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Montreal Main - A Queer Film Classic

Montreal Main

A Queer Film Classic

By Thomas Waugh, Jason Garrison
Series edited by Thomas Waugh, and Matthew Hays
Categories: Film & Media, LGBTQ+, Gay Literature
Series: Queer Film Classics
Paperback : 9781551523644, 272 pages, 2010


Montreal Main: A Queer Film Classic considers the brilliant yetneglected 1974 Canadian film set in Montreal'sbohemian neighborhood "The Main" and hailedat its premiere at the Whitney Museum ofAmerican Art. The movie, directed and starringFrank Vitale, is both a great indie film and agreat queer film; a fascinating cinema vérité takeon North American social mores and relationshipsin the 1970s, about a twentysomethingphotographer living among the outcasts, junkies,and artists populating the Main, and hisgrowing obsession with Johnny, the young sonof acquaintances, a relationship that is doomedfrom the start. Disarming in its matter-of-facttreatment of potentially sensational themes,Montreal Main is a quiet yet powerful look athuman relations among the post-flower powergeneration.

The book, a collaboration between ThomasWaugh and Jason Garrison, details the nuancedhistory of this peculiar film, which was releasedon DVD for the first time in 2009. It also considersthe politics and aesthetics of the trope ofintergenerational love that director Vitale andcollaborators Allan Moyle and Stephen Lack sobrazenly probed, in a way that would make thefilm virtually impossible to produce in presentday.

The QUEER FILM CLASSICS series, begun in2009, consists of critical yet populist monographson classic films of interest to LGBT audienceswritten by esteemed film scholars and critics. The series is edited by authors Thomas Waugh (Out/Lines, Lust Unearthed) and MatthewHays (The View from Here).


Arsenal Pulp Press's Queer Film Classic series has established itself as the premiere source of critical acumen about queer film. This year's titles - three inaugurated the series in 2009 - combine scholarship with cultural context, assessing the films sometimes almost scene-by-scene and always with an eye as to what makes the movies relevant both historically and contemporaneously.
-Richard Labonte, Book Marks

- Book Marks

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.
-Cindy Patton, Canada Research Chair in Community, Culture and Health and Professor of Sociology, Simon Fraser University; author of Cinematic Identities

- Cindy Patton

A passionate hybrid of theory, film criticism and social history, engaging the cutting edge of contemporary sexual politics. Waugh and Garrison brilliantly explore this forgotten gem of Canadian neo-realism, and in the process, critically revisit the turbulent riches of early seventies debates concerning the representation of intergenerational desire . .. a sustained, subtle interrogation of this haunting, enigmatic masterpiece.
-John Greyson, filmmaker

- John Greyson