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Showing posts from July, 2020

Moothon (Malyalam/Hindi) [The Elder One]

Its interesting how India film makers are slowly bringing in more gay characters interwoven into the story and treat them with respect rather than making a mockery or caricatures like how it has been happening for many years now. This film is not primarily a gay cinema but the chapter in the middle of this film brings so much freshness and love in an otherwise heavy violent film. The director makes some powerful statements about emotions, love, sexuality guilt and greed. Mulla is a young teenager in the beautiful Lakshwadeep and in craving to find the older brother Akbar, makes a risky trip to Mumbai. The latter, seen as both an outcast and a legend by the locals, had left his home long ago. Trying to escape the evils of Mumbai, not understanding the language, Mulla get stuck between prostitute Rosie and Bhai, the gangster who everyone dreads in that slum area. Bhai tries to sell Mulla to make money and Mulla tries to escape. When Mulla finally tells Bhai that she is actually a gi

Born Beautiful (Tagalog)

Just a few days back, I reviewed the very beautiful film "Die Beautiful". Its amazing to see that there is a worthy sequel to the film, taking a slightly different route. Barbs, as best friend of Trisha, was a secondary character but a very important one and it seems only natural to come up with a movie focussed on her character. also, the prequel was more emotional and drama; this film takes more of a comedy route and always keeps the proceedings very light. It's been sometime since Trisha passed away and Barbs now works full time at "Happy Endings" funeral home. She is in love with her boyfriend Greg, even though he is married. She breaks off that relationship when he hits her. On top of that when she also loses her best friend, Barbs decides to embark on a conversion therapy. She removes her breasts and starts to live again as Bobby. In the camp called Way of Light, she undergoes various activities, including a night out to a bar, that will cure her sexu

Nagarkirtan (Bengali) [The Eunuch & the Flute Player]

This multiple award winning Bengali film is a movie that is powerful on one hand and sensitive on the other, a scathing commentary on the life of transgenders in contemporary Indian society on one hand and a beautiful love story on the other. No India film yet has so beautifully captured the essence and soul of transgenders and eunuchs in such a detailed and sensitive way. The film reiterates that love has no gender. The film is constantly told in 2 parallel timelines. The timelines change in the second half. Madhu is a Chinese food delivery boy who also plays flute in various religious kirtans across the city. Then we have Puti, who is transgender and he lives in eunuch community. The 2 meet, there is attraction and they fall in love much to the anger of the leader Guru-ma. Madhu and Puti decide to run away to another city to seek guidance from a successful transgender who was able to turn her life around and is a very respected school principal. They get good guidance on the s

The Story of the Stone (Mandarin)

I think this film was too ambitious for its own good. The exposure that I got to what Taiwan's gay life is like with this film has never happened before, but besides that there is really not much of a story to offer. It's as if you are peeping into the lives of many gay characters in a friend circle or group and being a witness to their day to day activities of sex, drugs, love and drama. Red House is the gay district of Taipei and The Stone Bar is one of the famous gay bars. As expected, the gay life is very superficial and eventually what matters is what your body looks like and if you are hot. Lin, who runs a flower shop, recently lost his boyfriend. A new employee at Stone Bar Josh gives attention to Lin but he constantly keeps shying away. Lin, who wants to fully explore the gay world goes around literally sleeping with everyone and starts seeing Sean, a clothing store owner and gets into some threesome. Then we have the bar manager, who also tries to sleep around w

Hidamari Ga Kikoeru (Japanese) [Theory of Happiness]

This film is not a typical gay themed film. The relationship between boys is that of a deep friendship with one of them having feeling for the other, and hence it easily qualifies to be reviewed here. It's a nice , feel good film, but please don't have any high expectations. Only then you will be able to enjoy it. Kohei is a college student who has distanced himself from others unconsciously because he is hard of hearing and it keeps causing one misunderstanding after another. One day, his classmate Taiichi stumbles into him and notices his delicious bento. Kohei gives Taiichi part of his lunch, to Taiichi's delight, but leaves without saying a word to Taiichi. Taiichi only later finds out from others that Kohei is hard of hearing. Taiichi makes Kohei a deal. If Taiichi writes up Kohei’s notes for him in class, he can have part of Kohei’s bento everyday. Taiichi has a bright personality to the point of foolishness, and Kohei is a shy guy. Their friendship eventually

Wilde (UK)

Oscar Wilde, as we all know is one of the most famous playwrights in the history. Wilde's personal tragedy would be of little lasting interest were it not for the enduring popularity of his work and the sensational nature of his fall. I had reviewed another biopic addressing similar story line of Oscar Wilde's life. Finally I got a chance to watch this film that came back in 1997 and starring some of the very big names of today's cinema. The film starts with Wilde's return from his trip to US. Soon he gets married to Constance and they have two sons in quick succession. While their second child is still an infant, the couple hosts a young Canadian named Robbie Ross who seduces Wilde and helps him come to terms with his homosexuality. And soon after Oscar meets Lord Alfred also known as Bosie, played by Jude Law, and is immediately drawn towards him. The two fall into a passionate and tempestuous relationship. Sadly, Bosie doesn't believe in monogamy and constan

Die Beautiful (Tagalog)

Die Beautiful is one of the few films that really take an in-depth look into the everyday experiences, joys, and struggles of being transgender in the Philippines. It is rare in the sense that so far we have seen a lot of films where flamboyant gay characters provide a good comic relief especially in Asian films, so to see a film like this which gives the respect and sensitivity this subject deserves was very heart warming. This is story of Trisha (born as Patrick), who has always had one dream: to win a beauty pageant. Shunned by his family for being gay, he is taken in by his best friend Barbs family. From hereon everything they do, they do together. The duo go internal pageant after pageant but never taste success but Trisha never loses hope. She also gets to become a mother by adopting a girl Shirley Mae and showering her with love and dreams that she never had. Trisha is now dead and as per her last wishes, Barbs is preparing her with seven different unique looks that Trish

Gay Short Films : 77

Furiant (Czech Republic) [Peacock] A twisted gay romance set in the 19th Century telling a tabooed true story of the writer, Ladislav Stroupeznický. Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex and happy ending.  Thirty-Six Hours (France) Two men. A way across desert. The beach and a house. Words and gestures. Real or imagination? Not exactly a story but seed for emotions and reflections.  Authentic (Australia) A sex-addict, who has spent his life trying to find the reason for his unhappiness, discovers that the answer is closer than he thought in a man and not girls, who happens to be his neighbor. Stories That We Could Have Told (Belgium) 2 friends walk around, discussing various topics around all the things that they could have done and should be doing. Are they more than friends? Negative Two (US) A fresh look into the world of online dating through the eyes of a young Chinese New Yorker longing for connection. We see his exchange of intim

TharnType (Thai Series)

This series is definitely without a doubt one of the better Thai BL series I have seen. The range of character graph that this series shows has not been done before (at least of the shows that I have seen, and without a doubt there are plenty of those that I am still yet to see). Yes, at the heart of it , this is a love story between the oddest couple. It takes time to grow on you and a lot of episodes are used up in creating their hate to friendship to love. The big moments come only in the last 3 episodes which also add to a thrill element to this series and takes it to another level. And yes, there is plenty of kissing and that too proper one. Unlike most other Asian series that I have seen in the past which will go as far as just lips on lips. Type is a college student, who shares his room with the music student Tharn and they hit it off really well. Because of a trauma from childhood Type has sworn to hate everything gay for lifetime. When he finds out that Tharn is gay, he t

Seven Days (Japanese)

This Japanese love story came out in 2 parts: Monday - Thursday and Friday - Sunday. Once you watch the 2 parts and the film as a whole, you will realize why this was done. As far as I knew, Japan wasn't so open to LGBT stories, so this high school love story comes as a fresh surprise. Toji Seryo is a popular first year high school student. It's well known that Toji Seryo will date anyone that confesses their affection for him on a Monday, but he will break up with that person by Sunday. But despite that no one has anything bad to say about him. Our second guy is Yuzuru Shino, a third year student at the same high school. He looks pretty, but all of his former girlfriends end up dumping him and he is quite frustrated. Yuzuru Shino becomes curious about Toji Seryo when he hears this whole one week dating thing. On a whim, half serious & half joking, Yuzuru Shino asks Toji Seryo to date. To his surprise Seryo agrees to it. The almost 2.5 hours long film follows their hang

Suk Suk (Cantonese ) [Twilight's Kiss]

We really havent seen many gay films that focus on a love story of elderly folks, forget 2 elderly closeted gay men. You can probably literally count such shows/films on hand. To that, this film gives us an insight into lives of gay men, that we don't really focus on. And to top it, when you handle such subject with the respect and sensitivity it deserves, you know you are doing the right thing and you probably have a winner on hand. Thinking that anyone even close to retirement age would possibly feel physical or emotional desire, unless it’s for comedic purposes; is a bold choice for a film. Pak, a man in his 70s, close to retirement is a taxi driver. His son is married with a young daughter and his daughter is engaged to be married. His wife is very homely, the sort who always thinks of everyone else before themselves. Acknowledging to himself, that he is probably gay, Pak starts cruising in a public bathroom. Finding no takers, he chances upon Hoi, another older guy sittin

Daburu Mintsu (Japanese) [Double Mints]

To be honest, I am not sure of I totally understood the film. A lot of scenes and the narrative felt disconnected and I just couldn't understand the reasons behind actions of a lot of characters. At one point, I was so confused to where the film is really headed to. So, given all this, you can imagine my review is not going to be a great one. The story is about 2 boys, both incidentally named Mitsuo. By flashbacks, we realize that in school one was a bully and other other bullied and eventually they got into a master/slave kind of a relationship where the bully Mitsuo would insult him on every possibility. In fact he even takes the virginity of bullied Mitsuo just to show him his place. The film starts with present time when bullied Mitsuo gets a call after many years from bully Mitsuo informing him that he has killed a girl and wants his help. The bullied guy is calm, composed and doing well for himself where the bully is more rampant, aggressive and doesn't think through

El Príncipe (Spanish) [The Prince]

This was a very interesting and different film. Set in 1970's, it's a dark story about affections and loyalties between prisoners, the search for sexual identity, love, violence, and the rise to power behind bars. Apparently, its based on a homo erotic novel of the same name. Neither the story or the treatment of people in prison will make sense in today's time, therefore, it helps that the film is set in 70s. Jaime is a blandly beautiful young man who’s thrown into prison after killing another handsome friend of his. He’s put in a cell with just one bunk bed already occupied by four others. They include the clear alpha male and oldest of the group, Stud, who orders his then young lover to sleep on the floor so that Jaime, who receives the nickname “the prince,” can serve as Stud’s new bed buddy. The 2 other cellmates are also lovers. stud tells him that to survive he needs to toughen up and eventually raping him at night. Another older guy and his extremely young love

Uncle David (UK)

The era of random mind numbing films continue. This film is yet another unbearable 94-minutes of non-plot, non-acting, non-scripted tedium which was probably filmed on video over five days in a caravan park. To be honest there is not a whole lot to review here from either story of anything else point of view. The story is simple. Ashley is a young hot man, but with a childlike mind. Escaping from his abusive mother, he comes to live with his uncle David. Ashley enters into a sexual relationship with his uncle who offers his insights into the world and the nature of reality. He gives him random lectures on on consumerism and heteronormatism. Eventually Ashley tells David that he wants to die, and David agrees to carry out the killing. Over the course of next 2 days, David injects his nephew at three different points which make Ashley lose consciousness and suffer organ failure. The next morning, he goes onto the beach to place his nephew's body in a shallow grave, tearfully kis

Han Zi Gao: The Male Queen (Mandarin)

I believe this made for TV or web film is based on a true story. It's interesting how gay relationships can be traced back to hundreds of years back and still our current politicians can say that this is a western phenomenon and that homosexuality have never existed in our culture. This story is set in sixth century. Han Zi Gao was born as Han Man Zi. He was well known for his beauty and during times of war, he always managed to escape because of that. Around 554, when he was 16-years-old, he met the future Emperor Wen of Chen, by then only a general. Chen was deeply attracted to Han Zi Gao's breath-taking beauty and urged him to go with him, promising the boy a life of wealth. Ever the clever boy, Han Man Yi agrees to serve him and Chen Zi Hua is changing his name into Han Zi Goa as a sign that they are going to be connected for the rest of their lives. They both start to take care of each other's need including physical. The general also starts to teach him fighting,

Gods Of Olympia

WTF did I just see? You literally have to be kidding me, if any one out there can actually call this a film and to top if someone can tell me anything at all positive about this film. The script is pretty non-existent. If you ask me, I still won't be able to tell what did I just see. There are 3 long sex scenes with everything exposed for you to see that come out of nowhere. The rest of the scenes are really really long random scenes of small group of people talking forever and ever.  The scenes don't flow naturally from one into the other, and in one, you hear someone off camera giving one of the actors his lines he forgot. I mean there is no editing, nothing. The acting, editing, cinematography, screenplay etc., was all amateurish and subpar. Every single scene just goes on forever. Trust me!! I hope no one invested any of their personal hard earned money to make this "film". The story take place in Olympia, Washington where the characters includes a supreme co

I Found Love In 7-11 (Thai) (Web Series)

There is like a tsunami of Thai BL shows. Sadly, only a handful of them do proper justice with the right kind of story telling and acting, while some others are just in the rat race trying to maybe get some recognition and make some money in the process. Sadly, this show falls in the latter category. Thankfully with 8 episodes, each of about 23-26 minutes; it didn't take too long to go through it. 11 years ago, Cho left to pursue a career path leading to managing a convenience store. At the time, his best friend Gavin ridiculed that choice, and the two lost touch. Now they meet again, when Cho comes to manage the "7-Eleven" nearest where Gavin works as a motorcycle driver. Cho, although hurt, eventually gives in to Gavin's charm; who happens to be the heartthrob motorcycle driver and eventually they move in together, start dating and find love. Then we have Toss, who is the main manager of the store. His wife walked out on him, and his toddler likes Tin, one of th

HIStory (Taiwanese Series)

HIStory is a Taiwanese web drama anthology series with different plots and main characters focusing on the theme of boys' love, also known as BL. This first season consisted of 12 episodes encompassing 3 stories over 4 episodes each. Interestingly each of the 3 stories are quite different from one another, but as I mentioned, the theme of BL is the constant that binds them together. Apparently, this series is the first Taiwanese web drama to air on Japanese television and it accumulated a large international fan following. Lets review each of these below. MY HERO: After dying, a young girl figures out that it was a mistake. She negotiates with the death god to inhabit the body of the recently dead boy, so that she can again get close to her boyfriend. Little does she know that the boy whose body she is going into was also secretly in love with her boyfriend. However, she has only one week for her boyfriend to fall in love with her new body. Or else both her and the boy's

For Min Brors Skyld (Danish) [For My Brother]

First thing first. This is not at all an easy film to watch. I have never wanted to turn off a film because it made me uncomfortable. This film does that to you. It's uncomfortable, revolting and its depressing. I have a seen a couple of incestual and also pedophilic behavior films, but the kind of discomfort and traumatic representation this film does, you should be prepared for what is to come and a lot of scenes WILL be hard to watch. Aske and his brother Bastian are very young. We soon see that their father doesn't mind pimping his 11 year old son to his friend Hans for some money, which leads us to believe that the father himself has been abusing the child bot physically and sexually. When the mother finds out, she ends up in an accident and dies, leaving the 2 brothers at the mercy of their father. Five years pass and we see that the father is a drunk man still verbally and physically abusing the kids. Aske makes sure he takes as much care for his little brother Bast

Go-Go Boy Interrupted (Web Series)

Sometimes you just have to put your brain aside and just enjoy the senseless comedies. And this 2 season series was just perfect. Comprising of total 21 episodes of 4-5 minutes each, the series chronicles the adventures of Danny Carter, a 30-year-old "washed up" male go-go dancer, who also happens to be extremely dumb. I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it it managed to bring a smile on face pretty much in every single episode. The premise of the show is simple. Danny Carter is soon turning 30 and for almost 10 years, he has been this hugely popular go-go boy. Now, with age catching up on him, must discover a way to find his 'purpose' and survive within a different lifestyle as he moves on from go-going. Every episode brings in different territory. For example, new 19-20 year olds are a threat to the "ageing" go-go boys. And within the gay community itself , people are not warm, instead they are extremely mean to each other trying to bring eac

Gay Short Films : 76

To Love and Not Be Loved (Philippines) Loving someone doesn't guarantee that you will be loved in return. This film shows this, when a young boy leaves home for greener pastures and future ignoring the older gay man who has ben taking care of him all thee years. Young Love (Philippines) 2 former friends are catching up over game of basketball. They soon confide that they both have been secretly harboring a crush over each other. Hrysopsaro (Greece) [Goldfish] Stratis' 7th birthday turns sour when he reveals his father he named his goldfish after Tom Daley. This is because he thinks his new goldfish is gay, much to the horror of his conservative father. Uninvited (South Korea) When Jungho mother visits him unannounced, he has to hide his boyfriend. But the mother id smart enough to figure out that someone else also lives there. Beautiful! Devi (India) [Goddess] Devi is attracted go their house help who has helped raise her. The film has a strong message about