FILM LOVE #54
TEAROOM: a document presented by William E. Jones filmmaker in attendance Friday, February 22, 2008
Co-sponsored by Outwrite
Bookstore and The Office of LGBT Life, Emory University. In addition, Film
Love is grateful to the generosity of several Atlanta individuals who helped
make this event possible.
still from Tearoom,
courtesy William E. Jones
and away the most historically revelatory work of art I've encountered all year"
- Michael Sicinski,
In Mansfield, Ohio, 1962, police hid behind a two-way mirror in a public
restroom and filmed the men who had sex there - the so-called "tearoom trade."
They used this film footage to arrest and prosecute some sixty men under the
Ohio sodomy law. Black and white, rich and poor, prominent businessmen and
street hustlers - "all had one thing in common," wrote police chief John P.
Butler. "They were all going to jail."
While researching this sting operation for a documentary,
filmmaker William E. Jones came into possession of the unedited footage shot by
the police. Using this footage with very little intervention, he created the
Race, class, and sex; surveillance, voyeurism, and justice; hatred, desire, and
authoritarianism - the haunting and surprising imagery of Tearoom raises many
issues even as it provides a shocking history lesson. But Tearoom is a document,
not a documentary - its power and complexity comes from the fact that the
footage is unedited. A work both
ominous and poignant, Tearoom has been selected as a featured work in the 2008
Film Love is proud to host William E. Jones for this special screening. Jones
will be on hand to introduce the film, answer questions and debut the new book
on Tearoom, published by 2nd Cannons Press and featuring over 100 frame
enlargements from the film as well as many historical documents relating to the
"fascinating and important...to watch the film is to be torn between angered
solidarity with the subjects and feverish speculation about the varying levels
of hypocrisy on view" - San Francisco Bay Guardian
More information on the film, as well as historical documents, can be found at
the police surveillance footage seen in Tearoom, courtesy William E. Jones
police cameramen in the
Program: William E. Jones, Tearoom
(1962/2007), 56 minutes, 16mm film transferred to video, color, silent
Tearoom is a Film Love event. The Film Love series provides access to rare but
important films, and seeks to increase awareness of the rich history of
experimental and avant-garde film. The series is curated and hosted by Andy
Ditzler for Frequent Small Meals. Film Love was voted Best Film Series in
Atlanta by the critics of Creative Loafing in 2006.
290 Martin Luther King
Jr Dr Suite 8, Atlanta, GA, 30312