For October we’re celebrating the first widely-released film to feature a positive lesbian relationship on screen: no one is self-destructive, drinks to excess, or morosely pines for straight girls! Directed by Donna Deitch (who is planning a sequel), this breakthrough movie is set in 1959, as a Columbia University literature professor (Helen Shayer) arrives in Reno to divorce her husband. Staying at a local ‘divorce ranch’ in the Nevada desert, she meets a free-spirited casino worker and potter (Patricia Charbonneau), who opens her heart to self-acceptance, sensual exploration, and love.
US, 1986, 97 min.
Directed by Donna Deitch. Screenplay by Natalie Cooper, based on the novel by Jane Rule.
Cast: Helen Shayer, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley.
“Deitch’s refusal to feature the straight world’s reaction to lesbianism as the focus of her film makes all the difference…” – Vito Russo, The Celluloid Closet.