DEKKOO DISPATCH 048 – ‘THE RULES OF ATTRACTION’

Title – ‘The Rules of Attraction

Director – Roger Avary

Starring – James Van Der Beek, Ian Somerhalder, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, Kip Pardue

Release Date – 2002

______________________

On Dekkoo we’re turning our gaze to the glorious year 2002 with ‘The Rules of Attraction‘. While Ben Affleck was soaking up his Sexiest Man of the Year award from People Magazine there was another kind of sexy happening in cinemas. One involving James van der Beek from the legendary ‘Dawson’s Creek’ in an on-screen gay kiss with the smoking hot Ian Somerhalder. The film based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis (who also wrote ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Less Than Zero’ – both of which were also made into movies) follows the lives of 3 students as they make their way through the sexual angst of college.

Unlike ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Less Than Zero’, Roger Avary’s adaptation of the book actually tries to follow Ellis’ crazy narrative structures and wildly explicit views of sex and drugs. The film’s use of slow-mo, reverse motion, split-screen, and intense montage all call to mind the frenetic energy of Ellis’ visionary 1987 novel. The movie focuses on three main characters:

2002_Rules_Of_Attraction_173

Paul Denton – The gay one. The defiantly gay one I should say. Paul’s attitude towards his queerness is refreshing even to this day. He’s confident in being himself completely even if it ends in being shoved or spit on by a guy he makes a move on. Paul’s love interest in this movie is Sean Bateman who’s in love with Lauren Hynde. Oh did I not mention this was a love triangle movie?? Ah my bad. Yeah it’s a love triangle movie. Paul falls head over heels for Paul’s rugged looks, his ‘slutty’ attitude, and his devil-may-cry attitude towards almost everyone. Personally I think Paul (played by Ian Somerhalder) is the hottest character in the film. He’s constantly wearing the tightest outfits and has permanent pouty-lip syndrome. The shirtless dance scene with his friend ‘Dick’ is easily one of the highlights of the film and worth the price of admission!

image-w856

Sean Bateman – Enter the psychotic (or is he just a troubled genius?) straight character of the film. Funnily enough Sean is supposed to be Patrick Bateman’s (‘American Psycho’) little brother so it all makes sense why he’s a little unhinged. Sean’s religious views consist of sex, drugs, and more sex. Honestly he’s probably a dream boyfriend for a lot of people. Sean starts getting mysterious love letters from someone just around the time he first runs into Lauren Hynde. The two circumstances align in such a way that trigger a burst of longing and perhaps even love which he chases throughout the film. Oh and there’s a plot line involving him having to pay his drug supplier that honestly I could’ve done without. But c’est la vie!

Lauren-the-rules-of-attraction-901111_852_480

Lauren Hynde – Ok so Lauren is basically the sweeter version of Daria if Daria did cocaine. Lauren is probably the most grounded character of the film. She’s very much a good girl when it comes to sex, even going so far as to study venereal disease textbooks before parties to discourage hooking up. Perhaps that’s what makes the connection between Sean and Lauren so intense. Her desire to hook up with someone who has so much sex and tame him and his desire to settle down with someone so virginal.

Besides those three adorable human beings you can also look forward to:
-Early career cameos by Jay Baruchel & Kate Bosworth.
-An appearance by the legendary musician Paul Williams as a crazy doctor.
-Legendary actresses Faye Dunaway & Swoosie Kurtz in a hilariously awkward dinner scene.
-Jessica Biel!

___________________________

Watch it with: Two friends that you’re in a love triangle with

Mix it with: Beer and cocaine

____________________________

New This Week – 11/24/17

Craig Chester stars in the gay cinema classic, 'Swoon'

Long considered a hard-to-find movie, this stylish gay indie classic from 1992 tells the true story of gay lovers Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr., who kidnapped and killed a child in the early 1920s in an attempt to get away with “the perfect murder.” They didn’t. They got caught and soon became notorious figures in the media. Watch ‘Swoon’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film 'Candy'

In the short horror/thriller ‘Candy‘ from director Mark Bessenger (Bite Marks, The Last Straight Man), a man calls into phone sex lines looking for a potential romantic partner. Vic, a college student, is interested, but is too nervous to accept, prompting the mysterious caller to take matters into his own hand.

This is the art for the documentary 'That Guy...Who Was In That Thing

You know the face. You’ve seen him in a million things. But who is he? The documentary ‘That Guy…Who Was In That Thing‘ looks at sixteen actors and details their ups and downs as they struggle to forge careers in Hollywood. They’ve played cops, lawyers, bosses, best friends, psychopaths, politicians and everything in between. Now you’ll know who they are.

_________________________________

 Coming Next Week: “In this moody, occasionally dreamlike drama, it’s not what happens to Jasper and his friends that’s important, so much as what happens within Jasper’s soul.” – Eric D. Snider, Moviefone

DEKKOO DISPATCH 045 – ‘CHRIS & DON. A LOVE STORY’

Title – ‘Chris & Don. A Love Story

Director – Tina Mascara, Guido Santi

Release Date – 2007

______________________

 

 

 

bachardy

“I think about you all the time, and about times I might have been kinder and more understanding, and I make many resolutions for the future — some of which I hope I’ll keep.”
-Christopher Isherwood to Don Bachardy

The touching, informative, and heartwarming love story between prolific writer Christopher Isherwood and his partner of over 30 years, Don Bachardy is superbly brought to life by Tina Mascara & Guido Santi in their documentary entitled ‘Chris & Don. A Love Story‘. After having heard about the film since its release in 2007 I finally was able to watch it last night and was glued to my couch with longing. As you’re watching Don Bachardy talk about his life with Christopher you begin to understand how special their relationship was and you have this urge to jump in a time machine and go swimming with them in Los Angeles circa 1955.

What differentiates this from a typical ‘I had a really long gay relationship movie’ is the fact that Don and Christopher had a 30-year age difference between them and they started dating when Don was only 18. Of course this caused all kinds of friction outside of their relationship; Christopher even had to leave his apartment when his landlady said it couldn’t go on. Inside the relationship however things were very different. They lovingly (and realistically) imagined themselves as a young cat (Don) and a lame horse (Christopher) and encouraged each other to have affairs outside the relationship. Christopher felt that he was a father to Don (‘without any of the downsides’ he joked in his diary). The other element heavily focused on is how an 18-year old develops (both emotionally and professionally) in the shadow of such a huge talent like Christopher Isherwood.

full

Quick history lesson for anyone not aware of who Christopher Isherwood is because he’s pretty darn famous which is a big angle explored in the doc. Isherwood was born in England in 1904 and after failing college ended up in Berlin due to the enthusiastic letters sent from there by W.H. Auden who he become good friends with. There he was able to finally live his life as a gay man and have sex with working-class German boys which he preferred vastly over his upper-class British counterparts. His rise to fame came with the publication of ‘The Berlin Stories’ which was then made more famous by the movie ‘Cabaret’ starring Liza Minnelli. Other notable novels include ‘Christopher and His Kind’ & ‘A Single Man’.

The documentary doesn’t entirely rely on Don’s narrative point of view (although that is the majority). Many Isherwood scholars give notes based on interviews or Christopher’s exhaustive diaries that were published after his death. There are also some fun celebrity cameos like Liza Minelli, John Boorman, and Gloria Stuart. One of the most special elements of this film is definitely the archival footage that they were able to restore. Obviously Don and Chris were very interested in Super8 photography and we get fantastic snapshot of their vacations, parties, and general home life. Don almost always has a big smile on his face and you quickly understand why everyone (especially Chris) loved Don; he made you happy and that’s exactly how I felt through the whole documentary.

___________________________

Watch it with: Ideally a boyfriend, but an imaginary boyfriend will do in a pinch!

Mix it with: Whatever drink makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside 🙂

____________________________

New This Week – 10/13/17

This is the artwork for the comedy fim Elijah's Ashes

A hilarious dark comedy about the deep, loving bond that exists between brothers…even ones who despise one another. ‘Elijah’s Ashes‘ follows Lawrence, a somewhat lost gay man, who embarks on an unexpected family road trip with his gruff, homophobic older brother to scatter their father’s ashes.

This is the artwork for the gay short film collection Furious Desires from TLA Releasing

An apartment renter lusts after his doorman, a father comes to realize that his son is attracted to other boys, two horny men find themselves literally just beyond one another’s reach, a guy declares his attraction to his best friend and two young lovers go to great length to prove their affection in this stunning and supremely sexy new collection – featuring five award-winning short films that deals with the topic of desire in various forms. Watch ‘Furious Desires’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the artwork for the film In A Glass Cage

In the aftermath of WWII, a former Nazi doctor and child molester finds himself confined to an iron lung following a failed suicide attempt. Things get even worse when a mysterious, handsome young man, hired to be his caretaker, is discovered to be hellbent on revenge. An uncompromising psychosexual drama that’s erotic, painful and terrifying in equal measure, ‘In a Glass Cage‘ is a highly controversial classic.

This is the artwork for the gay short film Alle Werden

When Andreas’ close friend Samuel meets Philippe, a highly respected colleague, Andreas finds himself in the awkward and uncomfortable position of watching his best friend fall in love…again. Watch ‘Alle Werden’ now on Dekkoo.com!

_________________________________

Coming next week: A homoerotic Evangelical exorcism film. Need we say more?

DEKKOO DISPATCH 039 – ‘IN A GLASS CAGE’

Title – ‘In a Glass Cage

Director – Agustí Villaronga

Starring – Günter Meisner, David Sust, Marisa Paredes, Gisèle Echevarría

Release Date – 1986

______________________

Darkness. A house containing evil and secrets. Innocence lost. A desire for revenge and murder. ‘In a Glass Cage‘ takes no prisoners and instead marches onwards through its self-made carnage towards a delicate balancing of art-house sensibilities and an exploration of twisted humanity. In fact this film is so disturbing that even John Waters said, “I’m too scared to show it to my friends!”

Agustí Villaronga made the harrowing film in 1985 and partially based it on Gilles de Rais, a companion to Joan of Arc and a notorious and self-confessed murderer of children (supposedly in the hundreds!). Like Pasolini’s ‘Salo’, Villaronga decided to set his tale at the end of WWII and utilizes a Nazi as the twisted figure at the center of the film. The film starts without remorse with Klaus (our resident evil dude) taking photos of a boy hanging from a rope. He’s naked and bears the marks of repeated tortures (I never said this was an easy movie to watch!!). After dealing the killing blow to the young boy Klaus seems to have some sort of revelation and immediately runs up to the roof of the house and jumps. Meanwhile someone was watching the proceedings and steals Klaus’ scrapbook/diary of his evils.

Fast-forward a few years and we’ve found that Klaus, while still alive, is now living inside a large iron lung. A device that controls his breathing. Without it he dies. His wife (played by Almodovar regular Marisa Paredes) and young daughter have been taking care of him in a country house in Catalonia where they try and avoid the Nazi witch hunt taking place in the rest of the world that would surely condemn them. Suddenly an invader boldly infiltrates the house and locks the door where Klaus is kept. When the wife demands to be let in she finds Angelo, a brooding young man petitioning to become Klaus’ nurse. Much to her dismay Klaus insists that Angelo stay to be his nurse and we eventually find out that it’s because Angelo is the one that knows all of Klaus’ secrets.

What follows is a dangerous lesson in power dynamics and the nature of evil itself. The beginning is dramatic, the middle is disturbing, and the end of the film is incredibly hypnotic and moving.

Besides the fantastic acting and writing, the cinematography is really what stands out to me in this film. Jaume Peracaula has lensed almost all of Agustí Villaronga’s films and he manages to find a perfect balance between light and dark and most of all the color blue which I’m sure has some symbolic meaning that I can’t quite figure out (I’m being honest at least!). The transfer that we’ve brought to Dekkoo is the latest High Definition remaster which really is miles better than the old DVD that used to exist where you could barely make out what was happening in half of the film.

While the themes are difficult to handle I truly love this movie. Top 25 for sure! To me it seems like ‘Salo’ as directed by Dario Argento and Pedro Almodovar and I’m crazy excited that it’s finally here on Dekkoo where you can challenge yourself to Agustí Villaronga’s masterpiece.

____________________________

Watch it with: Probably just yourself.

Mix it with: Water.

____________________________

DEKKOO DISPATCH 038 – ‘UN CHANT D’AMOUR’

Title – ‘Un chant d’amour’

Director – Jean Genet

Starring – Lucien Sénémaud, Bravo

Release Date – 1950

______________________

Today on Dekkoo we’re featuring an early masterpiece of silent Queer Cinema: ‘Un chant d’amour‘ directed by the notorious criminal-literary queer Jean Genet. The 25-minute film was one of the first cinematic depictions of explicit homosexual desire and sexuality which therefore made it ripe for censorship by many governments around the world. The movie exists as a highly entertaining piece of art-cinema, an autobiography of Jean Genet, and a harrowing portrait of homosexuality in prisons.

I feel an introduction to Jean Genet is needed in order to appreciate this film as much as possible. He was a social rebel, a criminal queer, a playwright, and a writer of literature. His novels ranged the gamut from autobiographical tales of his time in the Mettray  Penal Colony lusting after fellow prisoners (“The Miracle of the Rose”) to fictionalized romancing of criminal queers (“Our Lady of the Flowers”) to tales of strong beautiful sailors who turn to criminal activities (“Querelle de Brest” – which Fassbinder later adapted into a movie in 1982 – his last movie before overdosing). His early life sounds like something out of a Christine Vachon-produced film. His mother was a prostitute who raised him for 7 months before dropping him off at an orphanage. While he grew up he excelled in getting into trouble and running away from home even though he had a supportive foster family. At 15 he got sent to a penal facility. At 18 he joined the army, but was later kicked out for getting caught having sex with men. After that his life consisted of wandering around Europe, getting into trouble and going to jail a bunch of times until he met Jean Cocteau who had taken a liking to his writings. When finally faced with life-in-prison due to being in prison 10 times – Jean Cocteau and other influential artists managed to convince the French President to pardon him. After that Jean Genet never went to prison again.

So let’s dig in to the film itself. ‘Un chant d’amour‘ is a silent film. Supposedly sponsored by wealthy French gays who wanted to add it to their porn collections the film starred Genet’s lover at the time, Lucien Sénémaud whose beauty he claimed, “harpooned me” and two other actors who we don’t know much about besides that one of them (the older prisoner) was a pimp named Bravo. The film has 3 central characters: A sexy 20-something prisoner with swagger, an older Arab prisoner in lust with his next-door neighbor, and a prison guard that acts as a jealous voyeur throughout the movie, constantly watching the prisoners interact. Of course because there’s a wall between the two would-be-lovers their interactions are limited to blowing smoke through a wall and swinging a bouquet of flowers outside their prison windows. Nothing stops them in their dreams though…

After it was screened in 1966 Sol Landau was indited by police in Berkeley, CA for screening an obscene piece of cinema. After fighting the case all the way up to the Supreme Court he ended up losing with a 5-4 ruling by the court. The Alamadea Superior Court claimed it, “explicitly and vividly revealed acts of masturbation, oral copulation, the infamous crime against nature [a euphemism for sodomy], voyeurism, nudity, sadism, masochism and sex…” and that it was “cheap pornography calculated to promote homosexuality, perversion and morbid sex practices”.

If you’re a self-proclaimed Queer Cinema nerd then ‘Un chant d’amour‘ is without a doubt a MUST-SEE. I’ll leave you with these words by Jim Clark who by my research has created the best article dedicated to ‘Un chant d’amour‘ out there, “Genet takes us places, invariably in the underworld of hustlers, thieves, murderers, and convicts, where most of us have never set foot; but even as he exposes their lives with excruciating fullness, he reveals – and celebrates – their/our common humanity.”

 

____________________________

Watch it with: One or two fellow film nerds.

Mix it with: A deep, dark, french wine.

____________________________

New This Week – 9/29/17

c4cb64bd-8102-4977-b249-41cec7d9f6b1-080141a6A heartwarming coming-of-age romance, ‘Center of My World‘ follows Phil, a gay teen looking for excuses to avoid his quirky family. When he sets his sites on Nicholas, the mysterious new kid at school, he finds the perfect new distraction. Smitten, Phil watched Nicholas run track after school… and is thrilled to learn that his affections are reciprocated.

9608bb19-de79-4c1e-a446-f2f3bc386e6f-2b46807c

Two prisoners in complete isolation, separated by the thick brick walls, and desperately in need of human contact, devise a most unusual kind of communication. ‘Un Chant D’Amour‘ is a voyeuristic, confrontational and poetic masterpiece. It is the only film made by French novelist Jean Genet. Forbidden in France upon its release, and only available in the United States in censored form through underground distribution, we are proud to present it in its complete version. Please be aware, this is a silent film!

8a2b3da5-71f6-4149-82da-a9d1102df2e4-d63db279

If You Could Only Be You‘ is a coming-of-age story that identifies the relationship between a father and son who are both at crossroads with their true identities.