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These images not suitable for framing

November 10, 2002|Lynn Smith

If still photographs of the few scenes of men kissing each other in mainstream films were ever shot by on-set photographers, those images rarely find their way to mainstream publication.

The studios or distributors of "Far From Heaven," "The Rules of Attraction," "In & Out" and "Making Love" could not supply photographs of the kissing scenes from those films. (Studios routinely send out photographs of actual scenes for use with print publications' reviews, feature stories and listings.) Some scenes from older movies are available through archival research or from unofficial Web sites and photo collections.

Studio publicists said there could be many reasons such pictures aren't widely available: Movie sets are often closed to photographers when intimate scenes are shot. Independent films such as "Rules of Attraction" and "Love in the Time of Money" cannot afford to shoot every scene. Actors in the scenes must approve the photos released to publicize a movie. In the case of the recent films, the kiss does not represent the overall theme of the movie.

Others, however, see only one reason: a persistent old taboo. "The power that an image of two men kissing has to rock the boat is still enormous," said Stephen Gutwillig, executive director of Outfest, a gay and lesbian film festival in Los Angeles. "There is fear that one image will blind everyone to everything else the film may be."

-- Lynn Smith

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