When one thinks of classic orientalism, one immediately thinks of evocative and sensual paintings of Ottoman luxury, such as Francisco Masriera y Manovens’s “Harem Beauty” or such literary excursions into the erotic excesses of North Africa as Pierre Loti’s Aziyadé.
Not to be neglected, however, is the homoerotic side of Orientalism, the iconic example in the visual arts being Gérôme’s “The Snake Charmer” and in literature, Gide’s El Hadj. This particular aspect of Orientalism was thought not to have been explored in cinema which, of course, is replete with examples of heterosexual orientalism, such as “The Sheik” and “The Thief of Baghdad.” However, the recent discovery by the film historian, Raleigh Beaupré, of an important work from 1934 by the Rumanian cinematographer, Cosmin Ungar, “Sand Dance”, indicates that the homoerotic strain of Orientalism did, indeed, penetrate the art of the moving picture. The only print of the Ungar work was appropriated by the National Security Agency as being too inflammatory for these dangerous times. We, however, have received a copy of “Sand Dance” from an anonymous source in the NSA and proudly present it here, deeming that Americans’ right to know supersedes whatever safety of our own we are jeopardizing by doing so. (In order to watch this masterpiece it may be necessary to click on "Watch on You Tube" below.)