In the 1950s, a wave of lesbian pulp literature emerged, exploring a then taboo subject in vivid, sensationalistic detail. While these writers often took a critical, moralistic view of gay life, they provided a jumping-off point for women still discovering their suppressed sexual desires. But with society unwilling to grant them a place in public life, they channeled their passion for these novels into a vibrant underground culture full of distinctive codes, roles, and rituals. Mirroring the shadowy traditions of noir fiction, they also faced violent opposition from police and other protectors of the status quo, resulting in a dangerous, but ultimately liberating path to sexual awakening.
Mixing lively testimonials from unforgettable women at the forefront of mid-century lesbian bar culture with scripted segments that take the Hollywood melodrama in provocative (and sexually explicit) new directions, Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives is an eye-opening cultural history – and one of the most memorable Canadian films of the ’90s. With a soundtrack of late ‘50s and early ‘60s hits by The Fleetwoods, Connie Francis, Jimmie Rodgers, and The Shirelles, this is a stirring, funny, and ultimately moving portrait of rebellion flourishing in the face of repression.
directed by: Lynne Fernie, Aerlyn Weissman
starring: Stephanie Morgenstern, Lynne Adams, Ann Bannon, Ruth Christine, Jeanne Healy, Reva Hutkin, Carol Ritchie-MacKintosh Keely Moll, Nairobi Nelson, Stephanie Ozard, Lois M. Stuart, Amanda White
1992 / 85 min / 1.33:1 / English DTS HD-MA 1.0
- Region Free Blu-ray
- Scanned and restored in 2K from the 16mm interpositive
- Audio commentary featuring directors Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman moderated by professor Jean Bruce
- Audio commentary featuring six members of the crew
- The Ann Bannon Chronicles (2022, 18 min.) – A new interview with ""The Queen of Lesbian Pulp"" Ann Bannon
- Cinema Politica Q&A with the cast and crew (2015, 23 min.)
- EPK interview with the directors (1992, 7 min.)
- Afterword (2022, 19 min.)
- Booklet featuring reflections from subject Amanda White, along with essays by Jean Bruce, Matthew Hays, B. Ruby Rich, and Rebecca Sullivan
- Reversible cover artwork
- English SDH subtitles