New Queer Cinema

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New Queer Cinema is a phrase applied to the wave of indie films in the early 1990's that dealt with issues of Queer culture and the coming of age in academia of Queer theory, recognizing the tyranny of the binary sexual identity norms offered to American audiences.


In 1992, Sight & Sound magazine printed an article by North American Feminist and critic, B. Ruby Rich. The article, which gathered together Rich’s experiences of, and reflections upon, the strong gay presence in the 1991 film festival circuit, effectively coined the phrase "New Queer Cinema".[1]

At this time, Queer theory and politics had begun to take hold in academic circles. Queer theory contends that "gay," and the concepts of "homosexuality" and "heterosexuality," are pre-constructed identities. Queer theory asserts that as these are the products of a specific era of social history, they are arbitrary and that there will come a time when they are no longer relevant categorizations. When Rich noted that many films were beginning to represent sexualities which were unashamedly neither fixed nor conventional, the phrase "New Queer Cinema" was coined.

New Queer Cinema movies


  • "Paris is Burning"
  • "Tongues United"


  • "Poison"
  • "My Own Private Idaho"
  • "Young Soul Rebels"
  • "R.S.V.P"
  • "Edward II"
  • "Khush"
  • "The Hours and the Times"


  • "Swoon"
  • "The Living End"

Further Reference

  • B. Ruby Rich “New Queer Cinema”: Sight & Sound, Volume 2, Issue 5 (September 1992)


  1. Aaron, Michelle (2004), New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader, Rutgers University Press, p. 3, ISBN 9780813534862, <>


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