“Cured” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Directors: Patrick SammonBennett Singer.

This very competently made documentary talks the fight to remove “homosexuality” as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual (it stood right next to “Pedophilia”)

It starts off with a very grabby pre-title, which is probably slightly in-your-face but very still very effective and which sets the tone for some of shocking things one is reminded off in the rest of the film. In a not too distant past, only a few decades ago, gay and lesbian people were sent to be “cure” with shock treatments, lobotomies and even castration. In some instances their memories were erased “It was like removing a chink of their”, “Like a horror movie” somebody says at some point. Needless to say, some of the archive mages from the film are hard to watch, but the stories are told with great warmth by some incredibly likeable people, most of whom lived through those times and are now the kind of grandpa or grandma one would like to have. It’s a fairly straight forward documentary, with beautiful evocative archive, talking heads and lots of graphics in the form of old photos and newspaper articles. It won’t set the world on fire, it probably runs out of steam in a few places feeling slightly repetitive but it’s still a real eye opener: an important documentary, especially when one thinks conversion centres still exists in America and in many places homosexuality is still outlawed.

Currently showing at the BFI Flare Festival


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