Updated: Jul 13, 2020
On its release in 1997, Preaching to the Perverted got mixed reviews, often attacked by the “quality” press, and the negative reviewers were almost all men. Some newspapers ran scandal pieces that EU money had gone into its script development. The LGBTQ, music and fashion press were almost all supportive. There were censorship battles, becoming the last film banned in Ireland in the 20th century. It got to a handful of decent festivals after being pulled from Sundance (where I had just been told it was selected) without explanation.
A few years ago, perceptions began to change. It was mostly female critics this time, so whereas The Guardian had originally deemed the film “execrable”, it was listed by Anna Smith (Film Chair of the Critics’ Circle) as one of the Top 10 films about BDSM (and there have been dozens, before you ask!). Recently in Sight & Sound, the high temple of arthouse film criticism in UK, #AnnaBogutskaya wrote about it favourably, reviewing sadomasochistic romance in the cinema.
Providing a kinky chink of light in the pandemic, the film had its first Zoom/online cinema club event in May 2020, when Rebel Dykes History Project organised a fun screening for UK and global fans, which was followed a Q&A with star Guinevere Turner and me.
But there’s always a but. Our ad for that event and the new mobile-friendly trailer was banned by Facebook, even though the same trailer was shown around the world with a 15 certificate.