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GAY INDIE CINEMA!

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"Gayby Baby" is a 2015 documentary from Australia -

 

It follows four kids - Gus, Ebony, Matt and Graham - who are living with same-sex parents.

 

Three of the couples are made up of lesbian parents - and one of the couples is made up of two gay men.

 

All of the couples have problems - and, of course, the children are involved - but the film does not really have a political agenda.

 

Instead, it involves us in the nitty gritty of lives that are supposedly "outside of the norm"

 

The children are loving and strong - they know that their parents are "different", but they are totally committed to their parents.

 

One lesbian couple actually gets an audience with the then-Prime Minster of Australia (a woman).

 

The film was made by Maya Newell, who grew up with same-sex parents, and Ms. Newell made the film over a three and a half year period.

 

It's a very sympathetic and informative - and, sometimes heartbreaking - family portrait of same-sex parents and their kids.

 

But, if you are looking for a rousing political statement, you are not going to get one.

 

GUS AND HIS BROTHER HAVE A MOMENT OF TRIUMPH AT THE SYDNEY GAY AND LESBIAN MARDI GRAS PARADE -

 

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"The Seminarian" is a 2010 gay American film - 

 

It's the kind of film that you will either love - or hate.

 

It's a very low-key - very slow - study of a "closeted" gay man who is in his last year of religious studies and hopes to write/submit a desertation that will gain him access to Yale.

 

He becomes increasingly interested in another gay man, who lives about an hour's drive from him and who doesn't really seem that interested in him (although they did hook up once, just once).

 

Ryan tries to get a grip on himself, this other guy, a blonde beauty, Bradley and negotiate the other relationships in his life.

 

He has another gay friend at the seminary, who's involved with another gay classmate and he has another friend who does not really seem that interested in him (but does turn out to be, anyway).

 

He's also concerned about his mother, who is a widow now and doesn't want to date.

 

Two other friends are both heterosexual and are planning a wedding.

 

As he gets nearer and nearer to completing that dissertation, he does ask himself some pretty probing questions -

 

What is God?  Who is God?

 

When we love - openly - another human being, are we then closest to God?

 

Because, we are told, aren't we, that God loves "his children"?

 

When we can both love and then even forgive, isn't that kind of love the very best part of God's love?

 

In the end, Ryan does not have a happy ending.

 

And his dissertation does seem to have a negative slant.

 

As low-key and as slow as it is, the film is beautifully carried by its' star, Mark Cirillo.

 

And, as Bradley, Eric Parker Bingham is that elusive, elusive "blond beauty".

 

But, as I said at the beginning, this is the kind of film that can really freak you out.

 

You might even want to write a nasty note to the director, Joshua Lim.

 

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"The Falls" is a gay American film from 2012 -

 

Quietly observant and very sympathetic, it tells the story of two 20-year-old Mormans who are doing their first mission in Oregon together - RJ or Elder Smith and Chris or Elder Merril.

 

RJ and Chris lead a very regimented life of introducing their faith to whomever will listen to them.

 

Although they are often met with outright indifference, their Mormonism drives them on day by day.

 

If it seems like a hard life, these boys are young enough to overcome the roughness.

 

They also need to report to another Elder about their progress and their converts.

 

And they need to show up at any and all meetings.

 

Gradually, RJ and Chris begin to realize an attraction for each other.

 

Surprisingly, they give in to it; they do not fight it.

 

As they begin to embrace who they really are, they relax into a more fun-loving existence.

 

Becoming who they are is a totally NEW EXPERIENCE for them.

 

Gradually, their secretive love affair is discovered and Elder Smith is forced to choose between who he is and Mormonism.

 

In a moving speech, he rails against his life-long Mormonism and accepts and celebrates - without shame -   his gay self.

 

In the end, as he sits alone in a wooded area before a waterfall, you just know that he has made the right decision.

 

The film is beautifully written, produced and directed by Jon Garcia.

 

It is also beautifully acted by its' stars, Nick Ferrucci as RJ and Benjamin Walker as Chris.

 

THE DEEPEST KIND OF KISS - IT RE-DEFINES YOUR WORLD, YOUR EXISTENCE -

 

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Joshua Lim seems to make this sort of annoying gay indie- he has another one called "Godless" about two brothers who might have more than brotherly relationship

 

He does have an eye for casting good looking actors.

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"Eat With Me" is a gay American film from 2014 -

 

A thoroughly charming comedy, it concerns a Chinese mom, who decides to leave her husband and then moves in with her gay son, who is trying to keep his restaurant afloat and is also trying to find a boyfriend.

 

As much as Emma finds out about Elliot, Elliot can also claim to find out about his mom.

 

Both mother and son want to love each other, and their differences do not destroy their relationship in any way.

 

When Elliott's restaurant is in foreclosure and he decides to open a pop-up restaurant, both mother and son bond over this business venture without thinking twice.

 

Even dad shows up in a display of familial accord.

 

And Elliot has actually found a charming Englishman, Ian, who likes both him and his food!

 

Food is a very important ingredient in this film - it seems like a common meeting-place for everybody.

 

If you can't bond over food, what can you bond over?

 

The consistent lightness of the material is such an on-going delight.

 

I'd have to thank David Au, who wrote and directed the film.

 

Sharon Omi as Emma is the ingratiating center of this film.

 

Yes, guys, mom knows best!

 

And Teddy Chen Culver as Elliot and Aidan Bristow as Ian bring a great deal of charm and warmth to their roles.

 

As different as we are, well, sometimes, we're a lot closer than we think.

 

TWO VERY DIFFERENT CULTURES THAT DO NOT CLASH -

 

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I wish that there were more lighter-than-air gay indie films like David Au's "Eat With Me" - it's like eating a souffle - one isn't enough - you want more.

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"The Way He Looks" is a 2014 gay film from Brazil -

 

This film is an incredible achievement.

 

It's a light-hearted exploration of a taboo subject - the blossoming of male desire between two adolescents, one of whom is blind.

 

It could have been "heavy" and "woebegone", but it refuses to be negative in any way.

 

It simply traces - gradually, very gradually - how two young males could fall in love with each other.

 

When Gabriel first meets Leonardo, Leonardo is always in the company of Giovana, who is at his side constantly - throughout the school day and on the way home.

 

Without really meaning to intrude on that relationship, Gabriel becomes Leonardo's "eyes and ears" and even begins to drop him off at home.

 

This new relationship happens so naturally - that Leonardo and Gabriel don't even stop to think about it.

 

But Giovana is hurt by the friendship - and the fact that she is no longer important to Leonardo.

 

One night at a teen party, Gabriel gets drunk and kisses Leonardo, who suddenly realizes that their friendship has become so much more.

 

Gabriel now realizes that he loves Leonardo very much, but he isn't that willing to actually articulate it.

 

Leonardo confesses to Giovana that he does love Gabriel.

 

Later, at a school outing, in the shower, nude together, Gabriel is overcome with his sexual response to Leonardo.

 

Later, he comes clean with Leonardo and asks, "How do you take back a kiss that was stolen in the first place?"

 

Leonardo responds with a passionate kiss of his own.

 

At the end, when the boys are teased about their friendship by taunting classmates, Leonardo takes Gabriel's hand in his and both of them walk off together.

 

This film takes such a fresh approach to its' subject-matter - it makes you feel so good about Leonardo's and Gabriel's love for each other.

 

The film is written and directed with spontaneity and verve by Daniel Ribeiro.

 

It is also acted by Ghilherme Lobo (as Leonardo) and Fabio Audi (as Gabriel) as if homosexual desire were "the most natural thing in the world".

 

And it is, guys, it is!

 

JUST THE UNEXPECTED BEGINNING - OF SOMETHING SO RIGHT -  

 

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(By the way, this film won two prestigious film awards at The 64th Berlin International Film Festival.)

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Ray,

 

Thanks for bringing THE WAY HE LOOKS to our attention. I haven't seen it yet. Seems as if it's not a young teen story so much as it is the old 'love-is-blind' metaphor, given a unique new interpretation. 

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Ray,

 

Thanks for bringing THE WAY HE LOOKS to our attention. I haven't seen it yet. Seems as if it's not a young teen story so much as it is the old 'love-is-blind' metaphor, given a unique new interpretation. 

Jarrod -

 

Thanks so much for your response - I don't think that I will ever get over this film.

 

LOVE CAN HIT YOU SO HARD -

 

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"The Wise Kids" is a gay American film from 2012 - 

 

This film is able to establish a Southern Baptist community with a great deal of persuasiveness.

 

It's a community, too, in which not-exactly-conventional sexual desires can be addressed, though.

 

The "actors", or maybe they're actually "inhabitants", give the impression that they have been living in this community for a long, long time.

 

But none of them, who are experiencing their sexual idenitities, will ever be able to talk about it.

 

I was very interested in the beautiful, but repressive atmosphere - it's the film's one true achievement.

 

The main storyline which concerns a married man (who is secretly gay) and a young man, who is just coming out of the closet, is kind of "pathetic", though.

 

But maybe "pathetic" is the point - this relationship is going nowhere.

 

The married man's wife isn't happy with her sexually-uninterested husband.

 

She begins to develop a sexual passion for a young youth minister (in training), who is,

unfortunately, married, though.

 

The young man comes out to his father, is rejected by his younger brother and goes to a club where he is hit on by a guy of his own age.

 

Eventually, he goes off to New York City to study filmmaking.

 

A young woman who may have lesbian leanings is barely able to express them.

 

And she goes off to college, too.

 

The point of this film is, surely, the small-town, religiously-oriented atmosphere which gives voice each and every day to "the word of God".

 

If these "actors" are actors, I would really be surprised.

 

But Tyler Ross (as the young Tim) and Stephen Cone (as the married Austin) are stand-outs in the cast.

 

Mr. Cone also wrote and directed the film.

 

It was obviously a labor of love, that is, capturing the heart and soul of a Southern Baptist community.

 

PRELUDE TO A KISS - WHICH CAN'T GO ANYWHERE -

 

(Austin is a married man of eight years and Tim is leaving soon for college.) -

 

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"The Perfect Wedding" is a gay American film from 2012 -

 

Hey, guys, it's a gay romantic comedy - why, oh, why, don't they make more gay romantic comedies?

 

Paul is a recovering alcoholic with an adopted black sister, Alana, who is getting married to Kirk.

 

Paul had a very messy break-up with Roy, who is still a good friend of Alana's.

 

When Alana invites Roy to help with her wedding arrangements over the Christmas holiday at her parents' home, he decides to bring along a "pretend boyfriend", Gavin, because he wants to make a very good impression on Paul.

 

Gavin does make a very good impression on Paul - Paul is immediately attracted to Gavin.

 

And Gavin, yes, you guessed it, is immediately attracted to Paul.

 

But Paul, who has hurt Roy once, does not want to hurt him again.

 

And Gavin, who is such good friends with Roy, does not want to pull out of the carefully-arranged "deception".

 

Meanwhile, Paul's parents are gung-ho about planning an elaborate wedding.

 

But, when Kirk arrives, it is perfectly obvious that he and Alana want something - a lot smaller, a lot simpler.

 

So, the stage is set for a lot of people who are working at cross-purposes.

 

Splnning their wheels, so to speak.

 

The film has a definite "The Importance Of Being Earnest" vibe.

 

It's light, it's funny - and who the hell knows what is happening next?

 

When the cat is out of the bag, so to speak - Alana and Kirk have the simplest possible wedding - with everybody is white!

 

And Paul runs after Gavin, who is too ashamed of deceiving Paul - but Paul tells Gavin that a recovering alcoholic is not perfect, either, and that he fully intends to marry Gavin.

 

This film has a great cast that gives it sparkle and lift - Eric Aragon as Paul, Jason T. Gaffney as Gavin, Roger Stewart as Roy, Apolonia Davalos as Alana and Brendan Griffin as Kirk.

 

It is directed by Scott Gabriel and it is written by Ed Gaffney, Suzanne Brockman and Jason T. Gaffney.

 

And it has a delightful song over the end credits - "Better Than Before" by Jack Gravina.

 

The spirit of "The Importance Of Being Earnest" lives on! 

 

TWO GUYS, FAR FROM PERFECT, REALIZE THAT THEY CAN BUILD ON THAT IMPERFECTION - 

 

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"Holding The Man" is a gay Australian film from 2015 -

 

it is based on Tim Conigrave's memoir from 1995 that detailed his relationship with John Caleo -

 

A touching and heartbreaking story about two young men who met in college and fell in love with each other -

 

for fifteen years, they remained together with all the ins and outs of a long-term relationship that denied them any kind of legal standing -

 

and despite the intrusion of the Aids crisis in which they both found out that they were both HIV positive -

 

John Caleo suffered a horriible death from Aids - his parents objected to the fact that John wanted all of his possessions to go to his one and only love, Tim -

 

shortly after completing his memoir about himself and John, Tim also succumbed to Aids.

 

The film has a delicately-written screenplay by Tommy Murphy, which pays attention to the fact that gay love in Australia at that particular time gave you "outlaw status".

 

And yet it is written with a lot of humor, too.

 

The film is also sensitively directed by Neil Armfield, who helps you to understand that the strongest kind of love can exist in the most hostile of circumstances.

 

As Tim Conigrave, Ryan Corr and, as John Caleo, Craig Stott carry you through the film with energy and gusto.

 

Their love could not be any stronger - or, ironically, more life-sustaining.

 

A LOVE - BEYOND WORDS - THAT NOT EVEN TIME COULD DESTROY - 

 

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It's been awhile since you posted a new review Ray...have you seen anything good lately to recommend?

Well, I have seen "54: The Director's Cut" - which is nothing like the released print, which eliminated 44 minutes of footage and replaced it with an imposed "heterosexual romance" - but the film would not be an example of "gay indie cinema".

 

I feel sorry for the writer/director Mark Christopher - the powers that be ruined his superb film - but, thank God, he was able to restore it.

 

Studio54Experience.jpg

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Well, I have seen "54: The Director's Cut" - which is nothing like the released print, which eliminated 44 minutes of footage and replaced it with an imposed "heterosexual romance" - but the film would not be an example of "gay indie cinema".

 

I feel sorry for the writer/director Mark Christopher - the powers that be ruined his superb film - but, thank God, he was able to restore it.

 

Interesting. Did the imposed straight romance significantly boost ticket sales?

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