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Inside Out 2022 Review: Pat Rocco Dared

June 4, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2022 Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival runs from May 26th to June 5th in Toronto, more information on tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

In their new documentary Pat Rocco Dared, co-directors Morris Chapdelaine and Bob Christie offer an enjoyable introduction to groundbreaking gay filmmaker Pat Rocco. Rocco was not only a pioneering figure in queer cinema, but also at the forefront of the gay right’s movement, capturing footage of the first ever Pride Parade held in Los Angeles to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, and filming Harvey Milk’s speeches.

Rocco’s films had ample male frontal nudity that was quite daring for the 1960s and ’70s, with such images as a naked man running down the freeway, and a nude dude jumping up and down on a pogo stick set to the Lawrence Welk music (you get the idea). But his arthouse skin flicks (which were often dubbed “cock danglers”) had a romanticism to them along with the eroticism, including a sweet portrait of male-male love filmed on the fly at Disneyland.

The documentary is framed around an interview between Rocco and Canadian queer filmmaker Charlie David, conducted at his home in Los Angeles. These moments, with the veteran filmmaker showing off his large collection of film reels and talking about specific scenes from his movies, are the best in the film. David’s interviews with Toronto artist and activist Syrus Marcus Ware and professor Whitney Strub, help to contextualize the history of Rocco’s work, but also feel somewhat overly academic.

But with plenty of tantalizing archival footage from Rocco’s many films, Pat Rocco Dared serves as an entertaining, informative, and ultimately surprisingly touching portrait of a filmmaker who truly broke down barriers through his work.

Screenings:

Saturday, June 4th – 11:45 AM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

The film is also available to stream virtually from June 4th to June 5th across Canada.

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