As someone who watches quite a bit of GLBT cinema – without actually being either G, L, B or T – I am often struck by the way in which gay indie film directors present coming out as a very simple moral question. Most GLBT films frame coming out as a question of personal honesty and self-actualisation. According to these films, people are in denial until they are not, at which point they come out and it is up to their friends and families to deal with it and by ‘deal with it’ I mean ‘accept it unconditionally’. Indeed, GLBT cinema traditionally presents the ethics of coming out as purely a question of acceptance. If you accept your friend/relative/former partner then you are morally good, if you do not then you are morally bad. But what of the morality of living a lie? what of the morality of turning people’s lives up-side down so that you can finally be honest with yourself? Surely these are not simple questions.
Mehdi ben Attia’s film Le Fil addresses the social repercussions of coming out in a way that most Anglo-American GLBT films refuse to do. A loving satire of upper-class Tunisian society, The String asks whether hypocrisy really is a worse option than social isolation.
Videovista have my review.