Reviewer: James van Maanen
Ratings (out of five): ** (round up 1/2 if you're keen on the subject)
Watching the extremely retro documentary The Sons of Tennessee Williams, directed, edited, written and produced by Tim Wolff, it's hard not to wonder at the rather shockingly old-fashioned attitudes, interests, and behavior of the gay denizens of New Orleans and its environs, as they reminisce and ready themselves for a relatively recent Mardi Gras ball.
Granted, this is all about Mardi Gras, a time when letting loose and having fun is evidently paramount. (I have never been to Mardi Gras or to carnival in Rio, so I can't claim to understand what all the fuss is about.) Still, Mr. Wolff's concentration on dressing up in drag as the be-all and end-all of gay liberation seems a bit much. While the press materials hails this as a history of the earliest civil right movement for gays in the U.S.A. -- and time-wise this indeed appears to be true -- the interests of the men shown here seem to begin and end with dressing up in drag and getting away with it. This is certainly a part of gay liberation, for some, but making a whole movie around it is a tad circumscribed, no?