Tearoom (DIR. WILLIAM E JONES, 1962/2007)

In 1962, for two weeks, the Mansfield police (Ohio, United States) installed a hidden camera (with its respective cameraman) inside a public Bathroom. The cameramen hid in a closet and watched the clandestine activities through a two-way mirror. The film they shot was used in court as evidence against the defendants, all of whom were found guilty of sodomy, which at that time carried a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in the state penitentiary. The original surveillance footage shot by the police came into the possession of the artist Willam E Jones while researching the cases. The unedited scenes of ordinary men of various races and classes meeting to have sex were so powerful that the director decided to present the footage with a minimum of intervention. Tearoom is a radical example of film presented “as found” for the purpose of circulating historical images that have otherwise been suppressed.

1 thought on “Tearoom

  1. Surprised that after two whole months they didn’t find more to arrest. “17 arrests climax probe”. What did they wait til the came before the policeman stopped probing???

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