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Showing posts from May, 2020

Boys On Film 20: Heaven Can Wait

And the 20th volume in the series is out there. Every volume has a theme and most short films follow that strictly but to be honest, I am not really sure what "Heaven Can Wait" means. I didn't find a pattern, but then who cares. It was quite a decent collection after all. Chromophobia (Tunisia) A beautiful animation charting the life of a gay man in Tunisia; his childhood, his self-discovery, his first love and the consequences when this is uncovered within his conservative community. Sleepover (Sweden) When Emil stays over in his friend Adam’s bed after a night at the cinema, there’s a tension in the air, and unspoken feelings are on the tip of his tongue. A film about friendship and the longing for something more. Cute but unsatisfying. Just Me (UK) Scott is preparing for his future with his wife-to-be, but when policeman Connor arrives on his doorstep this reignites feelings Scott had tried to bury. Consumed by the idea of what could have been, Scott finds

Straight Up

A brainy screwball comedy film would the best way to describe this film. The dialogues in this are spoken so soft that its really easy to lose track of what exactly is being discussed here. Stories like these are a new brand of cinema, which may not be everyone's cup of tea. It all depends on how well the treatment of the film. Interestingly, the director of the film is also the lead actor, which, I only realized after I finished watching the film. The story is about Todd, a good looking Asian American software, with buttoned up shirts. He is gay, his friends know that and even his therapist knows that but for some odd reason Todd doesn't want to be gay. He has OCD and any kind of any bodily fluids disgust him to the core. He’s lonely and longs for a partner, but he can’t begin to deal with sex. It’s just…too messy. A chance meeting with Rory, a struggling actress changes everything. She is also a brainiac and witty girl. they form the kind of communion where you could sa

Present Still Perfect (Thai)

Its fun to watch a sequel of a film immediately after you have seen the first one and not having to wait for a few years. Present Still perfect is a beautiful sequel to its predecessor, and a worthy film. Interetsingly, its one of the few sequels that in my opinion are much better than the original. Be it acting, direction, the natural beautiful landscape and overall presentation. The two major themes, according to me that are handled in this film are that Love hurts and also that Love is about forgiving. Not sure if the makers had that in their mind, but at least that's my take away. The film pretty much is set right after Toey and Oat's chance meeting at airport and them connecting through facebook. Oat has sent a few messages to Toey but still heart broken, he is ignoring those messages. He has just arrived in a beautiful resort for a holiday which is owned and managed by Jen. A Japanese tourist Kenta also arrives at the same time in the resort. He eyes Toey with a cert

Present Perfect (Thai)

After a few non-stop Thai series, it's time to catch up on some films and that too a Thai film set in Japan. It's interesting to see the vast difference in stories, presentation, direction , acting and everything else in both those mediums. I guess most LGBTQ Thai series that I have seen so far are all focussed on young adults and hence the stark difference between the two. The story of this film is actually pretty simple. The main focus in on Toey, a young Thai boy, who has just come to Japan for a solo holiday after a bad breakup with his girlfriend of 5 years. His Japanese friend Yumi helps him with his lodging and is there for him when needed. Toey meets Oat, who is living in the cottage next door, who also happens to be Thai, and is on his finale bachelor trip before he gets married in a few months. The two men start hanging out together and via conversations it comes out that Oat is gay. One thing leads to another and after a drunken shameful night, which Toey regret

Fire Song (Canada)

I don't think I have seen any films where central characters are Anishinaabe, a group of culturally related indigenous peoples resident in Canada. To that sense, this film definitely gave me something to read about later and also an interesting perspective because certain stories are more relevant to certain cultures and not others. Focused on an individual, his community and his coming out forms the basic crux of the story. Shane has just graduated from high school and is looking forward to college in Toronto. BUt his plans go for a toss when his sister commits suicide. The mother almost takes to bed in grief, loses her job and the entire family is falling apart. Its fully onto Shane to support them both and find money for repairs. Not only there are lack of financial opportunities but it turns out that he is gay and there is no way that his traditional community will understand and accept it. David, his boyfriend, is also in closet and is unsure about leaving the town to

A Bigger Splash (Documentary) (UK)

Released in 1973, this film can best be described as a staged documentary (neither fully feature film nor a full on documentary) that focuses on several years in the life of the British painter David Hockney. I am not an art connoisseur, so I have never heard of this artist and was looking forward to this. The name apparently is taken from one of the more famous paintings from the artist. Hockney's lover was Peter, also the muse for most of his paintings. As described by many friends, Peter was gorgeous, almost like a Greek-God; so no wonder Hockney had such a liking for him. The film focuses more on the. breakup time between the two guys. The breakup has left David a wreck and he imagines scenes with Peter making love to another man. One day, he is hit by inspiration. Two images, one of a semi-nude male figure seemingly at the bottom of a pool, the other of a fully dressed man at pool’s edge, peering down. The resultant painting, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)

15 Years (Hebrew)

While this isn’t your usual romantic queer offering, 15 Years does an impressive job of showing what long-running relationships go through when there’s talk about wanting to change things up. The change could be anything from opening up the relationship, to bringing in a third to even starting a family. It also shows an aspect of mid life crisis that our lead goes through. Our primary character is Yoav, a 40 something architect. He has been with his lover Dan for 15 years who is a lawyer completely in love with Yoav. Alma is a mixed race Israeli who has been friends with Yoav since she was 13. At an art opening Alma announces that she is pregnant. For some reason Yoav is completely against the idea of kids, but Alma's announcement ignites Dan's desire for fatherhood. Yoav is so dead against the idea that he even lashes out at his friends and Alma on their 15th anniversary celebrations. It seems Yoav has some really bad childhood memories from his father who is dying. We ne

Les Crevettes Pailletées (French) [The Shiny Shrimps]

This light hearted fun filled film can easily be termed as a silly gay comedy. A movie about underdogs is something that we all love. Add to it some "fabulousness" and the time just goes by real quick, when both the actors and the audience are just having some fun. Yes, it is full of crude cliches and stereotypes but aren't we all used to it by now, especially if its comedy genre. Matthias is an olympic swimmer almost at the end of career, so when a TV commentator pushes him, he blurts our a gay slur. Realizing his mistake he goes back to governing bodies so that he can get one last chance at swimming. His punishment is decided by making him coach of a gay water polo team called the  Shiny Shrimps, touted as “the worst gay sports team”. As you would expect, the team is a bunch of misfits thrown in together who are there just for a good time and lot of sex They are not interested in winning. Restaurant owner and chef Jean created this team and trained but has some sic

José (Spanish)

There are probably only a handful LGBTQ films that have come out of Guatemala. A tragedy of unfulfilled aspirations as a result of widespread homophobia and emotional blackmail, this film feels very real, like as if you are prying on someone's private life. You feel sad for José, but you can also connect with his dilemma. José lives with his mother at a poor area. Both him and his mother are working hard to make ends meet. In between his work, José makes time to live out his sexuality in secret through gay hook-up apps. He knows its not acceptable by society and he tries to keep it as alienated as possible. Things change when he meets Luis. There is connection at all levels. Straight acting, poor, hard working guys, leading a double life. Love starts forming because they understand each other and its only together that they can heal each other scars. They are happy when they are together, but when Luis proposes that José leave the city to come with him to start a life together

Moffie (Afrikaans / English)

Moffie, is apparently the gay slang in Afrikaans for faggot, which means if said out loud, it really really hurts like a bullet. This film had a very interesting plot. It is set in 1981, when there was long running war at South African border spun by the Apartheid government as a mission of anti-communist protection. With the backdrop of war, what the film tries to explore is the violent homophobia prevalent in the country’s heavily patriarchal white Afrikaans population. 18 year old shy Nicholas is drafted for compulsory military service and his family is throwing him a send off party. His father gives him a porn magazine as "ammunition" to keep with him. Of course, when he reaches the camp, he is headthrown into the shouting, fighting, swearing world of military and all the new recruits playing roughly at manhood. We notice Nicholas is trying to hide something, from others and possibly even from himself. The training of the boys begin which is a literal assault course

Épouse-moi Mon Pote (French) [Marry Me, Dude]

It was really good to watch a light hearted comedy film. Work pressure is increasing and I needed something that could just cheer me up a little even though briefly. There is only so much that re-runs of Schitt's Creek could elevate my mood, which by the way I strongly recommend. Coming back to this film, its sort of comedy of purposely created errors leading to hilarious situations, even though, most of you, like me, probably will take offense to how stereotyped everything was made to be in the film. Yassine, is a moroccan student whose family has made sacrifices for him to be able to study architecture in Paris. He is doing so well, except he gets piss drunk the day before final exam and hence cannot finish his degree and hence now his visa is at a risk. He also had a crush on this girl Claire in college but because of embarrassment, he stands her up on the last night. He now works as a labour in a construction project. Fred and his girlfriend Lisa move in next to Yassine an


I wasn't sure what to expect of this film since Mark Bessenger's films have been a mixed bag so far. So, I was a little skeptical in the first place. This film is more like an anthology of 10 short films, where 10 men are sort of confessing their secrets directly talking to the camera taking us through the journey of a gay male psyche. The film starts with a straight actor opening about his struggles trying to make it as an actor. He talks about being taken advantage of by his agent, then a producer and that how he landed into the gay film because a man has to eat. There’s a young man who has to find the bravery to tell his parents that he’s a puppet, despite the fact they think that puppets are disgusting and abnormal. We have a man who appears to have kidnapped someone and is holding him in his basement, who slowly undresses as he reveals what is going on. In another, a hot young guys talk about what he’s really looking for as he lies in the arms of another man just afte

Boy (Dutch / Tagalog)

This was a very interesting film. At 45 minute length, it's not short enough but neither a full length feature film. I guess it still deserves a quick short review, because this film focuses on the life of a gay Filipino houseboy in Holland. Something that I don't remember seeing before and the idea and concept felt very intriguing to me, and that made me pick this film to watch. The story is simple. We meet the "The Boy" whose name is never shared who works as a cleaning boy in the upscale and posh houses in Amsterdam. We watch him go house to house cleaning, and unknowingly also becoming a witness to their life. Andre, is the only house owner with whom he actually talks to while cleaning his home. Andre, being a writer, is always interested in knowing stories about the other houses. The Boy lives with his boyfriend who works as a dancer in a gay club and together they are looking to make ends meet. Clearly Boy cares about the boyfriend and his own family equall

He's Coming To Me (Thai Series)

This Thai BL drama is another one of the recommendations that was given to me. At almost 60 minutes an episode duration and 8 episodes later, this took sometime to watch, but thankfully you are rewarded with a novel story, some good acting and direction and lot of food for thought. The entire concept of the show is very unique. I am not sure how many films or series are out there focussing on a love story between a man and ghost. Yes, a ghost!! Its 1997, and Mes, a university student suddenly dies of heart-attack. He can't figure out why he is not reincarnated. None of his friends or family ever visit his grave, so there is a sense of sadness that overcomes Mes. When a kind young boy Than takes pity on the dilapidated grave and lights an incense stick, Mes suspects the boy can either see or hear him. As he grows older, Than continues to visit Mes's grave once a year, leaving food and candy that Mes has asked for, but he suddenly stops. Waiting for him, eventually Than does

A Stormy Night

Watching a black and white film made in 2020 already gives a very retro and warm feeling. And when the setup includes the fact that there is a sever storm outside, it makes it spooky as well. Thankfully, this film was neither spooky nor retro. It's a very modern story of 2 strangers meeting on an evening and what happens there after. The setting is just a matter of fact. There is a big storm hitting New York and all flights are cancelled. Spanish documentary film maker Marcos was on his way back to Spain but now stranded. Thankfully one of his friends lets him stay in the city in her room since she is out working and lets her room mate Alan know about it. Marcos and Alan are both gay. Alan welcomes Marcos and makes him comfortable. Alan has been working through the weekend on a project he needs to finish, while it turns out that the documentary that Marcos was working on was to do with sexuality, sexual identity and anything related to sex featuring his ex-boyfriend. On an imp

Do Lado de Fora (Portuguese) [Boys In Brazil]

It's good to watch a light hearted comedy film after a while. I have been seeing a lot of heavy duty, raw TV shows and serious films. So this film was a good change in that regard. What's interesting is that the film is not very old. It came in 2014. Although if you see the content of the film, it feels as if it should have come maybe 12-15 years ago. The subject material is slightly dated but hey, lets stop judging for once. Its gay pride day and best friends & teenagers Mauro and Rodrigo decide to attend this one. Thanks to Mauro's uncle Vincente, who is an executive. After the parade, the three of them see a gay guy being bashed up for four dudes. They fight him and bring him back. His name is Roger and confesses that he is actually in closet, married and with a son. Mauro makes everyone make a pact that before next year's parade they will all have come out. Rodrigo has a crush on a fellow classmate Lucas and Mauro plays cupid to bring them together. Mauro him

From Zero to I Love You

There are a lot of gay romantic stories out there. So when you see another one of the similar films looking to exploit gay audience, you go with a bit of skepticism. In that sense, I was taken by surprise because this film is actually not bad. Handled with maturity in today's time , no character or scene goes overboard (takes a sigh of relief!), but it does have its shortcomings which we will discuss further. Jack is happily married to Carla with 2 daughters. After a casual fling with a waiter at a friend's party, Jack finds it hard to control urges to be with a man and starts frequenting the gay bars of Philadelphia. He meets Pete there and they both have a great time. We find out that Pete has a knack for falling for married men and getting his heart broken. Pete's supportive father dissuades Pete from repeating his mistakes but Jack professes his love for Pete and vice versa. Jack's commitment to his family, makes him stay away from Pete, who knowing that this a


We have seen some really good films in the past that tell us stories about AIDS in the 80s worldwide and especially in US. So between all those amazing dramas, a film like this, doesn't really add much value. Made as an ode to the artists in New York in the 80s, I feel that this film doesn't do justice to either those artists or to the generation of New Yorkers whose world was turned upside down because of HIV/AIDS in the 80s. in 1980 in downtown New York, we meet the trio of Kate, a budding singer; photographer Anton and a painter/graffiti artist Keith. The three of them spend time sharing bed, drugs, partying. all night clubbing and sometimes also working towards their art. The three are joined to the hip but are also allowed to play around outside. Things change when gay men mysteriously start getting sick around 1984 and both Keith and Anton are not spared. We also see a little bit of wealthy art patron Harold who gives Anton an opportunity to become famous, but he is

Luciérnagas (Spanish/English) [Fireflies]

This was a very interesting film and definitely not for everyone. Most immigrants may relate to it one way or the other. It's never easy when you leave your country in hope for greener pastures, but you are never fully prepared for the uncertainties and the loneliness thats about to surround you and may eat you up. It's about, how you keep yourself settled and grounded during these times and give yourself and the new place an opportunity. Ramin is a foreigner from Iran in the port town of Vera Cruz, Mexico and is doing odd jobs as a laborer. He is looking around to see if a boat can take him to Greece or Turkey but he doesnt have enough money. He is staying at a cheap motel owned by Leti. We soon find out that Ramin is gay and is away since he ran away. He was trying to escape to EU but somehow got to mexico and is now stuck here without knowing the language, the people, the culture. We also later in the movie see that he has scars on his back which were probably because o

Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish (Hindi)

Made in late 2011, this film was never officially released in India, until recently when somehow Netflix got the rights to this film and released in late 2019. Directorial debut from a famous 70s and 80s actress, I was looking forward to seeing this film. It would be wrong to classify the film in LGBT genre but given that one of the three main protagonists is gay and we do talk a lot about relationships in t his film, its only fair that it should be reviewed here. Debu, a wanna lyricist, has been recently dumped by his boyfriend of 3.5 years and hence he is out of a place to live. A chance encounter with an aging prostitute Juhi on that rainy night changes things for him. The two bond over old hindi music and she hires him to take care of her wheel chair bound son Kaku, who cannot talk and needs constant attention. Juhi has strained relationship with her son as she is too busy making ends meet, to give him time. Arrival of Debu changes the equation between all three of them. Juhi

Fin de Siglo (Spanish) [End Of Century]

This film, in its spirit, reminded me of one of my favourite films 'Weekend'; although both these films have absolutely nothing in common. But in soul, interactions between 2 men, who have some sort of chemistry instantly reminded me of that. But the similarities just end there. This film is an interesting exploration of what life was, is and the possibilities of what it could be based on certain decisions we took or may take in future. Ocho, an Argentinian man, is visiting Barcelona on a holiday from New York. Wandering around town and on the beach, he notices a man. Later, while looking out from his balcony in the evening, he notices this same man strolling on the pavement below and impulsively calls out to him to come and have a drink. His name is Javi. Opposites attract and they hook up, have a great time and Javi asks them to connect again to hang out in evening. They both discuss life over wine and cheese. It turns out that Ocho has been in a relationship for about 2

Love Poison (Thai Series)

Here we go. Another Thai BL drama, although compared to some of the other ones, this one is more simple. This is about the journey of love and doing what it takes to win your love. I may not agree to all the methods but surely is believable. For the change of pace, this series is set in a very small fishing town and not in the big city, so it gives a different overall feel. Ko is a singer and soon becomes quite popular online, including Teng, on whom he has had a crush on forever. But Teng is not interested in him romantically, so he goes out with his friends in search of the "Love poison" that could make Teng fall in love with him. We also have Ko's brother Sek, who is seeing this girl, but her ex-boyfriend Tak warns him that she is no good. The reality is that Tak likes Sek and wants to prove him that he is much better for him. Tak is friends with Ko and the only person whom Ko confides in. Teng eventually drinks the love poison but that does nothing. In fact, he s

L'acrobate (Canadian French) [The Acrobat]

I am trying to understand the intention behind making this film. It's not to say that it's a horrible film, but besides a few things here and there, there is not much to do or talk about this film. There are random long scenes that go on forever and really test your patience. Set in Montreal in winter where the city is snowed in, a middle age businessman Christophe meets Micha, a Russian acrobat recovering from a horrific injury, while house-hunting. Christophe takes the apartment and the two begin a torrid love affair full of dom-sub relationship and maybe a little love and care for each other (?). Micha wants no strings attached and hence don't exchange even names. Christophe has a very sick mother who he is dealing with and Micha has become very bitter and jealous because his acrobat routine is now being done by someone else. The film ends as random as it starts. Micha causes the new acrobat to have an accident on purpose on the final day, there by taking his reveng

Gay Short Films : 73

Gabriel (Spain) Gabriel, a 32-year-old Spanish man lives in Germany with his boyfriend, far away from his conservative family. Time and again he remembers his childhood in daydreams, especially when his mother was concerned when she knows about his sexuality. Sweater (USA) Corey is having a bad day and just then gets a free coffee taking him to a musical number of bkliss. Lovely! Omar (France) A young gay teenage loved by family and neighbors alike. But he is under pressure because he has fallen in love and cant tel anyone he is gay. When his secret is revealed, he takes the bold decision to leave the place and go where he will be accepted for who he is. Pig's Bay (Spain) A young wanna makers dilemma on making a gay erotic film with a posh Catalan accent High Rocks (USA) On a routine hike, two lifelong best friends are interrupted by an univited outgoing girl. The problem is that one of the guys was hoping to use this opportunity to come out to his friend, and n