Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Lesbian Film
Short Take: Covers the lives of lesbians in Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 1992
Duration: 85 min
Language: Canada/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Lynne Fernie, Aerlyn Weissman
Writer: Lynne Fernie, Aerlyn Weissman
Starring: Keely Moll, Stephanie Ozard, Ann Bannon, Reva Hutkin, Lois M. Stuart, Nairobi, Jeanne Healy, Amanda White, Carol Ritchie-MacKintosh, Ruth Christine, Stephanie Morgenstern, Lynne Adams, Marie-Jo Therio, George Thomas, Lory Wajnberg
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Forbidden Love The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives

Forbidden Love is creatively framed within the story of a fictional pulp novel lesbian couple from the 1950s paperbacks. With sensationalistic titles, they were most often about butch/femme relationships, with formulaic plots in which one of the women met a tragic ending or left for the love of a man.

This was the public face of the lesbian in the 1950s, but this documentary turns this stereotype on its head by interviewing real women who came out in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Through these interviews and archival footage and photographs, the real lives of lesbians in Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec come to life.

Those interviewed talk about their first times and describe how they met other women like themselves in those years. Most community life in these cities was centered in the bars, all subject to raids and police harassment. They confirm that butch and femme roles were very important in the bars and talk about their own experiences in that world. A First Nations woman also discusses not fitting in to that bar scene, which was not very inclusive of non-anglo women at that time.

Winner of the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. And our lesbian pulp novel couple in the film? They defy convention and end up happily together (in a very entertaining mini-movie in itself). Also includes an interview with novelist Ann Bannon. (AB)