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Showing posts from March, 2023

Velikku Veluppankalam (Malayalam)

This film has a very indie feeling and a story idea that had its heart at the right place but execution fails at multiple levels sadly. Also, of many non-Indians it will be hard to identify with the family dynamics and how and why every relative has a say in what goes and what doesn't. We have seen quite a few films about coming-out, but here the focus seems on father an family and the societal pressure rather than the actual dilemma of being gay/coming out and being with your loved one. Sidhu, a young introvert guy is about get married. Preparations are in full swing and it just a couple of days away , but something is bothering him and he doesn't say anything. His father is clearly boss of the house, very dominating and always worried about society and what people will say or think. The film goes on showing us wedding preparations and also the fact that something is bothering Sidhu. Eventually when his uncle comes, he tells him he doesn't want to get married, but never te

When Boys Fly (Documentary)

When Boys Fly is a 2002 documentary film about gay circuit parties. I am guessing pretty much everyone in the community is by now familiar with the concept of circuit parties - all-night dance parties with an emphasis on sex and drugs. This documentary follows three men as they attend one in Miami and the people they encounter and what happens over one night. Tone, is a 21 year old student who has attended several of these parties but has also gone out of control because of overuse of drugs. His roommates are worried about him and have delivered an ultimatum: if he "fucks up" at the White Party he will be thrown out of the house and out of his roommates' lives. Brandon, a 23 year old student of UCLA is essentially a loner and have never been to any of these parties. He is very firm in his decision not to use drugs at the party and worries that he will be ostracized at the party for his decision. Then we have the trip of Jon (19), Jason (early 20s) and Todd (mid 30s). Jon

Short Films By Jim Hubbard

Jim Hubbard is an experimental filmmaker who has made films and videos centered around protests organized by members of the LGBTQ and AIDS communities. He co-founded the New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival (now known as MIX) in 1987. He has also been active with other preservation and archiving efforts. A Valentine For Nelson (1990) A short meditation on the nature of building relationships. A long overdue love letter. A relationship is as hard to build as a cathedral -- it takes more than one lifetime. A film in which virtually every shot is intended as a metaphor. Tender, loving and unsentimental.  Blues (1982) On September 29, 1982, police raided Blues, a Black, Gay bar on West 43rd Street across from the New York Times. They brutalized the customers and destroyed the bar. On October 8th, after the mess had been cleaned up, they raided the bar again. It was the last Gay bar in the history of New York City. On October 15th, hundreds of members of the community demonst

A Cidade do Futuro (Portuguese) [The City Of The Future]

This feels like a very indie sort of film trying to make. bold new statement. There ia bit of historical, political context as well, that I important to understand to appreciate this film, which is clearly explained here. Billed as the ‘city of the future,’ Serra do Ramalho was constructed in the 1970s in order to rehouse thousands of citizens that had been forcefully relocated. The setting becomes an important backdrop for this elegant, gentle film which is full of hope for a new generation building their own family of the future. We meet our protagonists. Milla is a young girl, a school dance teacher who is bisexual (we are old later and it's being a girl). Her colleague Gilmar is a god friend of her, but it tuns out he is gay and is in a relationship with younger boy Igor. It feels everyone around knows about this but also still doesn't really acknowledge. Milla gets pregnant by Gilmar who promises to look after her. A hurt Igor visits Milla who assures her that the baby wil

His Bite Love (Thai Series)

Its a shame when you know that a show could have been better with proper editing and screenplay, but instead you get the same old drama, where all girls are made to be the bad people, almost everyone's BL be suddenly accepted because of these bad girls. There are almost 3 parallel love stories happening in the high school drama, but suddenly the makers decide to add. A murder mystery sort of elect , which is a total rip off of 'Elite", th famous show. It's impossible to endorse the tacky plots, toxic relationships, and vile behaviour in this show, but there are naughty and some goofy parts also to it which make it a bit watchable. If you don't take the show seriously, you may actually end u finding it bearable and watchable. The show has 6 episodes each of about 50 minutes, with a promise that they will come up with a sequel. Ken and Shokun secretly hook up around school Since Ken is in football team , he doesn't want anyone to know but Shokun has had enough an

Proyecto Fantasma (Spanish) [Phantom Project]

This film was such a half-baked slice-of-life drama intermixed with some sort of a ghost story. Now, my problem with films like this is also that should I really count this film as a queer cinema and review. Sure, our protagonist is a gay actor, but that angle has absolutely nothing to do with the story that this film is trying to say and this character could easily have been straight or trans or whatever and it wouldn't have made even an iota of difference. And to top that the story is weird and I am really not sure what the makers were trying to say. Pablo, handsome young man, is an aspiring gay actor. He has broken up with popular YouTuber boyfriend (but they are friends with boundaries now). To make matters worse his roommate also moves out without having paid last two months rent. Pablo is really struggling with money, so he takes up participating in clinical trials to make ends meet. But ever since the roommate left the house and left one of his sweaters behind, Pablo feels a

Sexo y revolución (Spanish Documentary) [Sex And Revolution]

This is what the official synopsis of this documentary say - In the early 1970s, Argentinean homosexuals were tortured and imprisoned by the police or in mental hospitals. Some gays decided to fight. They joined revolutionary groups and founded the Homosexual Liberation Front. But the leftist parties weren’t ready for them. The film takes its name from the FLH manifesto published in 1973, which in the film functions as the center of the story of the hard struggle carried out by the LGBT community from the formation, in the late 60s, of the first group Nuestro Mundo led by Héctor Anabitarte, until crowning with Equal Marriage and the Gender Identity law. From five testimonies of protagonists of those times (Jorge Luis Giacosa, Guillermo García, Valeria del Mar Ramírez, Daniel Molina and Alejandro Modarelli), issues like  marginalization, discrimination and struggle in the most diverse fields are reconstructed. It was an interesting perspective to see a lot of background imagery and vide

Of An Age (Australia)

A very interesting story about the peppy romance between a young queer man’s first brush with love with his friend's older brother, this film was quite charming. A story split between two decades, its the kind of film which will remind one of films like 'Weekend' which are about short lived love stories suspended in time and how it can make or break herts in ways that you can't imagine or think. And this is my second Australian feature within a few days of each other. The film starts with a frenzy very fast paced scene where the film is set in 1999. High schooler boy Kol finds himself in a frenzy when his dance partner Ebony wakes up stranded near a beach after blacking out. In a mad dash not to miss the big competition, he rushes to pick up her red-fringed gown hitches a ride with her brother Adam, who according to Ebony is the only person available to help them out and who has a car. Adam's presence has Kol both on edge and at ease. A few years older and already o

Oh My God (Vietnamese Series)

Vietnamese BL shows are still going through their multiple phases. While certain production houses are coming up with polished series, some up coming producers are still gonna take some time to reach there. But at least they ar not torturing us with 14 long episodes. Instead this series with only 5 episodes of 20-30 minutes each, is an easy watch and at the end of it, even though you may feel that story is rough around the edges, you don't feel that you have wasted a whole ton of time. The show primarily suffers due to the same BL tropes that Thai shows did few years back. Instead of developing the attraction between the leads, it focuses on tired conflicts, silly jokes, and a scheming love rival. Thankfully we get a romantic finale. Thanh has a fight with his father for joining music school and he leaves and is going somewhere. We also met An, a young man who lives in the city. Begets a call from his aging grandmother asking him to come visit her since it's been over ten years

Sublime (Spanish)

Sublime is a moving drama about two teenage friends navigating teen years, nearing adulthood , full of age appropriate angst, offering a modern ideal of masculinity. We all have probably been through a phase at the same time in life when we had this inexplicable crush on someone we knew. However, if that happens to be on one of your closest friends, even as adults, we barely know how to navigate those feelings, but it's much harder when one is a teenager and inexperienced with such feelings in general. And this Argentinian film tries to show us exactly that. A decent coming-of-age film. 15-16 year old Manuel, called Manu by everyone, and Felipe have been the best of friends since they were kids. They are a part of a music band and are virtually inseparable. They both have girlfriends and Manu has reached a point where he is ready to have sex with his girlfriend, which is encouraged by Felipe. But Manu still awkward about the whole thing. He has a feeling that his feelings for Felip

Saturday Night At The Baths

Another queer subject film from the 70s, whose name I had never heard of so far. It is the story of a bisexual triangle set against the backdrop of the legendary Continental Baths. This film depicts much of what I was familiar with as the struggle of coming out gay back before it was acceptable. With minimalistic production values and what seems like an independent film, I proceeded to watch this film with an open mind. Michael is a young pianist who has recently moved from Montana to NYC along with his girlfriend Tracy. Looking for employment, he applies for the pianist job at the Baths, given that he has to start somewhere. The manager at the baths, a good looking lad named Scotti makes a pass at Michael who clears that he is straight. Scotti invites him to an art gallery opening along with his girlfriend so they can meet each other. Tracy and Scotti hot off every well and before you know the trio become friends. Michael is dealing with some internalized homophobia while Tracy seems

Lonesome (Australia)

A coming of age story about loneliness and inherent guilt. Merge that with a very honest and sexually frank look at gay culture in the era of online hook-ups. At one point the film does try to ask whether notions of romance and connectedness are being lost in a period where sex can be used as a balm to cover emotional wounds. But also in the undercover, the story is more about wounds that take time to heal and the survivors guilt that it leaves you with where you have no problems being treated like shit sometimes. It's a fascinating story with some very very explicit sexual imagery, a bit of which was probably necessary. Casey, a country boy, is trying to escape his upbringing decided to visit Sydney. He is penniless, hungry and it is established that he is gay in the very first scene. He crashes a party to steal some food. Using Grindr, he meets a guy Tib, who invites him over for a threesome. Not knowing rules post sex, he just hangs out with Tib. Both Casey and Tib are hiding th

Moonlight Chicken (Thai Series)

Finally a Thai BL drama that gives us a very realities and relatable story line, not just from the premise perspective, but the interactions, the conversations, the relationships, the economic crisis impact, family values etc. To be honest, my friends here highly recommended me to watch this show and in the first two episodes I found it different but strictly ok. But as the story progresses, more layers are peeled, I didn't even realize but the show had completely engrossed me in it. With a well-paced structure, it allows us to get to know the characters, start relating with them and root for them. It shows that life is not perfect. Everyone has flaws, their strengths and weakness, but it's the situations that we are put into that make us. At only 8 episodes, it is still significant time since all episodes are almost an hour long each. Jim, a man in his late thirties, owns and runs a diner named Moonlight Chicken, and is very popular amongst late night patrons. He is well respe

Please Baby Please

A queer fantasy musical set in the 50s. The queer part excited me, but nit as much the fantasy and musical part. Of course, I still had to watch it :) Please Baby Please is the kind of movie a freshman or sophomore might conjure on their dorm room bed, riding a contact-high from absorbing all that a liberal arts education offers to malleable minds. It for me, for a total campy film, made for I don't know who, and wasn't even interesting or fun to watch barring a very few scenes here and there. Newlyweds Sue and Arthur start off their marital bliss by arriving at the wrong place at precisely the wrong time: A murder scene right outside their apartment building by a gang of members dressed in leather slinking in dance routine. In a surprising move, the gang lets them go after they ask their address. From here the film takes a weird turn where the couple starts feeling some desires and horny sexual yearnings. Arthur has now hots for one of the gang members and he goes to meet him

No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics (Documentary)

Let me start with a confession that I have not read any queer comic books till date and I don't think I will. It is just not my scene. So keeping that in mind, my thoughts on this documentary were already biased. Although I do understand the importance (historical and current) of queer comic books and how it helped our community, I sometimes look at things from a personal entertainment point of view, and I know where this is going to lead to. This PBS documentary shines a light on the trailblazing LGBTQ artists making underground comics and strips in the 1970s and the ’80s. It tells the story of five scrappy and pioneering cartoonists who depicted everything from the AIDS crisis, coming out, and same-sex marriage, to themes of race, gender, and disability. No Straight Lines details how people like Come Out Comix creator Mary Wings and Rupert Kinnard — the cartoonist who created the first Black, openly gay superhero — were some of the first people to recognize how underground comix

wtFOCK: Season 3 (Flemish Series) [Aka SKAM Belgium)

It's been a while since I saw a version of Skam, and this felt like any other good time. So here I am. Just finished watching Season 3 of the Belgium remake of Skam, known here as wtFOCK. The Belgian version also followed the same pattern as the Norwegian original posting clips throughout the week via social media and posts. By now, if you have seen the original version and any other remake, you know that normally Season 3 focuses on the gay story and it was the same here. This time the story is set in Antwerp, Belgium. Just like the original, here the focus of the season is Robbe, a young teen struggling with family and his own sexuality. He gets a girlfriend, much sooner than any of his other boy friends. But he knows something is off and doesn't feel very sexual for the girl. On one of the seaside trips, he meets another boy names Sander. He is mysterious, attractive and something about him that instantly attracts Robbe towards him. They both feel a certain chemistry towards

My Hustler

This 70 minute Warhol film covers the activities of the "Dial A Hustler" service, as an older man seeks a young hustler for a companion. The fact that the film came back in 1965 says something and I can see that special screening of this film must have done some wonders, but it hasn't aged well at all. But then which one of his film has! The camera pans between a bronzed, blond hustler, statuesque on the sand, and an ageing queen talking on the verandah of a beach house in Fire Island. The queen provides most of the soundtrack: part monologue, part conversation in best New York camp style, witty, vicious, outrageous, etc. Dramatic interest of sorts is provided by the arrival of a female neighbour intent on seducing the hustler, and shortly after of the Sugar Plum Fairy, another hustler, also with a lustful eye on the beach. The three have a bet as to which one will succeed; and the second half is filmed with a static camera in the bathroom while they wash and shave. At th

To Sir, With Love (Thai Series)

A Thai language but Chinese culture soap opera show. This was probably one of my first soap opera based show with a central gay character and focus on the fight for gay love, but the drama is so much more than just the gay character. A drama projected with the intensity of emotions, frustrations, and complicated feelings that only increases over time as the characters progress and grow. The show is long and will need a commitment. It has been almost a month now since I started watching the show. Sure, there are only 17 episodes but they are all 70 minutes long and a plethora of characters who are all very very important. I had my reservations when I started watching the show only because soap operas are no longer my thing, but the constant twists, turns, surprises, grey characters, love stories had me hooked and I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Although it did take up a lot of time and energy to watch this one. I am going to try my best to summarize my feelings and

Since Stonewall (Short film collection)

Originally produced as 10 short motion pictures in the 1970's, 1980's and the early 1990's. Ten short films (two of which are animated) reflecting the feelings, fears, humor, artistry, and changing realities of gays and the gay life in America. 1. Which Is Scary Many stories are told relating difficult, traumatic, and sometimes humorous incidents in the teller's lives that resulted from their homosexuality. 2. Queerdom A cleft-chinned muscle man wakes up on morning feeling a little queer. Made in the 70s with the soundtrack from the 60s, this film evokes universal laughter of recognition. 3. A.I.D.S.C.R.E.A.M. A plea to gain understanding from a society that is trying to desexualized gay culture.  4. Discipline of DE The idea of DE (Do Easy) is to reduce all physical exertion to the absolute minimum. 5. Song From An Angel Records the moving and final performance of AIDS patent Rodney Price. 6. Triangle Expressionist drawings depict jazz-age escapism clashing with WW2. 7

Yves Saint Laurent (French)

A look at the life of French designer Yves Saint-Laurent from the beginning of his career in 1958 when he met his lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé. I have to admit that I am not. A fashion crazy person by any means, but we all must have the famous YSL sign somewhere in our lives, so naturally I was quite interested in seeing the story behind this gay designer. This film is presented to us from the viewpoint of Pierre. This disjointed film shows us a 21 year old nervous boy wonder Saint Laurent who gets appointed as the new head designer of France's biggest fashion house Dior. A couple of years later, conscripted to fight in the Algerian war, he suffers a mental breakdown after bullying about his sexuality. Enter Pierre Bergé – the businessman who became his boyfriend, bodyguard and business partner. The duo fall in love immediately. While Yves is the creative brain, Pierre handles almost everything else. They decide to open his own fashion house. But in mid 60s' the fas

Conversion (Documentary)

A psychologist practicing conversion therapy has a chance encounter with a young gay activist, resulting in his own epiphany concerning the very practice he was conducting. Gerald Davison, a USC professor of psychology, went from being a young psychologist practicing a form of conversion therapy on gay men to publicly speaking out against the practice at a national convention before about 1,000 of his peers. The film tells the story of how two unlikely friends — straight psychologist Davison and gay activist Charles Silverstein — changed the psychology world for the better after first crossing paths 50 years ago at a convention of the Association for Advancement of Behavioral Therapies in New York City. He presented a workshop at the convention that year on “new and more humane” ways the help gay men change their sexual orientation that didn’t involve any kind of punitive aversion methods such as using painful electric shocks applied to the fingers. In attendance was Chuck Silverstein,

H.I.M. aka (About Him: Freshman Year) (Web Series)

I had seen the Signal TV show 'About Him' few years back. But apparently there has been some sort of falling out between the author of the book series and the makers/director of the original show. So even though, Signal TV came with a sequel of the show called 'About Him: The Revolution', it had new characters and storyline. In contrast this show, originally titled 'About Him: Freshman Year' is actually a true blue sequel in the sense that it carries the story forward of Damien, since it's written by the same author. The show was taken up by another channel for distribution. Freshman Year is the Season 2 that continues the story line with Damien as he goes to North Carolina Tech to major in computer science following his wildest summer where he not only fell in love with his brother's best friend but he also hooked up with three other guys, including his play-cousin Kendall. Due to financial difficulties, Damien is forced to live off campus with Kendall