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GAY INDIE CINEMA!

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"Naked As I Came" is a wonderfully different "gay film" from writer/director, Richard LeMay.

 

It concerns a brother and sister who are paying a visit to their dying mother.

 

They also come across a groundskeeper/cook who is helping the mother to survive her loneliness.

 

Relationships are very strained, to say the least.

 

Although the brother and sister run the family business - a string of laundromats - they do not really seem that fond of each other.

 

He's both gay and "active"; she's separated from her husband.

 

The dying mom doesn't seem to have that much of a relationship with her children.

 

She did opt out for country living and an uncommon devotion to flowers.

 

The groundskeeper/cook is working on his second novel.

 

What distinguishes this seemingly seething family drama from a lot of other seemingly seething family dramas is that the "revelations" come more or less slowly.

 

Nobody is motivated to blast each other with this secret or that secret.

 

So, a "very contemplative mood" settles over these people as they begin to realize where they might be going and where they might be ending up.

 

There is no ranting and raving - just the cumulative effect of "problems".

 

I credit the writer/director, Richard LeMay, for taking us on a seemingly slow journey that prefers to reveal problems with caution and restraint.

 

Although they easily could, nobody is hitting each other over the head.

 

I love the scene in which the sister discovers that her brother is sleeping with the groundskeeper/cook.

 

She simply says, "Why can't you be alone?"

 

The acting cannot be faulted - the actors weave a hypnotic spell.

 

They are Benjamin Weaver, as Ted, who simply accepts the fact that he needs a man - a lot.

 

Karmine Ulers, as Laura, who works really hard to control her anger.

 

Lue McWilliams, as Lilly, who would have liked to have been a much better mom.

 

And Ryan Vigilant, as Elliot, who is harboring a dire secret of his own.

 

See this one, it is really a breath of fresh air.

 

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"The Blue Hour" is a gay thriller from Thailand.

 

It seems to be strongly influenced by Michaelangelo Antonioni.

 

At the same time, it seems to be strongly influenced by horror movies, too

 

Two gay teens meet for a hook-up at an abandoned and "haunted" swimming pool complex.

 

As they try to build some sort of relationship, they travel through the most barren kind of landscape, too.

 

The film takes on a much scarier mix as they encounter dead bodies

 

In the end, it would seem that one of the teens, Tam, is seriously ill from long-endured abuse at school and home.

 

His boyfriend, Phum, is ever there at his side.

 

The enigmatic conclusion seems to indicate that both boys, who have long realized the odds against them, decide to end it all in the "haunted" swimming pool.

 

This strange, strange film is extremely slow - and so idiosyncratic - that it exerts a special kind of power over the viewer.

 

Tam is played hauntingly by Attapun Poonsawad.

 

Phum is played powerfully by Oabnithi Wiwattanauarang,

 

CAN LOVE SURVIVE ANYTHING?cuddling-rs.jpg

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"4th Man Out" is a "Neanderthal comedy" in every way from conception to execution.

 

I hesitate to give the names of anybody who was involved in this "stinking pile of garbage".

 

The film is about four very close friends, one of whom is secretly gay and finally comes out to his buddies - and everybody else.

 

An example - just one, there are many - of its' sparkling wit - when the gay son comes out to his parents, he actually grabs a piece of sausage off his father's plate and puts it into his mouth (?!)

 

Could the film sink any lower?

 

Yes, and it often does.

 

Avoid this one at all costs!

 

fourth-man-out1.jpg

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"4th Man Out" is a "Neanderthal comedy" in every way from conception to execution.

 

I hesitate to give the names of anybody who was involved in this "stinking pile of garbage".

 

The film is about four very close friends, one of whom is secretly gay and finally comes out to his buddies - and everybody else.

 

An example - just one, there are many - of its' sparkling wit - when the gay son comes out to his parents, he actually grabs a piece of sausage off his father's plate and puts it into his mouth (?!)

 

Could the film sink any lower?

 

Yes, and it often does.

 

Avoid this one at all costs!

 

fourth-man-out1.jpg

Well what do you expect from a bro comedy?

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"Four Moons" from Mexico is an interesting omnibus film - 4 different gay stories - in which the stories are interwoven with each other rather than allowed to play separately.

 

In one, two young men realize a homosexual attraction to each other - but one of them would like to keep it a secret.

 

In another, two somewhat older gay men are involved in a long-term relationship, but one of them wants his partner to be a less feminine man.

 

In another, an elderly married man, who is about to be honored for his poetry, develops an attraction to a much younger man in the steamroom.

 

In yet another, a young boy begins to realize that he is attracted to a young friend.

 

These stories are well-written, well-acted and well-directed.

 

The production values are very high, too.

 

The first story is the only one that ends happily - the guy who wants to live in the shadows realizes that his life in the closet wouldn't be worth living.

 

The second story does not end happily - the guy who wants his partner to be less "femme" becomes involved with a really macho guy, who isn't really that interested in him.

 

The third story has a bittersweet ending - two very different men realized a "moment" and that "moment" is what happened between them.

 

In the fourth, the young boy simply realizes that his father will always be a problem.

 

The film does throw an awful lot into the mix, but the film is consistently entertaining and instructive.

 

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"Futuro Beach" is a Brazilian/German co-production.

 

Stunningly gorgeous, it explores the fact that, sometimes, love isn't exactly "convenient" and that that kind of love can have a high cost.

 

Donato is a Brazilian beauty who falls in love with a visiting German, Konrad.

 

When Donato visits Konrad in Berlin, he decides to build a life with him.

 

In the process, he leaves behind his mother and brother, Ayrton.

 

Years later, Ayrton tracks his brother down and tries to re-connect with him.

 

It is beautifully photographed by Ali Olcaz Gozkaya.

 

It is also beautifully acted by Wagner Moura (as Donato), Clemens Schick (as Konrad) and Jesuita Barbosa (as Donato's abandoned brother).

 

Its' story is told mainly through visuals - there is a minimum of exposition - and this fact is such a refreshing change.

 

Futuro-Beach.jpg

 

WHAT PRICE - "HAPPINESS"?

 

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What upsets me about gay independent cinema is that there is never enough publicity about it.

 

Just recently, I saw some remarkable films - "Naked As We Came", "The Blue Hour", "Four Moons" and "Futuro Beach".

 

Okay, they are not your typical multiplex fare.

 

But there should be theaters that support these films for more than a one-week engagement.

 

In the NYC area, there is only one theater, the Quad Cinema, that shows these films - and, sometimes, another, The Cinema Village - and, if you don't get there that very first week, you will probably miss it.

 

Yes, I am grateful to Netflix for making these films available.

 

But, everytime you hit on one, you are "working in the dark".

 

But, I suppose, Netflix is the future of gay indie film.

 

 

 

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What upsets me about gay independent cinema is that there is never enough publicity about it.

 

Just recently, I saw some remarkable films - "Naked As We Came", "The Blue Hour", "Four Moons" and "Futuro Beach".

 

Okay, they are not your typical multiplex fare.

 

But there should be theaters that support these films for more than a one-week engagement.

 

In the NYC area, there is only one theater, the Quad Cinema, that shows these films - and, sometimes, another, The Cinema Village - and, if you don't get there that very first week, you will probably miss it.

 

Yes, I am grateful to Netflix for making these films available.

 

But, everytime you hit on one, you are "working in the dark".

 

But, I suppose, Netflix is the future of gay indie film.

It's a tough road for all independent films these day - even the ones that have a star name get barely released-  and of course it's tougher for gay film- the last gay movie I saw at the Quad was  "Big Eden" (2000)

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"Eisenstein in Guanajuato" is an interesting study of great Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein's life-changing homosexual experience with another married man, while Sergei Eisenstein is in the process of making a film in Mexico (a film that was never edited or released in Russia or elsewhere.)

 

It's a "wild ride" in the hands of highly idiosyncratic director, Peter Greenaway.

 

This is one of the few films about "genius" that makes you believe in the subject's "genius".

 

Sergei Eisenstein is played to errie perfection by Elmer Back.

 

His lover, Palomina Caneda, is played to dreamy perfection by Luis Alberti.

 

WHAT PRICE LOVE?

 

Elmer-Back-as-Sergei-Eisenstein-.jpg

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"Boys" - what can I say? - not enough - so perhaps I should keep it short -

 

"Boys" is a 2014 gay film from the Netherlands that became successful on Dutch television and then became successful in Dutch movie theaters and then was sold for theatrical runs in many other countries -

 

quietly idyllic, it centers on two high-school students, Sieger and Marc, who are involved with the school's relay team, and who fall in love - very, very gradually - and very, very slowly, too -

 

there is nothing overly-dramatic, there are no sex scenes, just the rapture of falling in love -

 

for a film that is about 77 minutes, it packs quite a wallop.

 

Gijs Blom (Sieger) and Ko Zandvliet (Marc) are absolute perfection.

 

YOUNG LOVE, FIRST LOVE - NEVER BEFORE, NEVER AGAIN!

 

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"In The Grayscale" - a 2015 film from Chile -

 

An extraordinary film, which is about a married man who leaves his wife and son, because he just isn't happy with or fulfilled by that life and, then, during the course of a work project, meets a gay man with whom he has a full-blown affair -

 

unfortunately, when Bruno is pushed into a decision, he finds that he can neither commit to his wife and son or the man in his life, Fer -

 

this film has a beautifully written screenplay by Rodrigo Antonio Norero and boasts really nuanced direction from Claudio Marcone -

 

the performances from Francisco Celhay (as Bruno) and Emilio Edwards (as Fer) are very deeply felt performances - you feel very deeply for both of them and want the best for both of them, too -

 

interesting footnote - there's a lot of nudity from Francisco Celhay - even full-frontal nudity, too - but it is so casually done, so natural and unassuming, that it does not seem like such a big deal -

 

see this film, it is unforgettable.

 

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"Wasp" is a 2015 gay film from England.

 

Deliberately non-dramatic - and quite strange - it tells of a young woman (Elly Condron) who seems to be on the verge of disrupting the relationship of a loving gay couple (Simon Haycock and Hugo Bolton).

 

The young woman, who has been dumped by her lover of three years, is probably a lot more complicated - and malevolent - than the film is ever able to grasp or penetrate.

 

The young men should've really known better - and stayed away.

 

At one point, she does leave the idyllic surroundings of their summer vacation - and, foolishly, both men are instrumental in bringing her back.

 

Perhaps, the writer and director, Philippe Audi-Dor, felt that there was a great deal of drama in what is lying beneath the surface, but never actually does surface.

 

The most interesting aspect of the film is how quickly the younger of the gay couple is willing to suspect his somewhat older lover of infidelity.

 

He probably has a self-destructive streak which the film isn't about to understand.

 

WASP-e1443640283122.jpg

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"Wasp" is a 2015 gay film from England.

 

Deliberately non-dramatic - and quite strange - it tells of a young woman (Elly Condron) who seems to be on the verge of disrupting the relationship of a loving gay couple (Simon Haycock and Hugo Bolton).

 

The young woman, who has been dumped by her lover of three years, is probably a lot more complicated - and malevolent - than the film is ever able to grasp or penetrate.

 

The young men should've really known better - and stayed away.

 

At one point, she does leave the idyllic surroundings of their summer vacation - and, foolishly, both men are instrumental in bringing her back.

 

Perhaps, the writer and director, Philippe Audi-Dor, felt that there was a great deal of drama in what is lying beneath the surface, but never actually does surface.

 

The most interesting aspect of the film is how quickly the younger of the gay couple is willing to suspect his somewhat older lover of infidelity.

 

He probably has a self-destructive streak which the film isn't about to understand.

 

WASP-e1443640283122.jpg

The trailer for this one is very creepy

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This film is an attempt to tell a story - without actually telling it - that's what I don't like about it.

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"Lilting" is a 2014 gay film from England -

 

It's an extremely engrossing film about the unexpected death of a young Chinese gay man, Kai (who is strongly played by Andrew Leung).

 

His lover, Richard, a young Englishman (who is also strongly played by Ben Whishaw) tries to connect with Kai's mother, Junn (who is nicely played by Cheng Pei Pei).

 

The mom doesn't speak any English and has never adapted to her English surroundings - Kai put her away in a nursing home because he and Richard had no room for her.

 

Kai was never able to come out to his mother - and she didn't forgive him for putting her into a nursing home.

 

The film involves Richard's attempts to break through to Kai's mother and to acquaint her with the fact that he and Kai had been lovers for four years.

 

Richard even hires an understanding translator, Margaret (who is nicely played by Morven Christie).

 

The fact that Richard and Junn don't share a common language - and that she has always resented Richard's presence in Kai's life - seem to present an almost insurmontable problem for any kind of relationship between the two.

 

But Richard persists - and persists - and finally contact between the two is made.

 

The film has a lovely conceit - the dead son/lover, Kai, is constantly "materalizing" in both Junn's and Richard's lives.

 

He has never really died!

 

This exceptional film is written and directed by Hong Khaou.

 

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"Drown" is a 2015 gay film from Australia -

 

Thoroughly absorbing and thoroughly repellent, too, it tells the story of a young  and homophobic lifesaver (lifeguard) who becomes obsessed with another young lifesaver, who is both secretly and discreetly gay.

 

The fact that Phil has a loving boyfriend doesn't go down well with Len.

 

And, when Phil wins out over Len in a lifesaving competition, the die seems to be cast for a tragic denouement.

 

Len is played with fire-breathing intensity by Matt Levett, who is pretty scary a lot of the time.

 

Phil is played with persuasive charm and beauty by Jack Matthews, who suspects that he might be the object of Len's desire.

 

But Len is basically a "brute" who cannot really handle his homosexual desires.

 

The ending, which borders on the "horrific", is very difficult to listen to, watch, and get through.

 

In this day and age, are films of this kind really necessary?

 

Yes, I suppose so.

 

But that fact doesn't make them any easier to experience.

 

THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS' NAME!

 

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(Seriously, though, to be gay is not to be less masculine.)

 

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This sounds like a fascinating movie.  I hope it comes on one of the cable channels.

I agree..it does sound quite interesting. Glad Ray mentioned it.

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Thanks, guys, I really do appreciate the support.

 

The fascinating thing about this movie is that it takes place in a culture (Australian lifesaving) that celebrates the beauty and strength of the male body.

 

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"Drown" does looks interesting- we know that homophobia is a big problem- specially in that kind of macho jock subculture  I would rather watch this:        https://youtu.be/2j80tCzDZgU  they could expanded into a feature

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"Our Paradise" is a 2011 gay film from France -

 

Absolutely stunning film, it tells the story of an aging male prostitute who has been driven over-the-edge by the hardness of his life.

 

He thinks nothing of attacking, even murdering his clients.

 

One night, Vassili rescues a young male prostitute who has been badly attacked and robbed in the Bois de Bologna.

 

Vassili nurses the boy back to health - but the boy is reluctant to tell him the details of his life.

 

He names himself Angelo and says - that he was born on the night that Vassili rescued him.

 

Vassili and Angelo practice their trade together, but they would really like a way out.

 

Vassili decides to visit a former BFF, who now lives with her mother and son in a suburb.

 

Everybody gets along famously.

 

Then Vassili and Angelo visit a former client of Vassili's, who is a very rich man and lives in the mountains.

 

The visit doesn't go that well due to the rich man's young lover.

 

Vassili, who is far more damanged than anybody realizes, really goes wild this time.

 

The consequences are truly tragic.

 

It's a great film, which is written and directed quite enticingly by Gael Morel.

 

Stephane Rideau as the aging Vassili and Dimitri Durdaine as the angelic Angelo lend a great deal of stunning authenticity to the film.

 

 

A LOVE THAT HAPPENED TOO LATE!

 

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The power of this film is witnessing the disintegrating effects of a really hard lifestyle.

 

Vassili and his young lover, Angelo, want "out", but they don't have the resources.

 

Visiting his former BFF and her mother and her son and visiting a former client, who was nice to Vassili, are sad and pathetic attempts to provide a new way of life for Vassili and Angelo.

 

However, Vassili is really too "far gone" for any connection to the real world.

 

And Angelo remains a mysterious enigma, who probably feels lost in a maze.

 

Like the young lovers in "Elvira Madigan", you can see Vassili and Angelo running off into the woods and starving to death.

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