Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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In the 1970s and the 1980s the film industry experienced many revolutionary phenomena's, and as a result Hollywood once again became a thriving market. The 70's and 80's saw the emergence of genre revision, blaxploitation, the blockbuster movie, and the surge of independent works. It was also during these decades that gay and lesbian cinema began to flourish. This genre not only captured the eyes and ears of the gay community but the heterosexual community as well. Yet the films made by women directors were not as widely received as those made by male directors in gay cinema. Donna Deitch's Desert Hearts however was an exception. Even though it was an independent production, Desert Hearts seemed to resemble mainstream cinema, displaying lesbianism as if Hollywood made it. Yet overall the lesbian culture responded well to this romance, in part because it engaged in realistic gay social issues. The film looked at the implications of "coming out" for all lesbians and touched on the reluctance felt by many lesbians to do so.

The film also looked at the barriers many homosexuals face on their path to happiness. Even thought the film's positive ending relieved the lesbian culture, it has been criticized that it was achieved in an unrealistic manner. Desert Hearts may have touched on obstacles experienced by most homosexual couples but it seemed to depose of them too quickly. While Desert Hearts effectively conveyed the implications and reluctance surrounding the admittance of ones sexual identity, it seemed to dismiss all these too readily, opting for a happy ending rather than a realistic one In the 1970's and the 1980's gay cinema became more prevalent, this in part due to the work of gay activists, and the campaigning by feminists for women's rights (Lopez 170). As a result, society's sexual mores...