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Showing posts from March, 2021

The Last Supper (Canada)

Yet another addition to the growing list of films that focus on AIDS related issues. Although, this film came way back in 1994, not every film is capable of managing viewers attention. This film is too theatrical with only three people in the film enacting their interactions withgloom, doom and dark (as the subject demands). Choreographer Chris is suffering from AIDS and is waiting on his death bed. Chris has decided to end his life via a doctor-assisted suicide, and film covers his last moments with his lover, Val. They eat a final meal together and reminisce about happier times. He surrounds himself in his last hours with everything that made his life special and creates his ultimate work of art by choreographing his own death. What's shocking for me to hear is that the lead actor who plays Chris died from AIDS-related causes four days after shooting wrapped on this film. I guess this was supposed to be his swan song and a tribute of sorts. To be honest, I would have been a bit h

Vento Seco (Portuguese) [Dry Wind]

I can't believe what I just saw. I mean that in a good way. This film has got to be one of the most unique erotic, sexual, sensual while being romantic at the same time. The queer male gaze, as demonstrated here, is a startling and fascinating and something I didn't think I would enjoy so much. I am not sure how most people will react to this film, but I was very impressed (barring its almost 2 hours runtime) 40-ish Sandro works in a fertilizer factory and has a very monotonous life. The setting is Catalan in Brazil’s state of Goiás which is dry, very dry. Soon, we realize that he has a sort of affair going on with his co-worker, handsome Ricardo, meeting up after their shift in the nearby forest for regular trysts, getting down and dirty in the literal dirt. Sex is always on his mind which is reflected in the various fantasies and dreams that he continues to have. When a new guy Maicon joins the factory, he gets Sandro's immediate attention. The motorcycle-riding, leathe

Boys On Film 21: Beautiful Secret

BOYS ON FILM 21 takes you on a voyage of self-discovery, where same-sex attraction is celebrated, first loves are tenderly formulated, and beautiful secrets burn and bloom. The collection comprises of nine-films, a 143-minute journey with characters who risk safety, security, or liberty by living their queerness with complete honesty. The queer men and boys here stand up to cruelty, oppression, homophobia, peer pressure, their parents, and even the Nazis. An eye-opening, thought-provoking, titillating or simply sheer entertaining take on the gay experience. Memoirs Of a Geeza (UK) A short film presenting us with a hard street-wise boy who becomes a hard Queer man, trying out his sexuality and finding, to his surprise, that his family is ‘like a wall of arms protecting me". We Are Dancers (UK) In post-Weimar Germany, the newfound freedoms and liberations of the era are gradually creeping to an end. Frau Hansi and his troupe of cabaret performers are fighting a battle to promote the

Auto (Russian) [Outlaw]

Set in 1985, a Russian Neo gothic and surreal cinema, this is a "story of sex and love, rejection and acceptance, passion and depravity," emotions that the producers say are indistinguishable "for anyone pushed to the fringes of society." Described here as 'Outlaws'. Outlaw is bold, ambitious but very confusing and naïve at the same time, to make any sense out of it. A gay teen boy is struggling with being bullied and his homosexual desires for the bad-boy classmate. A rebellious young girl is vying for the same boy's attention. Their history teacher Nina, has secrets of his own past that continue to haunt him. He advices the gay boy to try and mix with students so as to not stand out. And in parallel, the film keeps switching to the 80's showing is the love affair of this teacher with an army general. I was quite surprised to see a gay storyline from Russia. The film’s LGBT subject matter is set to attract controversy there, so I am not sure how the

Ticked-off Trannies With Knives

A campy, revenge drama with a lot of comic elements and gags filled by transsexuals and with a title like this, you expect a lot of fun to unfold, which happens to a small extent, but not completely. To be honest, I am not sure of this movie is supposed to be a spoof on the gore-murder-revenge genre or is truly a reflection of hate crimes that happen with trans people. Bubbles, along with her 4 her trans friends work at a drag club where their queen mother takes care of them. One night, three of them are invites for a night rendezvous by three guys, which soon turns ugly because one of them was not too happy about hooking up with Bubbles to find out she is trans. In an ugly spat, two of them end up dead, while Bubbles goes into coma. With the help of her friend Rachel, fellow drag queen, and the drag queen mother, the three of them decide to take revenge. The three of them manage to capture all three men finally. Making them unconscious, the three women place switchblade knives in the

Ernesto (Italian)

Don't be fooled by the poster or the amazingly gorgeous lead actor featured in the film, who has a smile to die for. This film is quite bland in every way possible. Experimental cinema would be the best way to describe it. Teenage Ernesto wanders the streets of Rome, searching for his true identity as he comes to grips with friendships, relationships and the meaning of life. Along the way, shown in multiple chapters, he meets various people who sometimes become his sexual partners, male or female, he never thinks or stops himself from experimenting. Ernesto’s experiences help him to grow and understand that life is full of ups and downs and through his sexual relationships. Yes, the story is that basic. More than a film, it feels like you are watching a teenager go through his life. Almost 50% of the film has absolutely no dialogues and you are left to interpret what's going on in the film. The only reason I am reviewing the film here is because Ernesto is free and open to any

Kokoro no naka (Japanese) [Inside The Mind]

What an absolutely weird film of another level. This film was an absolute mess. The synopsis of the film sounded interesting and I was looking forward to watching something different, but I can't believe it. It was just a director's self-indulgence of another level and nothing else.  Imagine 2-3 different visuals superimposed on one another and watching this now for 90-ish minutes. You have absolutely no idea what to focus on and what not. Film starts with a gay couple lying on the beach and a film maker asking them that since in the next scene they are supposed to commit double suicide, do they have anything to say to one another. It's a scene that's part real, part film within a film or something else, I am not very sure. At three or four different times focus shifts back to the couple with them continuing to talk about love between them and nothing else.  Effected by superimpositions - 3 at a time throughout - of other images, and interstitial talk to and from behind

Magizhvan (Tamil)

This film seems to be an independent film made on a very low budget with minimal production quality. I had not even heard of the film till very recently. My expectations were extremely low for the film, which turned out to be a good thing. At least I would call the film average now, instead of saying it poor. Harish and Latif are lovers in the town of Chennai. Latif is out to his family and apparently they even accept his relationship with Harish, but things are different for Harish. He is getting pressured to get married and he has no courage to tell them the truth. Latif decides that telling parish's parents the truth about their relationship is the only way out. They dup go home and Latif tells Harish's father about them, which, as expected outrages his father. Through a couple of encounters Latif tries to explain Harish's father how they truly love each other and this is not about sex, but the father is too worried about society and what they will say. He even takes Har

The Teacher (Mandarin)

The synopsis of the film made it sound quite interesting, but the average direction and screenplay made it eventually a tedious affair to watch. Set around the year before Taiwan legalized gay marriages, the film tries to show the hardships a gay man faces in the community. But somehow, I feel the makers tried to take up too many challenges and portrayed that every possible problem is only happening with our lead protagonist. Kevin is a young high school teacher who occasionally participates in rallies advocating for same sex marriages. He lives with his mother, who although accepts her son's sexuality, but is very uncomfortable with the idea of him having a boyfriend or gay marriage. Kevin is occasionally mocked by students and is asked by school head to keep his presence in such rallies to a minimum. Kevin happens to meet an older guy Gao. We find out that he was married but his ex-wife is still very much in the picture. Love blossoms and the two move in together. It's only t

Love By Chance 2: A Chance to Love (Thai Series)

I have to start with first apologizing to some of my friends here. I know this show has a lot of fans and lovers, but this season leaves a lot to be desired. The makers went so wrong in this sequel in so many ways and it ended up being a major disappointment for me. After a decent first season, I was actually looking forward to this sequel, but little did I know that I was going to be tricked. The leads of the show this time are Tin and Can, whose story we saw to a large extent in season 1, but it was eft open ended. Tin is the rich guy, never known to be nice to anyone. Suspicious of anyone who ever tried to get close, Tin had closed his heart off to the world, until the day he met Can. Can is childlike, naive and innocent in many ways. Started with fights, the two boys start feeling more attracted and attached towards each other. And soon they are in a relationship. Even though Can maybe innocent, but he doesn't shy away form telling everyone know that Tin is his boyfriend and th

Haut Perchés (French) [Don't Look Down]

This film feels like a theatre idea turned into a film. The closed room setting, the way too have focus son the dialogues in an apartment, I thought this would be something interesting from the synopsis I had read, but boy was it disappointing. Five strangers (4 men and a girl) have come together for a mysterious attempt at closure with an unseen man locked up in the room next door. An ambiguous tension is created around their intentions and his fate. Each of them has been in a painful relationship with him, whether sexual or not. Slowly they each share their most secret fantasy and an anecdote about the reality of their relationship with him. Each fantasy reveals some kind of sadomasochistic desire. Each real life anecdote illustrates that the reality of cruelty and manipulation in a relationship, however banal the circumstances, is neither fulfilling or fun. Somehow, for their own reasons, they all put up with it, just so that they could spend their time with him. But what happens pr

Wild Side (French/English)

This is a film about unconventional people and their unconventional lives. The sequence, place and chronology is out of order and it keeps moving from present to multiple flashback sequences. The film is directed in a poetic sort of way, where sometimes not much is happening but as if you are witnessing a trio's life in front of you. We meet Stephanie, a transsexual who has been reduced to turning tricks as a prostitute. The flashbacks show her as a young boy, Pierre. We also meet her Bisexual Russian boyfriend Mikhail and another male lover Jamel, who also is dealing with some family issues while working as a gay prostitute in Paris. As the story develops, we see Stephanie leaving Paris to care for her terminally ill mother, together with Mikhail and eventually joined by Jamel. The film shows us through multiple scenes how the trio come to meet, the events of their past, how Stephanie's relationship with her mother is finally being amended. There is no end or beginning, just a

Bare: A Pop Opera

Musicals have not been my cup of tea, except for the very rare occasions. I debated for a while before watching this filmed version of the staged play, but eventually gave in hoping may friend, the fast forward button, will come in handy. The show is about the students Peter and Jason in a catholic boarding school. They are in love but Jason is in closet afraid to be anything that isn't "normal," while Peter is ready to be open about their relationship. The students audition for Romeo & Juliet in school and Jason gets the lead part, while his best friend Ivy gets Juliet. This upsets Mark, who wanted to be Romeo and also likes Ivy. Given how Jason is always afraid to show his true feelings to Peter in person, Ivy and Jason end up making out, which doesn't go well with Peter and he breaks up with Jason after confronting him. Peter ends up having sex with Ivy hoping this will fix things , but they don't. By the time Jason realizes, he really trill only loves Pete

HIStory2 - Right or Wrong (Taiwanese Series)

When you read that this is a love story between a teacher and student, the cynic in me raised eyebrows and wasn't very sure what am I going to get myself into. But I was so wrong. This is one of the cutest, yet mature at so many levels. This is the first on the two stories, shown as part of season 2 of the Taiwanese streaming drama anthology series. The show is 8 episodes of about 20-22 minutes each. A single divorced professor Shi Yi Jie hires 19 year old Xiao Fei to take care of his 8 year old daughter Yo Yo. This happens very accidentally when Xiao Fei meets Yo Yo and realizes that Professor Shi Yi Jie is so busy in his anthropology work, that he often neglects his focus on his daughter. We soon find out that it was 3 years ago when Xiao Fei was dumped his his school senior and bullied by his classmates, it was Shi Yi Jie who gave him some words of wisdom outside a gay bar that helped him. And this was eye's way of giving it back. Of course, the professor doesn't remembe

Fujimi Orchestra: Cold Front Conductor (Japanese)

This film is adapted from a Japanese manga. The story is definitely controversial and will be met with a lot of mixed reactions, mostly negative, in my opinion. It's also funny for me to see how anyone can even come up with a story line where rape could even be remotely considered ok. A large group of people are  part of Fujimi Orchestra. One day, out of blue, a musical genius Tounoin Kei shows up at the orchestra as the conductor of the group. The concert director of the group is Morimura Yuuki, who is in love with a female musician in the group. But turns out, she suddenly falls for Tounoin, which upsets Yuuki and he leaves the group. Tounoin takes him to his home to talk, but forcibly ends up raping him constantly saying that he loves him. The next morning, Yuuki is disgusted by the whole turn of events and avoids going to practice. The female musician invites Yuuki for a drink and confide in him that she knows he has been raped. She knows because Tounoin told him so, since they

Nowhere (Spanish / English)

This film could have been a very important film to make a statement on love and immigration issues in US, but it falls short of being that special film and ends up being just average. For any immigrant in the States, this is always a reminder of challenges around visa and residency that people have to go through.  The story is simple. Adrian and Sebastian are Colombian immigrants living together in New York. Living an open life with their friends and work colleagues, their world is rocked when Sebastian’s visa is rejected and they face having to return to Colombia. Sebastian is open to the idea since he can have a much better career but Adrian is not out to his family and that has always been a bone of contention between the two guys. Fearful of having to return to their home, where their sexuality isn’t accepted, the couple enter into discussions to try and find a way to stay in New York. With nothing off limits, the couple tries getting odd jobs for Sebastian and discussions with mul

Lam: The Story of a Hustler (Vietnamese) [Lost In Paradise 2]

This film is the sequel to the popular Vietnamese film 'Lost In Paradise' reviewed here . I am not sure for the reasons, but this film is available in two different titles: one mentioned here and also as 'Lost in Paradise 2'. We meet Long who works in an ice maker factory. Another boy Cuoi and him have sex often together. Cuoi loves Long but he wants only physical stuff. He later tells Cuoi that reason behind that is he is still in love with Lam. Lam and Long were both hustlers and Lam died 4 years earlier in a bad trick. Half way through the film we see that Lam is still very much alive and trying to make ends meet while continuing to prostitute himself. We follow his continued struggles with tricks trying to make money. A chance encounter leads him to meet Cuoi who takes him to meet Long. But Lam clearly tells Long that he will never love him since he will only ever love Khoi, (a character from the original film). Long tries best to persuade him but Lam is very clear.

Love By Chance (Thai Series)

It's been a while I saw a long Thai BL series. I was good to take a break and watch some Filipino stuff. Coming back to Thai series, I had almost forgotten that the main story usually has so much fluff and extra stuff thrown around that there are times you forget was the original story was. And of course, it needs a bit of time commitment. This show is 14 episodes with each about 45 minutes, just so you have an idea.  The main couple here is Pete and Ae. One day when Pete is being harassed by another boy, Ae comes to his rescue. Over time, Ae looks out for Pete and protects him from the world. Somewhere between their intense closeness and shared soft touches, Ae develops feelings for Pete that go beyond friendship. Similarly, Pete falls deeper and deeper in love with the kind-hearted boy on the bike, who once hit him purely by chance. There are a couple of other subplots that don't bring much to the story; they're also given minimal development when compared to the central

Gay Short Films : 87

Beauty Boys (France) In a small village, Leo, 17 years-old, has a strong taste for make-up. His big brother, Jules, who fears to be laughed at, stands against this passion. On the night of the open stage, Leo shows up in full drag. Spokane (USA) A straight guy meets an openly gay man at a wedding and finds himself the willing subject of a seduction that turns into an awkward night in a motel room. Arranged Marriage (Forbidden Love) (India) Unable to come out of the closet to his parents, Neel gets married to his partner Dev's sister, Keya. Will Neel succeed in living a dual life, or will his truth destroy everyone involved? This film sensibly raises our awareness towards not only the struggles of gay men but equally towards the woman between them and her battles, without demonizing her in the process. The film has its loopholes, but it is a good starting point. Acting and story could have been both a little more tight and cohesive. Sole Mio (France) Daniel copes as best he can with

Kapana (Namibia)

Not sure if this is first gay film from Namibia, or just that I haven't seen one before. But I am always excited when a new country gets added in the list of countries which are trying to show us that love is love. In Namibia, sodomy is still considered a crime, so I wonder what kind of reception did the film get in local market. Kapana, I believe refers to grill meat and one of our protagonists runs a Kapana stand. The film is in English and the local language mixed. George is a middle class man working a corporate job. He hooks. Up one night with Simeon, who had been hanging out with his homophobic friends earlier. Its only the next day that George sees Simeon working a Kapana stand. Since Simeon is in closet, he initially freaks out but eventually gives in and a sort of love relationship starts between the two men, although that still bothers Simeon when they are in public. George on the other hand has good support both from his colleagues and family. As you can expect, there is

Amore (Filipino Series)

Words cannot express how bad this series was. I mean, really. 27 episodes and over 20 hours of watching time, this series really tests out one's patience. The story line is all over the place, the acting is pure bad and the less said about direction, the better. This show started out really cringe, and just got progressively worse. You get an idea. Joey is a country boy who comes to live in a boys dormitory. By bad luck, he is forced to hare his room with Jimmy. They hate each other initially but become cordial after a while. Eventually Another boy in the dorm Will starts pursuing Joey and soon they are a couple. Meanwhile this other boy Nuan from school also is in love with Joey. It turns out Jimmy had slept with a girl who is now pregnant. To hide this from everyone, they bring the girl in their room, she even delivers and continue to raise the baby with her without anyone knowing. The friends and other boys find out but they are supportive but Will is unto some evil plans since

Goodbye Seventies

Why, why, why do we continue to make such films? I mean, its 2020/21 for God's sake. Brilliant shows like 'Deuce' have tackled similar subjects. And then you take sub par actors with an even shoddier direction and you have a mess of a film that was never needed to be made. Bradford is an aspiring dancer and Vincent has been his partner in crime in everything they do, including gay clubs and bathhouses. They slept in the beginning but are now good friends. When Bradford hurts himself and can no longer dance, they both decide that they can make a living by making gay porn and playing it in an arthouse Swedish theatre. He calls a few of his ex-tricks and hook ups and starts making films. The films succeed providing the duo with decent means of income, leading to both the men and the artists use of drugs and underground sex clubs. But success is short lived with drugs, cheap video technology and AIDS looming over. It's hard to say whether the film was intentionally made bad

Esprit De Corps (Filipino / Tagalog)

I am really not sure what to think of this film. There were times I was totally captivated by what was unfolding in front of me, but other times, I was like wtf!! The cat and mouse game of endless seduction by a superior officer to achieve your goal in a complex and haunting way, complimented by teenage sexual and social awakening. The story is simple (is it?). Captain Favila is the S3 officer in an exclusive school. Private Abel and Private Fujioka are both aspiring for Favila's prestigious position, with the power and popularity it brings. However, the one-on-one interrogations of Favila with the cadets took extremely unconventional detours for him to determine who among the two was the right candidate for the job. The cadet's every aspect is thoroughly scrutinized and humiliated physically, sexually, intellectually. The cadets are pushed to their limits and then a gentle hand from Favila leading to rape like sex. I believe the film is based in 70s and has a very theatre like

Dear Tenant (Mandarin / Min Nan)

A moving and emotional film that shows the intricacies of families within queer community and what happens when one of the members pass away. Its a slow drama with despair, sorrow, redemption and maybe a ray of happiness for people involved. Lin lives as a tenant who is looking after an old landlady suffering from late-stage diabetes and her nine-year-old grandson Yo-yu. He is regarded as a kind man by everyone including the music school where he teaches piano. But, when the old grandam dies under mysterious circumstances, things start to go downhill. Yo-yu’s uncle, Wang Li-gang, is shocked to find out that the ownership of his mother’s apartment has been transferred to Yo-yu, who has since been legally adopted by Lin. The uncle suspects. That Lin may have murdered his mother for the apartment and files a complaint. To make matters worse, drug is found in grandma's body, which it turns out was bought by Lin from another man on a gay hook-up app. Through flashbacks it is revealed th

You Belong To Me

There aren't many gay thrillers out there, at least the ones which are well made. This film had a very interesting premise. I think, this needs to be revisited with better actors, tighter screenplay and a good production team, I believe this story can have some good takers. Suspense bordering on thriller is always genre that I look forward to. Jeffrey is a very nice young man who has just spent a night with handsome Rene and feels there is something between them but Rene shrugs him off saying that he is not looking for a sweetheart. By chance that day, he sees Rene with his boyfriend entering into a building, which is possibly his apartment. The landlady of the building Gladys mistake shim for a potential tenant and nnextthilng you know is that Jeffrey has moved into the same building unknown to Rene. Rene is obviously angry when he find this out but Jeffrey is so smitten by him that he ignores signs of ever-invasive Gladys showing a lot of affection to him. Jeffrey still doesn'

Qingse ditu (Cantonese) [The Map Of Sex and Love]

OMG! This film made absolutely no sense to me at all. It was slow and very hard to follow. Half the time, I had to really focus heard to understand what was it that the makers are even trying to say. The film too forever to come to the point. A Manhattan-based filmmaker returns to Hong Kong for the purpose of documenting the opening of a new Disney theme park in Hong Kong, but instead finds himself mining his own displacement as a queer expatriate. In the process he meets a deceptively controlled gay dancer and an isolated shop girl who are drawn to his questioning nostalgia for a country that may never have been. Eventually, the trio goes on an expedition to Macau to find out whether the filmmaker's father helped launder Nazi gold during World War II.  There are so many issues being covered in the film, without making them explicit that I am not even sure which one WAS the main plot. There are lots of freeze frame and slow motion and random bath house visits. Had the film only foc

From Here on Out (Mini Series)

Spoofs are never easy to make. When there is gay content involved, our critical eye becomes even more enhanced. This mini series of 6 episodes is a show about how bad shows made by corporate idiots can be. What was interesting about it was the network hereTV's ability to make fun of itself and host network. Everything good and bad about hereTV is portrayed through its incompetent, young, and immature network exec/president. Aging gay writer Jimmy Randall finally gets a big break when he's hired to produce his own show for the Here TV network called "Guy Dubai: International Gay Spy", but only with a tiny budget and many strings attached. Even though having been asked to hire an openly gay lead, he finds out that his lead Sam is straight-out willing to go with the flow for sake of the job. We go through a few episodes of Jimmy trying to shoot the episodes, while also trying to pretend to be Sam's boyfriend. To promote the show, Taylor, network boss sets up an inter

The Event

Films on AIDS are more often than not tear jerkers. This film is almost in the same mould but with added debate about euthanasia. There is a reason that this topic is still debatable, because who decides what's best for you when you are already dying. The film seems like a low budget film, but it keeps your attention. When few AIDS patients die under similar circumstances, The DA's office believes they may her been due to assisted suicide, which is illegal in New York State and so Nicola (Nick) is assigned to investigate this case. She picks Matt Shapiro's case who recently passed away and starts interviewing people he was connected with. She meets Brian, who was Matt's caregiver and lover who runs Chelsea's HIV support clinic. She then reaches out his family and talks to his mother and his sisters. Every interview raises more questions than answers and in between all these conversations we see flashbacks of Matt's life, his coming out, telling family about him