Age of Consent

Age of Consent
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Age of Consent

Un vivace doc, sicuro cult gay (difficile che arrivi ad un pubblico etero), di due dei più assidui frequenatori dei festival lgbt, Lun e Verow, che racconta la storia del locale “The Hoist”, primo locale gay leather aperto a Londra nel 1996 e oggi unico locale del suo genere rimasto aperto a Londra. Mentre gli autori ci raccontano la sua storia in realtà stanno raccontandoci la storia del sesso gay, dalla depenalizzazione ai successi di Grindr, (applicazione mobile per incontri gay), passando per le retate della polizia, il caso Spanner, il sesso sicuro e la Section 28. Il film, che è allo stesso tempo una storia di liberazione sessuale e un monito contro l’autocompiacimento, ci fa aprire gli occhi su molte cose, come ad esempio il fatto che ci siano stati più arresti e condanne per atti osceni più nel 1989 che nel 1966. Ci ricorda anche che la legge che mandò in prigione Oscar Wilde è stata abolita solo nel 2003. Descritto dal barista come “subdolo, sexy, sporco pisciatoio”, The Hoist ed i suoi clienti potrebbero essere visti come rappresentanti dell’opposizione alla recente politica gay d’integrazione, anche se in tempi di trasformazione e internettizzazione non è chiaro quale futuro potrà avere.



trailer: Age of Consent


This hilariously deadpan doc opens the door on something most people would describe as obscene, exploring London’s original fetish club The Hoist. But the filmmakers expand beyond the bar itself to grapple with legal issues in the UK and the impact of HIV and Aids on the gay subculture. And of course the bigger issue of a personal pursuit of happiness. Since 1996, The Hoist has offered Londoners a German-style industrial bar, and the filmmakers take us on a tour of the empty venue (with rather explicit cutaways showing us what goes on here). Each person interviewed talks in a matter-of-fact way about their job, their personal experiences and how society has slowly shifted around the venue, perhaps hinting that its days are numbered. The ultimate message is that we should enjoy our liberty while we have it. Which is a more provocative and far more important statement than we expect from a witty 88-minute documentary about a leather bar. (shadowsontheweb)


On the 21st March 1996 underneath a railway in Vauxhall, London, the UK’s first men-only rubber & leather fetish bar opened its doors. Inspired by some of the more niche clubs in Berlin, The Hoist was to be a space where men could meet and explore their sexuality in a safe and kinky environment.
The documentary by Charles Lum & Todd Verow is a fiercely proud celebration of individual freedoms and consensual sex. Combining interviews about the history of legislation and homosexuality with images of explicit gay sex and a tour of the bar – the film is clearly made for gay audiences.
Interviews with Peter Tatchell, Joseph Sonnabend and Brian Robinson provide an interesting historical context for famous injustices such as section 28, differing ages of consent and the spanner case. The most shocking fact being that the law that sent Oscar Wilde to prison (established in 1533) was only repealed in 2003!
The title of the film is a double entendre alluding to the age of sexual consent as well as the era of increased tolerance that we are living through. But the characters in the film are openly hostile to full assimilation into the political mainstream, clearly enjoying their queer status at the periphery of mainstream sexualities.
Another interesting insight that the film highlights is the tension between generations that visit the club. The older men who wear leather and talk face-to-face are in opposition to the younger men who wear sportwear and use Grindr and other apps to meet partners. This conflict suggests that even the most peripheries of subcultures can appear ‘traditional’ given enough time…
The film is likely to become an immediate cult classic, as it definitely won’t get much attention through the normal distribution channels. As a document of a time in history, it is a very interesting one. (Ollie England,

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