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Montreal Main is a Canadian docu-fiction film, released in 1974. The film was directed by Frank Vitale [fr], and written by Vitale, Allan Moyle and Stephen Lack.
The film centers on Frank (Vitale) and Bozo (Moyle), two friends of ambiguous sexuality living in the bohemian arts community of Montreal, Quebec. Frank develops a friendship with Johnny (John Sutherland), a 12-year-old boy, while Bozo is developing a new relationship with Jackie (Jackie Holden), a friend of Johnny's parents. Although Frank's relationship with Johnny is platonic and non-sexual, the common stereotype of gay men as pedophiles prone to sexually preying on underage boys begins to color the community's and Johnny's parents' judgement of the friendship, driving a wedge between them as even Frank is increasingly driven to question his own motivations.
The film was re-released on DVD in 2009, and was the subject of a critical analysis by Thomas Waugh and Jason Garrison in 2011, as part of Arsenal Pulp Press' Queer Film Classics series.
A book on Montreal Main
The following book analyzes the film and its social context.
"Montreal Main: A Queer Film Classic" by Thomas Waugh and Jason Garrison:
- The book review by Cindy Patton, Canada Research Chair in Community, Culture and Health and Professor of Sociology, Simon Fraser University; author of Cinematic Identities:
- Waugh and Garrison treat Montreal Main with all the complexity that a vanguard film dealing with the relationships between men and boys deserve. They eloquently describe and analyze the film, placing it at the interstices of film aesthetics, sexual liberation history, and the larger history of representations of the desiring body. They ask how it was possible to frame the questions about men's and boys' eroticism and longing, and largely non-controversially, and they suggest why such open explorations would give way not many years later to banal and predictable plots on television police serial. At once a formal reconsideration of a lost film treasure and astute analysis of debates about intergenerational desire, Montreal Main is a "must read" for film critics and historians of sexuality alike.
- Product description (of book):
- A Queer Film Classic: this brilliant 1974 Canadian cinema verité film, set in Montreal's bohemian neighborhood "The Main" and hailed at its Whitney Museum debut, is a fascinating take on social mores and relationships in the 1970s and a twentysomething photographer's attraction for the teenaged son of acquaintances.