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Showing posts from May, 2022

Un Difetto Di Famiglia (Italian) [Family Flaw]

Italian films (in the queer space) have these knack of mixing comedy, family while tackling with sensitive subjects, in this case homosexuality. I have seen a few films in the past where the message and subject is addressed and talked about but in a light hearted comic way, where it connects well with audience and it doesn't get heavy at all. This film is definitely one such film. Brothers Francesco and Nicola haven't seen each other for 40 years, ever since Francesco came out gay by declaring it in the school. Since he was a teacher at the time, he decided to spare his family the disgrace he had caused by declaring publicly his sexual orientation. When their mother dies, Francesco visits her but at the burials notary appears with the mother's last wish: to be buried next to her husband in her hometown by both her sons. After some bickering, the duo agree on the road trip where they will need to work on their issues. During this journey, Nicola finally gets to hear what was

Love Class (Korean Series)

This 6 episode (20 min each)  Korean show is a very average, mediocre yet awkward show at the same time. Don't lettuce 4 boys in the poster fool you, because this is not your typical BL show. The show tries to tackle way too many themes at the same time and as expected just no justice to any of them. There are some students in a university and they have a love class, where they are taught basics of love, dating, relationship etc. (yeah beats me!. Feel free to roll your eyes). The class is divided in pairs. JiWoo wants to pair up with a girl Yoona who he has had a crush on for the longest time, but she says she prefers to be paired with a girl. We are later told that she has been stalked by a man for. Along. Time now an is scared of men. This leads JiWoo to be paired with another guy Ro-A, who is his senior. Ro-A has also been secretly crushing on JiWoo. We then have Ro-A's roommate who likes him but ever since this love class, Ro-A can only think of JiWoo. Yoona eventually beco

Bittersweet Waters (Spanish)

Being openly gay is extremely hard in small town rural areas anywhere in the world. It's no different Mexico, where where everyone knows one another and everyone is in each other's business. Its almost impossible to live true to yourself and at the sometime it is difficult hide and you become a subject of gossip sometimes. This film may sometimes feel amateurish in its treatment but I feel it's heart was in the right place while creating the subject. Atl and Diego have been lovers and inseparable since they were 15 and are now fully grown men. Because of social pressure, Diego even has a girlfriend who is now pregnant. All lives with his mother and grandmother. For odd reason, the mother completely dislikes her family including her son, more so, because when the father died, he gave all his property to his son rather than wife. They are secretly aware of Atl's relationship with Diego and the mother uses this to extort money from him all the time. Diego's girlfriend

Fighting Mr. 2nd (Taiwanese Series)

Continuing five years since the protagonists left each other, this series is a sequel to Taiwanese BL drama, No. 1 For You. Since The setting has now moved from university days to corporate environment. I thought the prequel was quite decent to watch especially owning to the amazing chemistry that the leads shared, I was quite looking forward to this show. Sadly, the show doesn't live uptown the expectations. The story just feels made up and a bit unrealistic. Despite the chemistry shared by the leads, overall the show doesn't hold on to its premise and promise. Its been 5 years since Gao Shi De left for US. His long distance relationship with Shu Yi didn't work out (since apparently Shu Yi saw him with some girl). Gao Shi De is now CEO of a company which is being taken over by a new tech company, which turns out is the company of Shu Yi's father and he is now the VP. In their first meeting, as expected there is an emotional clash because of assumption of betrayal from

No. 1 For You (Taiwanese Series)

A nice cute love story between two ambitious university students forms the crux of this 6 episode 30 minute each story. Its never easy to confuse your love to someone, especially if you fear you can lose them as friends, and this series gives us an interesting perspective of it. After a bit slow two episodes, the series in quite light hearted and a decent fun overall watch owing to some good acting and overall likable characters. Zhou Shu Yi has always had to be content coming in second his entire life in competitions. Its primarily because of Gao Shi De, who always comes first and is handsome, smart, intelligent and an all-rounder. The duo competed not just in school but now they are enrolled in same university also. This competition is actually though one sided. Gao Shi De has secretly had a crush on Zhou Shu Yi since childhood but because of their competitive nature, the two could never become friends. When a girl breaks Zhou Shu Yi's heart he is hurt and cries his heart out, wh

Summer To Winter (Thai)

This film is not gay or LGBT theme at all. Its best described as bromance if anything. The production of the film seem very amateurish and not just that that, the overall feeling that I was left after the movie was very unsatisfactory. No kisses, no hugs or anything but just a very vague hint of possible bromance or friendship. Don't be fooled by the poster. A scrappy plot, I am not sure what were the film makers trying to do here. Tum, a young boy lives in an island in a resort run by his parents. He doesn't have any friends and feels lonely and his father tries to control him a lot including his choice of education. One day he meets another boy names Kim who asks to become friends with him. Initially reluctant, Tum finally gives into Kim's charms and they become close friends. A secret is soon revealed though that Kim is a ghost but the duo decide to stay friends. Soon Tum goes to college and falls for a girl, but a drunken incident leads them astray. Kim tries to be clos

Fish Upon The Sky (Thai Series)

I have started to keep my expectations low now with Thai BL shows. I sort of know what I am getting into and hence prepare myself. This show is no different in the sense that a small plot of love is stretched way too much in 12 episodes, and this could easily have been a mini series. But thankfully the goofiness and silliness of some these characters actually make it a pleasurable watch. Sure, it keeps going in circles but that fact that I rolled my eyes only a handful of times during the whole show means it actually was alright. Pi is a nerdy geeky second year dentist student. Even though he is very conscious of his looks, he has always had a crush on a popular university student Nan. However Nan's best friend Mark is always with him, much to annoyance of Pi who can't do much about it. More is aware of Pi's crush on Nan and teases him. Meanwhile Pi wonders if More is his rival in getting Nan's attention. Pi decides to go for a makeover with help of his brother Duean, w

Labbra Di Lurido Blu (Italian) [Lips of Lurid Blue]

This was an extremely odd film to be honest. But given that it was released in 70s, I can't imagine what sort of confinements were the makers working with. Even though the male lead is supposedly gay, there are no scenes to prove otherwise. Elli and Marco are an unquestionably unusual wedded couple. Due to a damage as a kid, Marco harbors homosexual drives that he represses inside his married life and Elli is a barely suppressed nymphomaniac. The marriage is useful for both of them as it allows them to blend in within the confines of their regular social life in a sanctimonious provincial town. Their marriage, however, does not solve their problems, nor are things made any easier by the unexpected return of George, the English antiquarian "friend" of Marco, who now tries to seduce Marco. Marco kills the girl who loves him, whom he has rejected, and then throws himself from a tower, under the eyes of Elli and George. The plot is interesting and there could have been so muc

A Very Serious Person

A story about some unusual people in unusual circumstances. This feels like a Hallmark/Lifetime kind of a film, which, then becomes a very personal opinion on whether the film is good or bad. We will come to that later. The IMDb summary of the film rightly describes it as a coming-of-age tale about a showtunes- and old Hollywood-obsessed boy and his effete Danish mentor. The two bond and teach each other lessons about self-acceptance over the course of one magical summer on the Jersey Shore. Ailing Mrs. A is traveling with her 13 year old grandson Gil to their summerhouse where the caretaker Betty completes their makeshift family. Mrs. A doesn't get along well with nurses, so its a surprise when a Danish origin male nurse Jan, a no nonsense man, normally serious about his job, enters the scene, they both hit it off quite well. Gil adores and worships his grandmother but also acts out sometimes knowing very well that she is not going to live long and he is just ignoring this. With J

Bathhouse (Filipino)

Every single gay man is familiar with Bathhouses. They may or may not have visited one, but they know of it. The bathhouse - a place where gay men can go to relax, kick off their shoes (and clothes) and enjoy each other's company. The idea of this film is to take you into this world of towel clad men, back room sex and the search for that ever elusive perfect boyfriend (don't ask why anyone would think of getting a boyfriend here). We are introduced to a famous Bathhouse and its patrons. Genesis owns and runs the club and makes sure only the good looking guys become members. Every year, one person is also chosen to be "the guy" who gets to enjoy everything for free. This guy is the hunky Kris, who everyone wants to sleep with and he gets to choose or reject. We then meet a young college boy Rico who is just discovering his sexuality and ends up joining the club when he is invited by Kris who sees him on a bus one day. Rico is clear that he wants only monogamy and fall

Miss Andy (Mandarin)

Although this film is from Taiwan, the setting of this place is in Malaysia and highlights the challenges transgender people face. It snot like Taiwan doesn't have their share of issues, but I am sure there was a reason this film was set in Malaysia. This film tells us the story of Andy (who now calls herself Yvonne) and tells the story of the sympathetic titular character and her struggle to be accepted by her makeshift new family. We are introduced to Yvonne's life which is full of struggles and troubles. Her clumsy attempt for sexual services to a violent man doesn't go well and soon her best friend Lucy is also killed. Yvonne (earlier Andy) has been completely shunned by her family. Her three grown up kids want to have nothing to do with their transgender father. SO you an imagine the life of dejection Andy/Yvonne is facing, but nothing deters her from being true to herself. She occasionally works as a van driver for a friend Teck, a young handsome guy but who is half d

The Sergeant

Open homosexuality themes back in 60s in feature films like this must hav been a huge deal, especially in this scenario where the setting is military and we all know how sensitive the whole thing can be. The film is a bit confused with its study of latent homosexuality, but its hard for me to actually make a judgement since the situation back then was so different. A dedicated, decorated war veteran, Master Sergeant Callan, is posted in France in 1952. Finding a lack of discipline under the frequently drunk Captain, he takes charge in a tough, no-nonsense manner. But distracting the sergeant is a physical attraction to one of his men, Private Thomas Swanson, that seems at odds with everything in Callan's personality. He makes Swanson his orderly and befriends him socially, but behind his back scares off the private's girlfriend. Callan's confusion and depression grows and he begins to drink. Filled with self-loathing and unable to act on the natural attraction he feels for

Alternative Love (Mandarin)

I have realized that gay themed films from China, even though far and in between, are made with certain reservations and rush where stories are pretty ordinary and sometimes they are not brought to proper conclusion. The 70 isa minute film has a very ordinary story, something you have seen a zillion times, yet it leaves a lot to be desired. School's popular boy You Xie is in a steady relationship with his girlfriend. When a new student Chang Jie joins the class, things change. Because of his interest in music, he and the girlfriend end up becoming friends. You Xie pays no attention to him, but one drunk night the two guys get into a one night stand and You Xie decides to do the right thing. He breaks up with his girlfriend and asks Chang Jie to be his boyfriend. The girl friend can't take this insult and will go to any lengths to bring back her love. But every single trick of hers gets exposed and it is increasingly hard for her to break apart the lovers. She then lets You Xie&

Black Summer (Korean)

This was such an odd film. It took me more than half the film to even wrap my head around on what really is happening, because as far as I could see, the film was about 4-5 friends just hanging out in their apartment eating, drinking and chatting. The scenes are random and distributed and have no regular flow and feels like random scenes stitched with one another. I actually had to read the synopsis to even figure out what I just saw and this is a huge problem. Jihyeon works at the university as a part-timer, writing and making films. One day, as he holds an audition while preparing for his next film, he meets Geonwoo, a budding actor and a junior colleague from school. They share many things in common including not particularly physically affectionate with their girlfriends, despite being in relationship for around 4 years. None of them is gay but there is some sort of mental and physical attraction between the two guys. Their relationship becomes a topic of controversy in the univers

Queer Duck: The Series

Who would have ever thought of a lead gay cartoon character. This animated series is almost 20 years old, but somehow I wasn't even aware of it. Queer Duck was the first animated series to have homosexuality as its predominant theme and is about a "group of American gay animals" with their personalities seemingly "based on gay white men." There are 20 episodes each of about 3 minutes long, so its an easy breezy watch. Queer Duck is the lead character who is known to gossip about anything and everything, especially on the phone while watching television. Over the course we find out he has Jewish mother in denial of his sexuality, a straight brother, a nephew and lesbian sister. 'Openly Gaytor' is Queer Duck's boyfriend. He is insecure and shy and usually a voice of reason. One of their friends is Bi-polar Bear, who often makes bad jokes and no one else but he finds it funny and finally Oscar Wildcat, an urbane alcoholic cat, who has a deep dislike for

Wake Up, Leonard

Part comedy, part self-help nightmare; this film is just weird and a one man show that would have been much better as a solo theatre act than movie. The film actually starts off well and after first awkward 10 minutes, I even got into the lead's acting of the character but then it just goes nowhere. It goes into this spiritual philosophical self help that it just gets boring. Leonard is 30 something gay man who is just moving his apartment. His ex texts him out of the blue and they decide to meet in the evening. But Leonard is extremely nervous about the meeting because he think he will give into his needs as always. He reaches out to his random therapist to fix his vibrations and aura and this is where the film just turns bizarre and really doesn't add much to the story. Even the simple things such as finding the perfect shirt increase his anxiety. From hereon, it's a slowburn one man’s quest for wellness while failing miserably to stay on his vibe.  I think the film maker

Jaurès (French) (Documentary)

Touted as an inventive collage approach mixing reality and fiction, I am not sure what is it that this documentary was really trying to say or achieve. Twi sis one of the most basic, very random documentary who ha son idea if it wants to tell a love story between two men or make a commentary on refugee crisis. The title of the film Jaurès refers to a prominent underground station in Paris. A man and a woman are watching random video footage shot from someone's flat overlooking a canal. The footage has views of the street, the metro line running above it, buildings opposite and most prominently the Afghan refugees who have setup a make shift shelter at the two ends of the canal. Apparently the flat is of Simon, this man's lover whom he used to visit most nights. The documentary is a series of questions asked by the woman to this man Vincent watching footage asking him about his platonic gay relationship with the mysterious Simon while also looking at the refugees crisis. We neve

Martyr (Arabic)

This is definitely not a gay film, but its for sure one of the more homoerotic ones, even though its set under the pretext of death. I know these both things sound oxymoron, but the way the camera lingers a lot longer on a single man's body and everything around it, the makers were clearly going for homoeroticism. There is no other kind of audience that would connect with the film. The plot os simple. Set in a poor section of Beirut, we meet Hassan who is aimless in life and sleeping at his parents house. Instead of looking for work, he spends the day with three other friends at the beach. A few conversations about life, work and friends lead the two of them  to climb up to a busy walkway and, before his buddies and a cluster of onlookers, take a fatal dive into this rocky bit of the Mediterranean. The dive is fatal for Hassan and his friends run around to save him but is too late. They take the body home to his parents where they discuss if he can be considered a martyr. There is

Love Area: Part 2 (Thai Series)

Part 2 of this show shows us the continued yet troubled relationship of Kaitoon with Valen and the medical student Non's secret obsession for Kaitoon. I was hoping that after a very average first part, the makers would have received some feedback and would have done a good job with sequel, but sadly this 8 part sequel is stretched way beyond needed, with very incoherent and inconsistent writing, aimless plot and the characters that go nowhere. There is a whole lot of nonsense in this show. Kaitoon is now aware of Non's secret obsession with him and he tries his best to keep their friendship strictly platonic. Meanwhile he fails to see how clearly Valen has fallen for him and his nerves are because of his love. Eventually with the help of friends, theier romance does get a head start after some awkwardness. Despite this, Valen is insecure about their relationship because of Non and in a very weird finale, the dup separate with Kaitoon saying he needs time to sort out his head. W

Love Area: Part 1 (Thai Series)

From a plot perspective this show doesn't really have anything new to offer. We have by now seen umpteen stories of two young boys falling in love with one another under multiple possible scenarios, so you get to see another one of those here. The one big difference here though is a very charming lead actor. Its his innocence and charm yet a shining positivity around him that makes this show go above average. The part 1 consists of 6 episodes of 45 minutes each and the story will continue in the next season. Kaitoon is an orphan kid who has always been alone and is used to doing multiple jobs to keep going. When he enters university, he befriends his neighbor Nont, on whose recommendation he goes to interview in a Japanese restaurant called 'Love Area' and gets hired. His willingness to help everyone and hardworking impresses one and all in the workplace. One night after returning from work, he is threatened to be robbed by a young guy around his age who is being followed b

Heartstopper (Web Series) (UK)

Heartstopper has got be the most endearing, warm, earnest , romantic coming-of-age story currently on TV. Currently streaming Netflix, It is powerful, it is romantic, it is joyous, it is charming, the way it handles complex characters and situations and just how important is to have a light hearted romantic and a positive LGBTQ+ show for us audience. When there is a show that brings a smile on your face, makes you wanna just go right to the next episode, brings the largest smile on your face throughout and makes you wanna live your teenage years all over again, its obvious that the show is doing it all right. Of course, anything in British accent makes it even more charming. The story is set in all boys high school in UK. Charlie is the nerdy, chronic apologizer, who was forcibly outed as gay in school the previous year. His best friends who have been his support are Tao, the straight nerd, Issac and Elle, a trans female who has just enrolled in the girls high school. Charlie has been

Modern Love Mumbai: Baai (Hindi)

This story is actually one of the six love story in the anthology series Modern Love Mumbai recently released on Amazon Prime. In what feels like a very romantic and poetic setting, this almost 45 minute long film  explores the challenges of coming out in a seemingly-modern society that often keeps its real views on same-sex love in the closet. The title 'Baai' is a Urdu word often used to refer to your grandmother. Manzu is one of the scions of a conservative Muslim family. A stolen kiss with neighbor boy makes him realize he is gay and comes out to his parents who refuse to believe and understand him. The doting grandmother wants to see him get married but she doesn't know about him and he also doesn't wanna risk her health by coming out to her. The granny is now sick and the family has got together to pay their respects. This is when through flashback we know that Manzu moved to Goa in his passion for music, where he meets a chef Rajveer and before you lock love kick

Zimniy Put (Russian) [Winter Journey]

When you read where the plot says that the film is a intricate gay love story between a musician and a bully set in Russia with landscapes of Moscow in winter, I was really looking forward to this film. I mean how many movies have we ever seen from Russia of all places, but gosh!! this film went over me so badly. I am not really sure what it was trying to say, but besides an intriguing plot, the execution left a lot to be desired. Eric, a budding musician, is preparing for an important audition and his teacher is not really happy with his progress. The day gets worse when traveling in bus, a ruffian Lyokha simply takes Erik’s headphones and phone, leaving his keychain behind. Even though Eric's teacher advised him proper rest, he decides to spend a night with his boyfriend(?) and his other gay friends all night drinking. Lyokha uses Erik’s stolen cell phone to get hold of Eric and ask him to return his keychain. This brings the two together again and initiates an uneasy dance of so

Mermaid Sauna (Taiwanese Series)

A zany Taiwanese comedy about gender swap is the basic premise of this show. Although the plot is quite thin and you may feel the story line is silly, the performances from the three leads keep this 8 episode (15 minutes each) series lively and entertaining to a certain extent but certain sequences become inconsequential and relevant too. As always, good marks for the novelty of the subject at least. A-Bu, a single gay man in his 40s, with his sharp wit and humour, is the owner of a gay bathhouse Mermaid Sauna. He has two employees: a young 22 year old university student Xiao Chi who is works there so he gets free nude models to draw and Hua Hua, a beautiful and very flirtatious female who has a complicated love life because of her continues seductive charms on every guy. Xiao has a girlfriend who like shim very much but he is a very shy guy and doesn't know much about love or anything. One night the trip are partying and they end the night drinking up a special sake. Next day they

Oasis (English/Spanish)

You know what's worse than a bad film? The fact that the makers think they they are making some sort of a classic and truly believe that and expects the audience to buy into that bullshit. Even the film is merely 70 minutes in duration, it is already 60 minutes more than the length it actually should be for whatever useless nonsense it is trying to say. Andrew arrives from US to Panama in hopes of reconnecting with an old friend Oliver. They are both married to women, but clearly have some attraction. Andrew shows up unannounced and forces Oliver to go for a boys retreat to a resort. The duo drink and hike and in their conversations we find that clearly Oliver harbors unrequited feelings for Andrew which were dashed when he got married and Andrew even though knowing about it, plays around with his feelings. After ingesting a hallucinogenic drug Andrew purchased called “Oasis”, the plot takes an unexpected turn that leaves the audience marginally intrigued, slightly titillated but a

Il Filo Invisibile (Italian / English) [The Invisible Thread]

I absolutely loved this film. Gay permuting as a subject is fascinating and there can be so many stories here which I don't think we are yet to explore. This film shows us one such family through the viewpoint of a son wrestling with the ups and downs of adolescence, whose two fathers have reached crisis point and are on the verge of separation. The film is mixed with joy and pain, drama and comedy but most importantly realism, which in this case shows to prove that a gay couple is no different from any other couple when it comes to anything family related. Simone and Paolo are a gay couple who are on the verge of celebrating their 20th anniversary. Their teenage son Leone born through surrogacy with help of their friend Tully is making a documentary of their family as part of his school project. The trio is one big happy family, until on the night of the celebration it is revealed that Simone has been having an affair with someone for past two years. The incident comes as a huge s

Ich Fühl Mich Disco (German) [I Feel Like Disco]

This film is so many things. Drama, tragedy, coming of age, comedy but most importantly its the story of building relationships between an otherwise estranged father and son. Parenting is never easy and people learn on the journey, and this film tries to give us that glimpse. Its not really a gay film per say but since father-son relationship evolution involves the son exploring his sexuality, I am reviewing it here on my blog. Teenager Florian lives with his parents. He has excellent relationship with his mother who is everything to him, but not so well with his father, who is always struggling not knowing what to do with his son. Florian is fat, not interested in sports or girls, has two left hand. When the mother gets a stroke and is in coma, the father son have to reevaluate their relationship with one another. The father is a swimming coach and he takes Florian along with him to the pool. There Florian meets another boy and he starts to have feelings and sexual awakening to that b