On June 28, 1969, following a police raid of the Greenwich Village LGBT bar Stonewall Inn, a riot broke out around the neighborhood that continued into the following evening. The upheaval is commonly treated as the beginning of the contemporary gay rights movement. As with many accounts of history, the clear demarcation—as if the lights were suddenly flipped on—doesn’t entirely hold water under close scrutiny, but the Stonewall Riots have become a useful point of reference as well as a symbol. The Film Society’s repertory series “A Clue to the New Direction: Queer Cinema Before Stonewall,” curated by FSLC programmer at larger Thomas Beard, takes these events as an opportunity to explore multiple histories of queer cinema through a variety of Hollywood, experimental, nonfiction, and foreign films. Digital Editor Violet Lucca discussed the films, and the history, with Mark Harris, film historian and columnist for Vulture; Michael Koresky, director of publications at the Metrograph Theater; and Manuel Betancourt, FC contributor.

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Published by the Film Society of Lincoln Center since 1962, Film Comment is a bimonthly magazine and daily website that features in-depth reviews, critical analysis, and feature coverage of mainstream, art-house, and avant-garde filmmaking from around the world.