Now Available: Socrates

After his mother’s sudden death, Socrates (Christian Malheiros), a 15-year-old living on the margins of São Paulo’s coast, must learn survive on his own. As he faces isolation because of his sexuality, his search for a decent, worthy life reaches a breaking point.

Filmed with a micro budget of under twenty thousand dollars, Socrates is the debut feature film from Brazilian-American director Alexandre Moratto. The film is also the first feature produced by the Querô Institute in Brazil where it was co-written, produced, and acted by at-risk teenagers from local low-income communities, with the support of UNICEF.

Socrates earned rave reviews from critics and won numerous awards at film festivals all over the world – along with the coveted “Someone to Watch” award at last year’s Film Independent Spirit awards.

Watch the trailer for Socrates below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Short Film Spotlight: Clothes & Blow

Screened at over 20 film festivals and Winner of Best International Short at Dublin Short Film And Music Festival, Clothes & Blow is a comedy/drama for anyone who has ever struggled to be their true self around their family.

Written and directed by Sam Peter Jackson (The Bathroom), the 23-minute short film stars David Menkin (Florence Foster Jenkins), Nancy Baldwin (Mamma Mia!) and Christy Meyer (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them).

For American voice over artist Daniel (Menkin), life in London is one long autopilot ride of demanding client calls and awkward Grindr meets. But when his mother Stephanie (Baldwin) decides to visit from the US with less than 24 hours notice, Daniel is forced to re-evaluate how fully and authentically he is living his life.

Watch the trailer for Clothes & Blow below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Now Available: Fireflies

Ramin (Arash Marandi), an Iranian refugee living in Mexico, is trying to come to terms with his past, one that has left permanent scars on his body and soul. As he strolls through the port of Veracruz – a place where transient souls collide in search of a better life – the haunting memories of his long-distance lover begin to fill his heart with a profound sense of loneliness and repentance.

Ramin’s friendship with Leti (Flor Eduarda Gurrola), the young woman who runs the small hotel where he stays and teaches him Spanish, and an attraction to ex-con Guillermo (Luis Alberti) help him find himself as a gay man in a new home.

Beautifully shot and strikingly naturalistic, writer-director Bani Khoshnoudi’s touching cross-cultural drama Fireflies won the top prize in the Ibero-American Competition at the Miami Film Festival. Watch the trailer below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Don’t Miss the Critically-Acclaimed Doc Mala Mala

Mala Mala, the critically acclaimed documentary from directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles, explores the intimate moments, performances, friendships and activism of trans identifying people, drag queens and others who defy typical gender identities in Puerto Rico.

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The film features Ivana, an activist; Soraya, an older sex-change pioneer; Sandy, a prostitute looking to make a change; and Samantha and Paxx, both of whom struggle with the quality of medical resources available to assist in their transition.

Still from Mala Mala

Hailed as “sensitive and thoughtful” by the New York Times  and winner of the audience award for documentary film at the Tribeca Film Festival, Mala Mala is a deeply involving piece of work which boldly affirms that the quest to find oneself can be both difficult and beautiful.

Still from Mala Mala

Watch the trailer for Mala Mala below. The film is currently available to stream on Dekkoo.

Eyes Wide Open is an extraordinary portrait of forbidden love

Powerfully moving and quietly humane, Eyes Wide Open, Haim Tabakman’s, debut feature is an extraordinary portrait of forbidden love in an ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem community.

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Aaron (Zohar Strauss) leads a quiet life. Each day he heads from his tidy apartment where he lives with his four children and his wife Rivka (played by an actress with the unlikely name of Tinkerbell) to his butcher-shop to his synagogue to pray.

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Aaron is a tzaddik, a righteous man, and when Ezri (Ran Danker), a beautiful twenty-something man arrives at his shop in a rainstorm looking for shelter, he gives it. But something more happens as sexual desire develops between the two men. Ezri wants to kiss Aaron, but Aaron tells Ezri that it’s a challenge for them to pray about. Ezri takes Aaron to a spring outside the city, and desire bubbles to the surface between the two men.

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As their gay love is consummated, the love between Aaron and Rivka becomes troubled. And a self-appointed “God-squad” of Jewish thugs warns Aaron that Ezri is a they don’t want in their neighborhood.

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Beautifully insightful and almost delicate in its storytelling, Eyes Wide Open, is a stunningly essential film in the cannon of queer filmmaking. With not an extra word, frame or movement, director Haim Tabakman and screenwriter Merav Doster craft a truly gorgeous and unforgettable film.

Eyes Wide Open is available now on Dekkoo.

We can’t recommend the gorgeous historical romance The Circle more highly

Part documentary, part narrative feature film, The Circle is a moving tribute to a life-long relationship that overcame intense obstacles and an insightful look at an important chapter in gay history.

Sven Schelker and Matthias Hungerbühler in The Circle

Winner of the prestigious Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival, The Circle tells the true story of Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, a schoolteacher and a drag entertainer, who met through their participation in a social network of gay men that developed in Zurich in the 1940s and 1950s. The two began romantic relationship. Interviews with them and other survivors and experts on the era are interspersed with documentary film and photographs as well as a scripted dramatic enactment of the story.

Sven Schelker and Matthias Hungerbühler in The Circle

Founded in the early ’40s, the network around the magazine ‘Der Kreis’ (‘The Circle’) was the only gay organisation to survive the Nazi regime. It blossomed during the post-war years into an internationally renowned underground club.

Sven Schelker in The Circle

Legendary masked balls at the Theater am Neumarkt in Zurich provided visitors from all over Europe with a secret and safe space to act out their ‘otherness’ in a self-determined way. It is there that timid teacher Ostertag falls in love with drag star Rapp. Ernst searches for a way to fight for his gayness to be accepted as normal outside the boundaries of ‘The Circle’ network without losing his employment as a teacher. Röbi champions the joint fruition of their love.

Matthias Hungerbühler in The Circle

Following a murder in the gay community, violent repression against gay people also endangers ‘The Circle’ network. Stefan Haupt’s riveting film uncovers the fascinating universe of one of the first gay liberation communities. Enriched by impressive conversational records with Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, the film depicts a decades-long love story – made taboo by society – and reveals the couple’s inspiring self-knowledge and courage.

The real life Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp

Watch the trailer for The Circle below. It’s now available on Dekkoo.

A bold and harrowing gay classic comes to Dekkoo

Adapted by playwright Martin Sherman from his groundbreaking play of the same name, Bent employs an impressive cast of familiar faces to tell a painful personal story about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.

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In 1930s Berlin, Max (Clive Owen) sleeps with German SA officer Wolf (future “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), only to see him killed by his fellow Nazis the next morning as part of the “Night of the Long Knives.”

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Refusing an offer of new papers from his Uncle Freddie (Ian McKellen) for fear of leaving his boyfriend Rudy (Brian Webber) behind, Max and Rudy are found by the Gestapo, to whom Max lies about his homosexuality and his relationship. He is soon sent to Dachau, where he meets and falls in love with Horst (Lothaire Bluteau), who shows him the dignity that lies in acknowledging one’s beliefs, even in the face of incomprehensible persecution.

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Originally staged as a Royal Court production in 1979, starring Ian McKellen and Tom Bell, which later transferred to the West End, Bent earned major acclaim right out of the gate. Richard Gere played Max in the original 1980 Broadway production. In 1989, Sean Mathias, the film’s director, helmed a revival of the play, performed as a one-night benefit for Stonewall, featuring Ian McKellen, Richard E Grant, Ian Charleson and Ralph Fiennes. After receiving critical acclaim, Mathias directed a full, award-winning run in 1990 – priming him to head up the film adaptation to come.

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Also co-starring Mick Jagger, Jude Law, Rupert Graves, Paul Bettany, Sadie Frost and Rachel Weisz, Bent is an unparalleled gay classic that deserves to be seen. Released in 1997, the film has long been unavailable… until now. Bent is currently streaming on Dekkoo.