This article examines a series of recent films that seeks to represent the often conflated categories of asexuality and singlehood. The films (A)sexual (dir. Angela Tucker, US, 2011), Year of the Dog (dir. Mike White, US, 2007), and Bill Cunningham New York (dir. Richard Press, US, 2010) illustrate that the binding of the asexual to the single, though seemingly misguided, can open up fruitful pathways for reimagining queer relationality. Responding in part to scholarship on singlehood and asexuality while also attending to the film studies historiography of sexuality, this essay challenges both the representability and study of these emergent types that seem legible only through their apparent lack. In its call to disassociate coupled and sexualized desire from the practice of engaging films' gender and sexual politics, this article analyzes examples in independent cinema that seek to bring longings for collectivity, without an identitarian focus, to the foreground of political consciousness. These filmic examples thus struggle to find a space for the queer collective in place of more traditional modes of coupled romance and sex. They reexamine naturalized and commonplace narratives of sexual fulfillment that are taken for granted in most liberal and even in more radical queer politics. In the end, these films incisively critique definitions of romance and love by extending them beyond oversaturated normative connotations and into the less defined—potentially more public—terrains of collectivity, friendship, and even interspecies affinities, giving spectators glimpses into queer existential and political formations outside of a predominantly LGBT framework.
Marc Francis; The Asexual-Single and the Collective: Remaking Queer Bonds in (A)sexual, Bill Cunningham New York, and Year of the Dog. Camera Obscura 1 May 2016; 31 (1 (91)): 27–63. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-3454419
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