Felix (Ducastel and Martineau, 2000, 35mm), Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (Daniels, 2009, 35mm).  All films are on DVD unless a different format is noted.

Trans Cinema

Classical Hollywood was fascinated with cross-dressers, as evidenced by two prints in the FSC collection: Queen Christina (Mamoulian, 1933, 16mm) and Some Like it Hot (Wilder, 1959, 35mm).  And Bugs Bunny never passed up a chance to don an evening gown: The Rabbit of Seville (Jones, 1950, 35mm) and What’s Opera, Doc (Jones, 1957, 35mm).  In recent years, a growing number of films have explored trans characters and situations with varying degrees of sensitivity.  The FSC owns several 35mm prints, including The Crying Game (Jordan, 1992), Ma Vie en Rose (Berliner, 1997), Madame Sata (Aïnouz, 2002), and Pariah (Rees, 2011), and more than twenty DVDs, including Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (Anger, 1954), Myra Breckinridge (Sarne, 1970), La Cage aux Folles (Molinaro, 1979), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Babenco, 1985), Paris is Burning (Livingston, 1990), Orlando (Potter, 1992), Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Elliott, 1994), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (Kidron, 1995), The Birdcage (Nichols, 1996), Boys Don’t Cry (Peirce, 1999), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Mitchell, 2001), The Cockettes (Weber and Weissman, 2002), Transamerica (Tucker, 2005), Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria (Silverman and Stryker, 2005), and XXY (Puenzo, 2007).

Queer Feature Films

The FSC’s DVD collection of queer feature films includes John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) and Shortbus (2006), John Greyson’s Zero Patience (1993) and Proteus (2004), My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991), Gods and Monsters (Bill Condon, 1998), Bad Education (Pedro Almodóvar, 2004), and Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005).

Television Series

The Film Studies Center has acquired a representative collection of recent television and cable series featuring LGBT characters, including Ellen (ABC, 1994-1998), Will and Grace (NBC, 1998-2006), Queer as Folk (Channel 4, 1999-2000), Six Feet Under (HBO, 2001-2005), Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (Bravo, 2003-2007), The L Word (Showtime, 2004-2009), Rome (BBC/HBO/RAI, 2005-2007), Ugly Betty (ABC, 2006-2010), Tudors (TV3 Ireland, Showtime, BBC2, CBC, 2007-2010), and Glee (Fox, 2009-). The collection also includes several important television specials, such as the early AIDS drama An Early Frost (NBC, 1985).