Harvey Milk's words will come to haunt
us all now, for sure.
The gay rights pioneer who is featured
in the Gus Van Sant biopic film Milk will have a second debut
of sorts at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
In the short film 575 Castro Street,
the set of the Castro Camera Store used in the film plays as visual
backdrop to the contents of a recording made by Milk just a few weeks
after his election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors made him
one of the first openly gay elected men in the United States. The
audio cassette labeled “In Case” has been whittled down to just
under six minutes.
Olson's no-frills visuals of the camera store that Milk built helps
the viewer focus on Milk's haunting words being played thirty years
after his murder.
“This is Harvey
Milk,” the audio begins, “speaking from the camera store on the
evening of Friday November 18. This is to be played only in the
event of my death by assassination. I fully realize that a person
who stands for what I stand for ... an activist – gay activist –
becomes the target or the potential target for somebody who is
scared, terrified, afraid or very disturbed themselves.”
reflections from passing cars seen through the window of the camera
shop are the only visible signs of movement in an otherwise still
“I have never
considered myself a candidate,” Milk later says, “I have always
considered myself part of a movement. Part of a candidacy. I
consider the movement the candidate.”
Milk says that what
he would like to see is for gays and lesbians to have the courage to
be free and open about their sexuality. “Coming out ... That would
do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody could ever imagine
... Come out ... Only that way will we start to achieve our rights.”
And closes with the
dream that the gay movement, which was just starting to reach for the
light of day the night he recorded himself in 1977, continues to
grow. “Because last week I got that phone call from Altoona,
Pennsylvania. And my election gave somebody else, one more person,
hope. And after all that's what it's all about. It's not about
personal gain, it's not about ego, it's not about power. It's about
giving those young people out there in Altoona, Pennsylvanias hope.
You gotta give 'em hope.”
On the Net: View
the short at 575 Castro Street.