I have always had an affinity for sharing my favorite films. While watching a movie I love with a different audience, I often think it might as well be my first time experiencing it. The reactions are wildly divergent, the laughter or tears flow at different moments, and I come away with new ways of thinking through particular scenes.
For the longest time I figured this was simply a particular sensibility of mine. I struggled to understand why repeat viewings of certain movies were incredibly satisfying experiences.
While researching my senior thesis, titled “Beyond The Celluloid Closet: Moving Toward an Affective and Critical Analysis of Modern Queer Cinema,” the experiences of Vito Russo (above center, carrying the pole) influenced my thoughts on the matter heavily. Vito is my personal hero, our most influential theorist and critic of American queer cinema—he wrote The Celluloid Closet—and a widely loved and revered AIDS activist. Though he died in 1991, my thesis became a means of reconciling the temporal space between us, and I sought to understand how he could love film the way he did even as he grew increasingly frustrated with the representation of the LGBTQ community.