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Ga-myeon (Korean) [Rainbow Eyes]

When I started watching the film, I was excited to see that it is going to be a murder mystery but all along the way, I also kept wondering how does this film fit in the gay film bucket. My doubts were soon put to rest as the plot starts unfolding. The climax took me completely by surprise. I was not expecting it. I wish the movie had better subtitles because it seemed like a lot was being lost in translation. Not to be mean but it also took me sometime to get used to all the characters. They looked pretty similar, specially all the detectives (5-6 of them) an trying to differentiate on who's who takes up a lot of time. Kyeong-yoon and his female long-term colleague Eun-ju work on an especially gruesome case. The victim has been stabbed multiple times and the crime scene has blood all over it. Although the killer has erased his tracks very carefully, the detectives find some evidences which makes them to believe that the victim could be gay and that the culprit must have blood t

Beau Travail (French)

Another one of those films which needs immense patience to watch it. I have that at times and then there are times when I just can't wait for a film to finish. Unfortunately, when I saw this film, I was in the second category. Reading reviews online tells me that this film is supposed to be a masterpiece but I nowhere felt that. In fact I dont even know why this film is classified as gay cinema. Yes, there are naked fit men all over but that itself doesn't qualify it for gay cinema. Galoup is an officer at a French Foreign Legion outpost in the Gulf of Dijbouti, where he enjoys a close relationship with the Commanding Officer and works with a team of fit young men who work hard all day and play hard all night. When Sentain, a new recruit, joins the troops, Galoup believes that it upsets the delicate balance between the C.O. and the other men. Sentain is well-liked by his comrades for his good humor and selfless nature, and his virtues make him the C.O.'s new favorite. Galo

Out In The Silence (Documentary)

"Out in the Silence" is an earnest work. The low-key film-making is not dazzling or kinetic; however, the subject is important and worthy of study. Yes, it is predictable but is surprising at the same time. How much ever we think we are growing in terms of our thinking, the fact is there are still so any small towns and so many people that would do anything against homosexuals. Joe Wilson, a resident of Washington, DC, where same-sex marriage is legal, weds his partner. Perhaps in a conscious desire to stir the pot in his hometown, Oil City, Pennsylvania, he sends a wedding notice to the local newspaper. Predictable hate-filled letters to the editor are received and published. Help comes in the form of Kathy who is a mother of a young teenage boy CJ who happens to be gay and who is constantly bullied at school. They meet and Kathy tells Joe all the details about CJ and how suddenly he no longer is a school jock but just a faggot. Joe's interactions with local pastor i

Boys On Film 7: Bad Romance

Opting to explore the darker side of love, this collection of short films alternates between dark desires and sweet affection. Some of the works arrive with a twist in their tale, whilst others are somewhat low in gay visibility, if high in humanity. Curious Thing (USA) This film sets out to examine the lives of gay men in NYC in this opening part. Exploring the growing bond between two men, both straight to the world, but equally aware of their burgeoning feelings for each other, emotions are set to test the boundaries of their friendship when one realizes he is gay and other is not. I think this short was beautiful. Cake And Sand (Germany) Tim and Julian’s relationship would seem to be the envy of many. Yet behind all the smiles, lies the reality that their relationship spark is no more. Knowing such, both are determined to re-light the romantic flame, only are their loving efforts to be in vain? This poignant piece raises the question of when exactly does love die? Beautiful. W

Ten Indian Short Gay Movies

This one has to be some of the worse acted and directed shorts that I have seen. Agreed, some of the story concepts are very interesting for short films but they are handled so amateurishly, that it is a little embarrassing to watch. The only high point is that at there is a start and Indians are starting to make shorts (maybe even features) on gay themes. A Clouded Sky - A recently out gay man wants to commit suicide because he is fed up of everything. HIs best friend is trying to stop him but he gives all incidents which are reason enough for him to take this step. A Hidden Identity - A young boy walks through his normal life but is in closet. When he comes out, everyone reacts very negative and he ends up taking his own life. Astitva - A young eunuch boy is looking for identity. He ends up joining the eunuch group in search of his identity to see where he fits in the best. Gay - 2 homeless men are shivering in blistering cold sharing just one thin blanket. The only way

Mannen Som Elsket Yngve (Norwegian) [The Man Who Loved Yngve]

What i liked best about this film that it was not your regular run-of-mill coming of age story. It was a film with maturity and a very authentic feel to it in which many of the scenes and the characters were handled. Till now it is very hard for me to say whether our lead character was bi, gay or even just straight. There are moments when you just fall in love with a person. There is no reason behind it, sometimes sex of the person doesn't even matter. You just feel a connection and this film tries to give us a portrayal of that. Jarle is a regular teenager, who is a part of a band with 2 of his good friends. He also has a girlfriend with whom he is very much in love with. Enter Yngve, a new student in the class and for some strange reason, Jarle gets instantly attracted to him. He wants to do everything that Yngve does, so much so that he starts missing his rock band practices and even starts avoiding his girlfriend. Till this point, Yngve has not given any hint that his either g

Father And Son (Russian)

Another one of the recent weird films that I have been seeing. This film has absolutely no plot and there are scenes that just go on and on and on for a long time without giving much push to the story. The camera loves the two lead actors to the extent that I simply could not figure out if paternal love was crossing over into incest or just homo-eroticism. Father and the son live alone in a rooftop apartment in their own private world and are very close to each other. The extent of closeness is never fully explained. Following in his father's footsteps, Alexei attends military school. He likes sports, tends to be irresponsible and has problems with his girlfriend. But his girlfriend cannot fathom the closeness between the father and son. Enter another guy who is supposedly the son of the father's old friend. He enters their life and slowly their world starts to change wherein the father is first close to this new boy and then the son become the friend. The film goes on for a w

Gay Short Films : 10

Real Fiction (USA) Zack and AJ are a couple. Zack wants to make it big in the writer's world but to get his book noticed, he will have to sleep with an old guy Damien and continue till he succeeds. He takes this offer up after discussing with AJ but this soon starts to strain their relationship. The end is sad where AJ ends up killing Damien because of jealousy and gets arrested and meanwhile Zack has now lost his glory, his love and his family. Classic tale of ambition. This story if done well could have ended being a full fledged film but the short story leaves a lot to be desired. (4/10) Who Leads (USA) Within a few hours, one couple ends and another begins. Adam is leaving Trent, ending their dysfunctional relationship. Jordan, a mover and recent San Francisco transplant, crosses paths with their roommate Spencer. Their intense connection is questioned as they watch the disintegration of Adam and Trent. Who leads when four men come together? Interesting concept but it too

Randy And The Mob

This film was supposed to be a low budget comedy with mob plots. It could have been interesting but there was something that was missing from the film. Maybe I will figure that out by the time i have finished writing this review. I would also like to mention that this is not primarily a gay cinema. There is an important gay couple and an important character but that itself does not make this film qualified for gay cinema but I can still review it here.  A good old boy from the middle-class suburbs of Atlanta becomes indebted to the mob. Randy is about as American as baseball and apple pie. Randy's wife is a clinically depressed baton teacher who also suffers from a painful case of carpal tunnel syndrome, and his identical twin brother, Cecil, is openly homosexual. When Randy runs into financial trouble, he seeks a quick fix by borrowing money from some local mobsters. Unfortunately for Randy, all his businesses are still making very little money. Franco, a loan shark for the mob, w

Donne-Moi La Main (French/Spanish) [Give Me Your Hand]

This movie was a sort of road-rip movie. Hitchhiking, walking, on road, running etc to their destination, the principal characters take us through their journey. A film of very few words, the film is shot beautifully but it could definitely had been better. The writing of the film left a lot to be desired. The director spends way too much time showing the boys walking down a road, walking through a forest, walking through a field, walking and more walking. A little bit is ok but when it becomes to the extent of self obsession, that harms a film. Antoine and Quentin, twin brothers and both young, stubborn and determined. They want to hitchhike to their mother's funeral in Spain. Antoine finds occasional pleasure in girls but Quentin keeps himself busy in his drawings. The hardships of this trip starts to take a toll on the already strained relationship of the brothers but they both agree to working in a farm the necessary days to pay for a train ticket to Spain. One night, Quentin

Le temps qui reste (French) [Time To Leave]

This film very beautifully addresses that earth-shattering moment of being informed that death is imminent and shows us how one character copes with that information and how it changes his remaining days and his history of relating to others. It is touching, empathetic, very loving and at some or the other point, you will be able to connect with this film with some event from your own life, maybe someone whom you know.  Romain is a handsome and successful fashion photographer who lives with his lover Sasha, but is somewhat estranged from his family. For some reason he cannot relate to his pregnant sister Sophie despite his mother's pleading and his father's distance. During a fashion shoot Romain faints, is taken to the doctor who informs him he has metastatic cancer for which there is little hope and that he will live past a few months. Romain opts to go without treatment and begins to face his remaining life with silent gloom. Romain decides to quit his job, tells Sasha to le

Mon Voyage d'hiver (French) [My Winter Journey]

If you insomniac this movie may be the cure you're looking for. The narrator is driving across Germany. During the drive he talks and talks. If his ideas aren't enough to put you sleep then his voice will. And then he stop talking for a few minutes and you can see some nice scenery with a soft music. Basically this formula repeats itself. Vincent Dieutre is accompanied by a close friend's teenage son on a trip to Berlin and in the process reminisces about his life as a gay man in this 2003 autobiographical documentary. Dieutre and his traveling companion, Itvan, visit numerous friends and landmarks, all holding special meaning to the 40-year-old filmmaker as they make their way to the German capital. As the pair grows closer as friends, Dieutre also takes on a paternalistic relationship with the boy as he details his own journey of self discovery -- partially to assist Itvan with his own adult transformation, but also as a means for Dieutre's own legacy to endure. Th

Friends And Lovers

There have been quite a few films that depict loneliness in a gay man's life. There are also films that have shown a gay man's obsession for a straight guy. This film combines these 2 elements and tries to present something different. How I wish, the director would have succeeded in doing so. There were so many questions unanswered and so many scenes that did not fit in which we will talk about in a little bit more detail further. Lets talk about the story first.  Jim is a pretty lonely man with a man of routine. He has somehow accepted his life which also includes his disapproving father and continue with it. A change comes in his life when he meets a waitress Claire at the restaurant where he frequents. They have instant connection in arts and start hanging out. Jim fears a strong connection with a woman and when Claire declares her love for him, he sinks deeper into isolation and loneliness. Around the same time, when his car breaks down, Jim meets Tom, a mechanic, a man of

A Lower Power

This film can best be described as a film about an individual who has his ways to self alienating people and friends. I am really not too sure what to make of this film. What was the message or point of the film. It feels as if we are seeing chapters of the life of a gay man coming to terms with his emerging sexuality who cannot deal with the battle between his mind and heart (something which we all have dealt with). Thibodeaux lives with his parents and can't wait to get out of there. His parents are very open about their life. When neither the geeky, introverted sanity of his friend Steve nor the advice of torturously heterosexual stud buddy Mas provide an easy answer, Thibodeaux sets off on his own to college, where he hangs with bubbly Emmy and seeks a sexless social life. But Thibodeaux's chastity strategies meet their match in Todd, a cocksure biker and Old English scholar who teaches Thibodeaux the power of passion. Even as Todd unleashes Thibodeaux's appetites and o

A Change Of Heart [Promises & Lies]

In 1998, when this film was released on TV, I am sure it must have made a good impact. In those days, being gay was not talked about openly (at least not that I know of). And to top that, it is not about a struggling teenager. Instead the drama is heightened by the fact that the lead character is a happily married man. The film is apparently based on a true story. Elaine has been happily married for 20 years to Jim. A successful doctor, she has two beautiful teenagers, a stable career and two houses: one in the city and one in the country. However, her life is shattered in an instant when she discovers that Jim is having an affair with a man. She reacts very strongly to the whole truth and so does her colleagues. It is not only their personal lives that gets affected but it is also the professional life of both the characters. With this realization, both the teenage son and daughter are no struggling to accept the truth. The mother initially heart-broken tries her best to keep the fam

KickOff (UK)

This film could have been one of those guilty pleasures fun gay ride but the film was bad on many grounds. I think the film-makers tried to squeeze in a little too much into this story. They wanted everything - nudity, hot guys, every guy's story, gay liking straight, straight closet gay etc etc. Overall the impact is pretty minimal and leaves a lot to be desired. This is the best and worst day of Archer’s life.  Finally captain of his own gay football team, this ex-soldier has the chance to break boundaries and stereotypes. But his rebellious team has brought along a posse of flamboyant supporters plus his well-meaning but clueless boyfriend has designed a neon pink team strip... size Xtra small. And they up against hardest most cheatingest team in East London for their first match. On the other side, captain Adam is having his own problems: A twitchy goalie on the run from the feds, a coke-fiend midfielder and a Beckham wannabe pretty boy strker with the ball-busting bitch girlf

Gay Short Films : 09

In Between Men (USA) In Between Men follows four friends in NYC who live "in between" a gay world, whose cliches they don't relate to, and a straight world they don't belong to. They are successful, professional men not defined by their sexuality. Through wild adventures, racy story lines, joys and pains, underscored by the pulse of New York City. From acting to story to presentation, this one is pretty bad. It is nothing but a guilty pleasure but at least it did make history by being the first gay web series. (2/10) Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho (Brazil) [I Don't Want to Go Back Alone] I absolutely loved this film. 15 year old blind teenager Leonardo is good friends with Giovana. She is his best friend and drops him home every evening from school. A new guy Gabriel joins the school and Leonardo's life changes. He starts accompanying them and Leonardo starts to have feelings for him. Giovana has o struggle with finding out about this new found feeling of h

Before Night Falls (English/Spanish)

The fact that this film had Javier Bardem was the primary reason for me to watch this film. I had no clue that this film was based on a real character of that of late Reinaldo Arenas, Cuba's most charismatic literary voices. The film is made in a documentary way and it touches on his childhood, but concentrates on the '60s and '70s, during which time Arenas was considered a counter-revolutionary by the Cuban government because of his writing, as well as his homosexuality.  As a young man, Arenas is singled out by his teachers and encouraged to further his skills as a writer -- no easy task, considering the Castro regime's censorship of any work considered to be subversive or anti-authoritarian. Still, the author manages to smuggle his work out of the country through friends, who arrange for one of his novels to be published in France. Not only persecuted for his creative beliefs, the openly gay Arenas is jailed on a bogus sex charge; he escapes internment only to be ca

Finding Mr. Wright

This one was a pretty lame movie. I am so glad that I did not waste my time in the Philly QFest on this film and rather watched it in the comforts of my home on dvd. At least I was able to take breaks and yawn and be amused at stupidity and absurdity of the film and the characters. The acting was so pathetic especially for Eddy, it just blew my mind. As much as I would like to promote indie films, it is senseless films like this that just dont cut the deal with me. Clark is a work-obsessed gay man who seemingly has it all. Not only is he one of the hottest young men in West Hollywood, he has managed to turn his first client, Eddy Malone, an eccentric party girl, into one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood. He throws a dinner party at his new condo and invites his friends and colleagues, including TJ, a powerhouse lesbian publicist, who's quickly losing patience with Eddy's wild ways. With TJ comes longtime friend, Pierce, a slightly awkward, down to Earth, spirit

Ssang-hwa-jeom (Korean) [A Frozen Flower]

This movie was a visual treat and complete with all emotions of love, romance, drama, betrayal, angst, war, everything. The costumes, the sets, the acting, cinematography, everything was spot on. I had absolutely no expectations from the film but I must say that I was completely bowled over by the film. As the story was progressing, more and more surprises were thrown and it completely kept me hooked. The story though fictional was very new and something that I always appreciate. The film is set in Goryego dynasty. The king when younger had appointed personally selected 36 young boys to be trained as bodyguards. When they get older, king gets fascination for Hong Lim and he favors him. Hong Lim is the chief of the bodyguards. Him and the king some a lot of quality time together including sleeping with each other. With the arrival of the queen, pressure mounts on royal family to produce an heir, otherwise a successor from outside will be appointed. But the king is completely gay, do

Amphetamine (Cantonese)

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie. A lot of people who saw it at the Qfest said nice things about it. I purposely did not see it in the festival since I wanted to watch it on dvd. For some reason this film looked to me like a more homo-erotic film rather than a one with stories and emotions. The film kept going in and out of being good to bad to doesn't make sense. But it still was an interesting view into the Hong Kong gay life. Daniel, an openly gay banker can't decide whether to stay in Hong Kong or return back to Australia until he meets Kafka. Kafka is a straight swimming instructor. Somehow the 2 men develop a bond of friendship, admiration and even love for each other but Kafka cannot get physically intimate with Daniel which he doesn't mind because he is in search of true love. Kafka is a rebel and has a troubled past which we later find out that when he was trying to save a girl, he was raped by 4 men and left to die and this is the reason he can

Gay Short Films : 08

Cappuccino (Switzerland) Despite his marginal and extrovert looks, Jeremie is a shy teenager who keeps a heavy secret: his homosexuality. While trying to find his way between his classmate and sexual fantasy Damien and his very generous but protective mother Gina, his life is about to change. A mother's love, despite her own misfortune, is expressed in a very subtle way. The title of the movie somehow did not go that well with the story. (4.5/10) Caught (USA) In 1962, police use camera surveillance to capture sex deviants in a public park. Based on a true story set in Ohio town that filmed gay men when film surveillance was very new. Lester visits the public restroom and tries to make friends, while on hidden camera by the police. A lot of people get arrested by the cops but some lucky people like Lester get lucky. (6.5/10) Little Love (USA) This film explores what happens when a new guy to the town gets very friendly with a gay couple and in moments of heat/friendship en

Férfiakt (Hungarian) [Men In Nude]

The title of this film cannot be more misleading. Not only was there no nudity wrt men (by which I mean , no frontal nude shots), the title itself had absolutely no relevance to the film. I took a break from watching gay films after the Philly film festival hoping that when I start watching movies again, I will pick the ones which will be meaningful, entertaining and relevant. This film clearly did not belong into any of these categories. I am hoping the results will be better next time. Tibor is 49 year old aging writer married to a narcissistic actress who is out for work most of the time. One night he surprises himself by taking home an effeminate young street thug / hustler named Zsolt who comes out of nowhere and literally forces himself on Tibor. Always straight, there is something about Zsolt that he cannot resist and they start having an affair. Things start taking an awkward turn when his wife comes back. They need to find new places to meet. Because of this love, passion a

Going Down in La-La Land

This movie was definitely a surprise. Closing night film of the Q-Fest, somehow when I read the synopsis, I thought this film be more on the lines of a wannabe comedy but I was very wrong. This film was actually very realistic, to an extent scary as well specially for actors who wanna make it big in the big bad world of hollywood. It shows the dark realities of what goes on behind those closed doors, how people exploit one another and how once you get sucked in, there is no way out. Adam has recently moved from NY to LA and is living with his best gal-pal Candy, who once used to be a wannabe actress but all she now does is think of obscure projects to make more money. Her finances are stabilized only because of her fiance. Once the fiance storms out in anger, Adam becomes permanent room mate and now he needs to find a job. He tries a couple of jobs but none goes well. When he is cruised by Nick at the gym, he offers him an office job at a gay porn film office where Nick works as a p

Romeos (German)

The Q-Fest this year has definitely been better than last couple of years. Surprisingly, the number of lesbian and transgendered movies have also seen a raise in this years film festival and thank god that most of hem have been good ones. I will see these movies any-day over crap, really pathetic gay movies. FTM transition and a love story woven between this, the film is definitely a great debut from the director. This film shows us the mindset of people transitioning and how it affects their relations with family, friends and of course how they go about finding love. This has been done in a very subtle manner. Lucas is a 19 year old FTM. He is on hormone replacement therapy and still has breasts that keep him bound and hidden. He is invariable put in a female dorm while doing community service. He is stressed there and wants to move to male dorm as soon as possible. In this time, his lesbian friend Ine is always with him and keeping his secret safe with her. Lured by Ine and his new

Mangus!

I am still not very sure why was this film shown as part of the LGBT film festival in Philadelphia. A couple of characters are gay but hen that has become a very common phenomenon in recent films. It is no big deal. In any case, that doesn't take away from the fact that was a guilty pleasure to watch the trailer park white trash story which brings smile to your face and often brings the house down with laughter as well. I am glad they did make Mangus' character a pity boy.  Mangus has always had one dream; to play Jesus Christ in the musical spectacular in his high school drama thereby following the footsteps of his dad and grandfather. He lives with his father and step mom (who by the way is hilarious in a weird way in the film). When he gets selected for the part, he celebrates with his friends and get in an accident which leaves him crippled and thereby he looses the part to a gay flamboyant son of the mayor of the town. When his father has to leave town for war, the step mo

Auf der Suche (German) [Looking For Simon]

I read somewhere online that this is a thriller but of a different kind. I can't disagree more. This is nowhere close to being a thriller. It is a tale of a mother looking for her son and in the process discovering things about him, his friends and even her own relationship with her son. This film ultimately ends up being a soul search rather than a search for an actual person. Not sure how many actually this kind of genre in the gay cinema but nevertheless it was a decent viewing. Simon has been missing for only a week but it is enough to get his mother Valerie worried. She has travelled from Germany to South France and has also called her son's ex boyfriend Jens to help her out in searching for her son. High-strung and fearing the worse, Valerie has barely accepted her son’s gayness and having his former boyfriend around only adds to her stress. Jens has his own mixed feelings for his ex. He takes excursions in search of nightly casual sex where he encounters an Arab boy who

Tomboy (French)

Gender identity has rarely been explored with tender care and nurture in queer cinema before. This is such a sweet, heartfelt story of a young girl who just wants to be a boy. She doesn't understand the implications etc but just wants to be a boy. The film is poignant and humorous at times and filled with very believable performances.  Ten year old Laure, is moving with her parents and 6 year old sister to a new town. She spends time baby sitting for her sister because her mother is pregnant. She usually dresses up like a boy. Looking to play with the children from the same apartment complex, she meets Lisa to whom she tells that her name is Mikael. They both start hanging out and even with other kids of the building and a mutual crush develops. Mikael is now enjoying playing with boys, manly games and even taking his short off while playing. Soon her kid sister also joins the fun and addresses Laure as her brother in front of other kids. When the mother finds out about this, she

Dirty Girl

First of all I fail to understand why would this film be shown in a LGBT film festival. Agreed that one of the 2 characters happens to be gay but still the story is primarily about Danielle, a perfectly straight girl. The gay guy just happens to be his side kick and yes there is a mall parallel track. I have nothing against the movie, at least not till I finish writing the review but I was disappointed by the choice of this film for QFest.  Danielle is a dirty 'slut' girl in the Oklahoma high school. She does not mind sleeping with every boy in the class. She is angry at the world specially her mother because she never mentioned to Danielle about her father. She meets Clarke, a fat and obese gay guy whose father gives him a hard time for everything he does and fail and specially anything to do with being gay, when the two of them are forced to do a school project as a team where they have to act parents to a flour bag and write a project report. Danielle suggests that they run

Longhorns

I dunno why but I had very minimal expectations from this film. Somehow the title, story or even the actors were connecting with me after watching the preview but of course I still had to watch this film. It was actually not all that bad. Set in 80's film takes a hilarious look at a group of friends. Agreed that this is no oscar worthy movie or anything but I have seen much worse gay cinema, so in comparison this one did not turn out to be bad at all. he setting is a Texas college circa 1982 where big hair, loud shirts and cowboy boots are considered high fashion. Kevin is a straight frat-boy who enjoys bonding with fellow schoolmates. He does not even mind helping out his friend Justin once a while. But things change when he meets sexy and charming openly gay Cesar. Kevin starts hanging out with him and his heart starts beating for him and of course Cesar is also falling for Kevin. Too many encounters suddenly make Kevin confuse and he sets out for a weekend full of beer and wome

eCupid

These brainless dead "comedies" are the kind of films that sometimes makes me wonder why do I come to these film festivals. This is an excellent example of a wannabe film. Except a few laughs here and there on some dialogues, this film is a pretty bad attempt at making something illogical and ridiculously absurd. Just putting in hot men, some hot scenes and a real life full on plastic surgery commercial actress in the end will not bring the audience. But at the same time I think that many gay men have not really branched out to see all the beautiful wonderful gay films out there that the expectation they have is very low and they enjoy these mindless , so called entertainers.  Marshall and Gabriel have been together for 7 years and now their relationship is getting stale. Marshal is cocky and very physical but Gabe always pretends tp be tied and busy and has to work. He is also turning 30 and needs some thrill and something new in life. He starts looking online and finds an a