Murray Markowitz


Director. Heterosexual Markowitz’s claim to fame in this volume is as director of August and July (1973, 92). A commercial feature film coming out of the late sixties cinéma vérité aesthetic, this documentary narrative of a month in a country farmhouse with two women in love raised a lot of expectations and then dashed them. TBP’s Linda K. Koch was typical: “I went to see August and July genuinely wanting to be shown something by this film–I left, having been shown how not to make a movie, and still waiting for the first Canadian lesbian movie (No. 8 Spring 1973).” The film’s sensationalist publicity blitz belied the “serious” nature of this attempt to probe a relationship through observation and improvisation, which meant that in order to get to the skinny dipping and sex scenes you had to listen to hours of relationship wrangling. Markowitz, who made four other features in the 1970s before disappearing from view, candidly admitted to the energy of jealousy in interviews. Cinema Canada’s presumably straight reviewer hit the nail on the head:

"August and July
has a slight perversion to it... that of allowing men who are totally bewildered by lesbianism to thrust aggressive-yet-frightened cameras into the lives of two women–whose reality they could not and would not accept" (Ibranyi-Kiss 1973).

Still it’s an important document of a lifestyle lesbianism of the immediate post-Stonewall period, a time when people actually said things to each other like “Making love to a woman isn’t having a fuck you know. It has to be a very powerful force that attracts two women together.” Thirty years later, the film feels as interminable and annoying as it felt in 1973, with the now-distant 1973 post-“flower child” narcissistic sensibility now making it seem like a diabolical parody. Those waiting for “the first Canadian Lesbian movie” would have to wait at least another decade.