Michael McGarry

Director, Filmmaker
January, 1989

Director. SFU-trained filmmaker McGarry is important chiefly for one all but forgotten film. In Black and White (Vancouver, 1979, 10), one of the handful of Canadian queer film masterpieces of the 1970s, is an experimental short from the SFU film programme, a manifesto of liberation politics, postmodern aesthetics, and defiant erotics. Narratively speaking, two young men, one married and the other an “out” seventies clone, meet in a public toilet and have hot sex, but they’re caught through video surveillance. McGarry stepped into the clone role when his actor for this student production didn’t show, and his straight cameraman played the married hottie with real conviction (see Chapter 8). McGarry was to move to Toronto and die of AIDS, with only one apparent followup to his masterpiece: the poetic film The Front Lawn, also ten minutes long, was inspired by queer anarchist Spanish playwright Arrabal and completed posthumously in 1990 by McGarry’s SFU classmates for Vancouver’s Moving Images Distribution. The Front Lawn featured Pietà-like choreography by a female-male couple against a variety of urban and natural cliff-like backdrops: the male dancer was McGarry’s life partner Jorge Hoguin, who also died of AIDS.