Gudrun Parker

Director, Documentarist, Producer, Teacher
Lives in
Montreal , QC
Quebec CA

Director, documentarist, producer, teacher. One of the earliest women directors at the National Film Board during World War II, queer-friendly Parker was in the McLaren and Glover circle, and her gentle, practical feminism was a force behind several of the more subtextable NFB chestnuts of the 1950s. Her astute interrogations of masculinity in the age of enforced gender obedience (see Chapter 5) included above all The Stratford Adventure (1954), memorable for a dramatized cruising scene over coaching and cigarettes between bisexual stage star Alec Guinness and gorgeously queer novitiate actor Timothy Findley. But Being Different (dir. Julia Murphy, script Parker, 1957, 10) is one of the queerest Canadian films of the 1950s famine, an NFB remake of Tea and Sympathy and proto-feminist challenge to monolithic machismo and gender conformity. An elementary teacher trying to encourage nonconventional gender performativity reads aloud 12-year-old George's essay on the pleasures of butterfly catching, and his hockey-loving buddies on the paper route are merciless in their harassment of the transgressor. According to the convention of the “trigger film,” we don’t see George making up his mind, but he knows he has to choose, and no film before or after has ever so compassionately captured the cruelty—and the potential freedom—entailed in that choice. Towards the end of her career, Parker produced in the Montreal independent sector and taught film at Vanier College.