Montreal Main

Alternative Title: 
Montreal Main

Issues & Themes: 
Subtitle Language(s): 
  • New Cinema Enterprises

Montreal Main (dir. Vitale, scen. Moyle, 1974, 88 minutes) was an unexpected breath of fresh air in the early seventies, and stands up well thirty years later as a brave and original tale of intergenerational love and betrayal. Vitale had already been noticed within the video community for his original and sexually ambiguous episodic narrative Hitchhiking (1972). In Main, Vitale co-wrote, directed and starred as the intense bearded photographer who falls for twelve-year-old long-haired Johnny from the suburbs, whom he meets hanging out on “The Main” with his hip artist and counter-culture friends, and it’s mutual (though apparently never consummated). Amazingly well received both here and in the US (the kneejerk hysteria over intergenerational relations apparently hadn’t yet taken over), Montreal Main met an ambivalent response in the embryonic gay media of the day: TBP’s Ron Dayman (Nov./Dec. 1974) called the film a “real cocktease” in its “repressed” sense of homosexuality, leaving its audience hoping the characters “would finally come out,” but praised the way the “sensual though latent character of [the couple’s] relationship comes across beautifully” and the film’s recognition of their entrapment “in an ageist, homophobic world where freedom is impossible.”

Subject of a monograph in Arsenal Pulp Press’s Queer Film Classics series