Lee Campbell

The Tale of Benny Harris (2022)

About this work

Through the slang language of Polari, used by gay men in Britain to communicate covertly at a time when it was harder to be queer in public, Campbell’s short film tells the tale of a fictional character called Benny Harris. In Polari, ‘bene aris’ translates to ‘[a man with a] nice bum’. Whilst Polari is commonly associated with ‘camp’ performers like comedian Kenneth Williams, and is as such often considered effeminate—a common stereotype applied to gay men—The Tale of Benny Harris subverts gender, masculinity and identity, most notably when a ‘butch’ policemen reveals he is gay by speaking in Polari to Benny.

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