To celebrate the Walker’s 75th anniversary, Crosscuts will feature a series of filmmakers who have visited the art center over the last few decades.
In 1991, scholar and film critic B. Ruby Rich coined the term “new queer cinema.” This emerging film movement offered an alternative to the heteronormativity of mainstream Hollywood and addressed the anxieties that plagued queer America: AIDS, sexuality, and gay rights (to name a few). One of the most prominent filmmakers to emerge from this movement was Gregg Araki. Born and raised in Southern California in the 1970s, Araki studied film at the University of Santa Barbara before shooting his first movie in 1987—Three Bewildered People in the Night—guerilla-style on a budget of only $5,000. The movie tells the story of a love triangle that emerges between an artist, her lover, and their gay friend.
Araki achieved widespread recognition with The Living End in 1992. The movie traces the love affair between two HIV positive men who embark on a wild and irresponsible road trip throughout California. Originally shot on 16mm, Araki gave the film a complete overhaul in 2008 when he created a high definition video version and remixed the soundtrack. The Walker screened The Living End Remixed and Remastered as part of the Queer Takes: Visibly Out series in June of 2008.
The success of The Living End kicked off Araki’s teenage apocalypse trilogy. These three films, Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, and Nowhere, are set in a dystopian, drug-fueled version of Los Angeles and portray the existential angst of gay youth. In the last decade, Araki has directed films with bigger budgets such as Mysterious Skin starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and this year’s White Bird in a Blizzard starring Shailene Woodley and Eva Green which premiered at Sundance in January. Araki’s latest film will have a wide release on October 24, 2014.