Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: The Naked Civil Servant

TheNakedCivilServantSunday January 17th 2016, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: The Naked Civil Servant (1975). Directed by Jack Gold, 78 minutes. In English with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

This is a extraordinary portrait, focusing on the story of Quentin Crisp, a gay man living in conservative England from the 1920s to the ’70s. This real-life story is simple but profound. It portrays how people lived in loneliness during those dark and desperate days, when homosexuality was illegal and still considered a mental illness. Gangs would go around beating up anyone in the streets who they suspected was gay. The effeminate Crisp refused to be intimidated, and wore make-up in public. He saw value in being an outsider, and he dedicated his life to living without compromise.

This movie stars John Hurt (The Elephant Man, Alien, 1984) in the lead role. Crisp was dressed with broad-brimmed fedoras and flowing scarves. He wore make-up so naturally that it’s difficult to imagine him any other way. He had a chequered life, sometimes even working as a rent-boy (male prostitute) in order to survive. He had an incredible resilience – he would never bat an eye when he was attacked publicly, and always responded with grace. He would raise to prominence only later in his life, through sheer flamboyance and wit. For example, he ended up playing the part of Queen Elizabeth in Sally Potter’s film Orlando. Since he was a terminal social outcast, he always defended otherness rather than inclusion.

When he was asked if he would consent to a movie about his life (this one), Crisp agreed, and smiled saying “Any film, even the worst, is better than real life.”

One recent viewer said about this movie: “This film is pure filth. It tells the story of Quentin Crisp, one of the most outrageous homosexuals that has ever lived. He wore make up, nail polish, dyed his hair and was totally effeminate in every way. At a time when gays are trying to gain acceptance a character like this did no service back then and certainly does no service now to gays wanting to be seen as normal. It was a portrayal of a real social misfit who made no attempt whatsoever to live properly in decent society.”

Well, what can I say? What could be a better recommendation for this film then this narrow-minded, angered response?

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net