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Uncle Denis?
  • Category
    Film and Discussion
  • Date(s)
    26 February 2014
  • Time
    7:15 PM
  • Price
Uncle Denis?
Section from 'The Naked Civil Servant' book cover (Flamingo) by Quentin Crisp

Please note that this event will take place in room B20 at Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX (entrance on Torrington Square).

Director: Adrian Goycoolea (2010)

To celebrate LGBT History Month filmmaker Adrian Goycoolea introduces his short film about his Great Uncle Denis – better known as Quentin Crisp. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Matt Cook (History, Birkbeck), Daniel Monk (Law, Birkbeck) and Andrew Gorman Murray (University of Western Sydney and visiting fellow of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities).

Born Denis Charles Pratt, Quentin Crisp was a writer, an artist's model, an actor and a raconteur. He became a gay icon after the publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant in 1968, and even more of a celebrity when the book was filmed in 1975 with John Hurt in the starring role.

Filmmaker and great-nephew to Quentin Crisp, Adrian Goycoolea reflects on the relationship Quentin had to the idea of family and his family's relationship to the idea of Quentin Crisp. Through an exploration of photographs, home movies and interviews with relatives, Uncle Denis? reflects on how traditions of familial memory-making intersect with the more public image-fashioning of one of the 20th century's most determinedly self-made men. For many of his fans, Quentin was alone in the world, happily separate from heteronormative structures, and yet he kept close contact with generations of relatives. While older relations were scandalised by Quentin's open homosexuality, even younger family members felt a distance between their straight lives and Quentin's queer public persona. The film analyses the difficulty of “family” for someone like Quentin, who rejected many social and sexual conventions but nonetheless valued traditional bonds. What emerges is a complex portrait of a complicated man, featuring many, never-before seen images of Quentin Crisp.

In partnership with Birkbeck Institute of Gender and Sexuality and the Raphael Samuel History Centre.

Free admission; advance booking required


Further information

  • Telephone
    020 7392 9200

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