On August 4th proposition 8 was overturned in the state of California.

The decision to overturn the ban on gay marriage was a landmark victory in the campaign for equal rights in the US; however, the fight to change the law is representative of the prejudice and discrimination still inherent in modern society towards homosexual couples.

Proposition 8 effectively stated that to be in a homosexual relationship was wrong. The ban, which was described by Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger as “unconstitutional”, only recognised the existence of heterosexual relationships in churches; schools and adoption agencies.

The fight by human rights campaigners to overturn Prop 8 has highlighted the importance of films such as Bent, which examine the extreme effects of an intolerant society on homosexual relationships.

BENT, a faithful adaptation of the original Martin Sherman’s play of the same name, explores themes of discrimination and homophobia in society. The film features mesmerising performances from Ian Mckellen, Mick Jagger, Paul Bettany, Jude Law and Mark Webber in story which recounts the fate of three homosexual men during the rise of Nazism.

Clive Owen plays Max a work camp prisoner in Nazi Germany who falls in love with another prisoner Horst (Lothaire Bluteau). In a poignant scene Max breaks down to ask his lover a question which, even in today’s society, is sadly uttered by those in homosexual relationships;

“I love you, and what’s so wrong with that?”

Bent remains a harrowing but inspirational tale of struggle against oppression which continues to educate new generations in the dangers of discrimination.

BENT is released on DVD on 6th September 2010

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