That which is kept, named, and shown is what matters: this is what Barbara Hammer argues in Nitrate Kisses, as she spotlights the hidden and erased visual history of queers. Hammer (1939-2019) was a pioneer of experimental lesbian film and queer cinema. Her breakthrough came in 1974 with the short film Dyketactics, in which, in a groundbreaking act for the time, she presented sex from a lesbian perspective.
Nitrate Kisses is a swirling collage combining archive footage with new recordings of sometimes-explicit intimate scenes and oral testimony, in which lesbians and queers describe how they were forced to forge their own path in society from the 1930s onward. Hammer uses the archive footage to reveal neglected or silenced histories, such as that of the American author Willa Cather, of the very first American queer film Lot in Sodom (directed in 1933 by James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber), and of the lesbians in Nazi Germany who had to keep themselves hidden even after the war was over.