My Beautiful Laundrette
Location: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Stephen Frears. 1985, 97 mins. 35mm. With Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Daniel Day-Lewis. “With its focus on family dynamics and individual freedom, My Beautiful Laundrette is the cinematic child of A Taste of Honey, yet the rough-shod energy with which it tackles sexual, moral, and ideological ambiguity also makes it a precursor to the new queer cinema of the 1990s. Its most revolutionarily queer element, however, may be that the love affair between Johnny, a working class white punk who has flirted with fascism, and Omar, a young Pakistani man alienated from his affluent family by his father’s leftist politics, is presented as no more extraordinary than the rest of the emotional bonds and struggles around them. Shot at rapid-fire pace on a shoestring budget, this film miraculously incorporates class warfare, queer desire, immigration issues, and even a hint of witchcraft into a gleefully messy, brutal, and uniquely joyful drama of life in Thatcher’s Britain.”—Donal Mosher
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