Race D'Ep!

Thursday, September 8, 2016, 7:30 pm
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive

2245 E Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Lionel Soukaz & Guy Hocquenghem, Race d’Ep! (The Homosexual Century), 16mm, 95 min., 1979

The infamous, nearly banned 1979 pornographic experimental documentary, Race d’Ep! (which literally translates to Breed of Faggots, previously released in English as The Homosexual Century) was made by the “father of queer theory,” Guy Hocquenghem, in collaboration with radical queer filmmaker and provocateur Lionel Soukaz. Race d’Ep! traces the history of modern homosexuality through the twentieth century, from early sexology and the nudes of Baron von Gloeden to gay liberation and cruising on the streets of Paris. Influenced by the groundbreaking work of Michel Foucault on the history of sexuality and reflecting the revolutionary queer activism of its day, Race d’Ep! is a shockingly frank, sex-filled experimental documentary about gay culture emerging from the shadows.

Race d’Ep! caused scandal when it was released in France. The film was censored and classified as a pornographic film under the “X Law.” Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Marguerite Duras, Simone de Beauvoir, Patrice Chéreau, and Cahiers du Cinéma, among others, signed a petition in defense of the film and opposing its persecution and censorship by the government. Michel Foucault wrote a letter to the Ministry of Culture on behalf of Race d’Ep!, stating that “this documentary is based on historical research whose seriousness and interest I had the chance to prove,” going on to observe, “it seems strange for a film about homosexuality to be penalized when it tries to remember the persecutions of which the Nazi regime has been responsible.”

Learn more about Race D'Ep! in Dirty Looks Volume 1, with chapter contributions by Greg Youmans, Guy Hocquenghem and Andrew Kachel.