DEKKOO DISPATCH 058 – ‘WILD REEDS’

Title – ‘Wild Reeds

Director – André Téchiné

Starring – Élodie Bouchez, Gaël Morel, Stéphane Rideau, Frédéric Gorny

Release Date – 1994

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Ah the French… While we’re partying it up and watching TV they’re contemplating life and reading philosophy – or at least that’s what they want us to think! Either way the French make some great movies especially dealing with teenage angst which is the subject of today’s dispatch! Enter the world of André Téchiné’s ‘Wild Reeds‘ (Les Roseaux Sauvages). It was hailed as an instant classic when it came out in France in ’94 and even beat out ‘Queen Margot’ (by Patrice Chéreau [‘L’homme Blesse‘]) for the César award (the equivalent of our Oscar). We’re showcasing a new HD Restoration that will blow your socks off!

Wild Reeds‘ tells the story of four teenagers making the transition from childhood in the era of the late days of the Algerian War which took place from 1954-1962. The movie focuses the most on Francois who’s discovering his budding attraction to men. Conveniently he becomes friends with the sexy Serge who is open to ‘experimenting’ with Francois, but nothing more beyond that. Of course that frustrates Francois who feels a real attraction to Serge to which he confides in his best friend Maite, the daughter of their teacher with communist leanings (Madame Alvarez). The film starts with a joyous wedding with Serge’s older brother confiding in Alvarez that he’s heard communists might be able to smuggle him out of the war. When she refuses to help he’s forced to head back to the war where he tragically dies. This sets in motion a series of events that bring the 3 adolescents together to figure out the next steps their life will take.

Senses of Cinema had this to say about the title of the film:

The title Wild Reeds (Les roseaux sauvages) echoes a poetic fable by Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695): “The Oak and the Reed”. Boasting of his strength, the proud oak tree offers to shelter the frail reed. But the reed rejects the oak and, when a storm blows, the reed bends with the wind and survives, while the oak is torn up by its roots. In concert with this, all of Wild Reeds’ adolescent characters need to learn to bend from their initial, inflexible positions and accept the ambiguities inherent in adulthood.

There are so many reasons to watch this film!! Besides the fact that you’ll get to witness the birth of the modern French coming-of-age film there’s a wealth of talent involved in this film that went on to make lots more amazing movies (a bunch of which you’ve probably seen!).

André Téchiné – The director of countless amazing French films. He’s directed some of the best queer films of all time including ‘Being 17’ and ‘The Witnesses’.
Gaël Morel – The lead of ‘Wild Reeds‘ attained much critical acclaim for his portrayal of Francois, but his passion rested in being behind the camera and just two years later directed the popular film ‘Full Speed’ in which he cast his co-star from ‘Wild Reeds’ Stéphane Rideau! He also directed the steamy gay thriller ‘Our Paradise’.
Stéphane Rideau – Stéphane went on to become a prolific actor in his own right starring in the subversive comedy ‘Sitcom’ by Francois Ozon and the popular gay romance movie ‘Come Undone’ by Sebastian Lifshitz.
Jacques Nolot – A very famous French actor, he later went on to write and direct the classic queer films ‘Porn Theatre’ and ‘Before I Forget’.

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Watch it with: With your French film-loving friends.

Mix it with: A French red wine of course!

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New This Week – 2/9/18

This is the art for the gay film, 'Wild Reeds'

This acclaimed 1994 romantic drama from maverick queer filmmaker André Téchiné takes place in takes place at the tail end of the Algerian War in 1962 and follows French 18-year-olds Maite and Francois during their sexual and emotional coming-of-age. ‘Wild Reeds’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay film, 'The Man of My Life'

While on holiday at his family’s home in Provence, Frédéric’s seemingly perfect family life is disrupted when he meets his neighbor, a gay graphic artist named Hugo. Watch ‘The Man of My Life’ on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'Demons'

Matt is a closeted serial killer on the hunt for love and acceptance in a pretty messed up world. Watch Demons, now streaming on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: The Nordic summer is all about getting screwed!

DEKKOO DISPATCH 056 – ‘L’HOMME BLESSÉ’

Title – ‘L’Homme Blessé

Director – Patrice Chéreau

Starring – Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Roland Bertin, Claude Berri

Release Date – 1983

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RARE CINEMA ALERT!! RARE CINEMA ALERT!!

Wow I can’t believe the boys at Dekkoo managed to pull this one off. ‘L’Homme Blessé‘ aka ‘The Wounded Man’ is an extremely rare piece of older queer cinema that has been completely unavailable in the U.S. besides a VHS from ’97! And it’s a crying shame because this is a bonkers gay-as-hell film from one of France’s most famous directors; Patrice Chéreau. While famous in France for his theatrical productions, he was famous abroad for movies like Palme D’or Winner ‘Queen Margot’, ‘Intimacy’, and ‘His Brother’.

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L’Homme Blessé‘ was made in 1983 by Chéreau after working on a script for 6 years with his writing partner Hervé Guibert. In it the pair explore a young man’s awakening to intense homosexual desires that blossom into masochismic longings for one man in particular – Jean – an enigmatic hustler who prowls train stations looking for weak homosexuals he can bully into giving up their wallets. Yup folks – this is not a feel good movie where you’ll feel safe and secure. It doesn’t support the illusion that being gay is all rainbows and unicorns. But I like that sometimes! It’s important to realize how tough it used to be back in the day to be queer (and honestly that still holds in many places). Plus bisexual rough trade is definitely kinda hot sometimes 😉 

Jean-Hughes Anglade (before making his star turning role in ‘Betty Blue’) plays the shy young Henri who visits the train station with his family. While there we begin to see his first tries at ‘cruising’ – obviously something that train station must be very well known for. In a bathroom he stares wide-eyed at Jean – a spectacularly handsome rugged man in his 30s and after re-entering the bathroom finds Jean mugging someone. While trying to run away from the situation Jean catches him and instead of beating him up begins wildly caressing him and urging Henri to help him finish mugging his victim. It’s one of the sexiest criminal queer scenes that exists.

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Afterwards Henri becomes something akin to a slave to Jean. He follows him around, does his bidding, and becomes increasingly annoyed at Jean’s indifference towards him. Of course Jean isn’t completely gay and has a wife which complicates things to be sure. His wife tolerates Jean’s bisexual leanings and criminal lifestyle, but isn’t happy about it. The closest comparison I can draw to this film that exists in the Dekkoo catalog would be ‘Fogi is a Bastard‘. It shares a lot of ideas such as the corruption of innocence, dependency issues, and crime begetting crime. But I think Chéreau’s film delves a little deeper into the darkness of the human soul which I think is why the film divides so many audiences.

Besides being able to brag to your friends that you saw one of the most hard-to-find pieces of queer cinema you’ll also experience one of the most heartbreaking, outrageous, and melancholic films in Patrice Chéreau’s filmography. Cruise it tonight!

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Watch it with: By yourself or with a dark lover.

Mix it with: French wine.

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New This Week – 1/26/18

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In season 2 of the acclaimed Dekkoo-original series, Nate decides it’s time to move on from his breakup with Joey…but Nate’s fall-out with his best friend Jeff continues to loom. Meanwhile, Nicole is back in town on the hunt for a new career move, Andy takes control of his open relationship with Brian, and Jeff finds companionship in someone new. Turns out they might be the ones who are fine after all, while Nate still only claims to be. Watch season 2 of ‘I’m Fine’ only on Dekkoo!

This is an image from the gay movie, l'Homme Blesse

In this award-winning erotic 1983 classic from acclaimed French director Patrice Chéreau, a young man discovers his homosexuality and begins a relationship with a manipulative hustler and petty criminal that he meets at the train station. Watch ‘L’Homme Blesse’ on Dekkoo.com!

This is an image from the gay short film 'Midnight'

A gay couple decide to experiment with an open relationship but can their relationship survive it? Watch the gay short film ‘Midnight’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A heartfelt look at the meaning of love.

 

DEKKOO DISPATCH 051 – ‘LOGGERHEADS’

Title – ‘Loggerheads

Director – Tim Kirkman

Starring – Kip Pardue, Michael Kelly, Tess Harper, Bonnie Hunt, Chris Sarandon, Michale Learned, Robin Weige

Release Date – 2005

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Merry post-Christmas everyone! I hope everyone got that special gift (:cough: sling :cough:) you had on your wish list. I got one of those nifty VR thingys which has been fun to play with. I have yet to watch any Dekkoo films on it, but that’s definitely in the future! Last week I recommended ‘Make the Yuletide Gay‘ to watch with your family as the perfect Christmas movie and this week since I figure many of you are still with family I’d recommend another good movie to watch with the fam.

Before ‘Brokeback Mountain’ set the world on fire in 2005 there was a smaller film called ‘Loggerheads‘ that made quite a splash via the Sundance Film Festival and Outfest where it won the grand prize. Following three characters and their search for inner-fulfillment Tim Kirkman’s third film is a quiet yet stunning piece of filmmaking. The three main characters from a sort of triangle:

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Mark – A handsome drifter, Mark sleeps on the beaches of Kure Beach where loggerhead turtles come to bury their eggs. An activist of sorts, he does his best to make sure tourists don’t inadvertently kill the turtles. After he meets George, an owner of a motel in the area, he begins a romance made more complicated by his relationship with his non-accepting family and his HIV status. The uber-sexy Kip Pardue plays the role of Mark who’s been in tons of films including ‘The Rules of Attraction‘!

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Elizabeth – “I know that it’s hard to be the wife of a preacher” is spoken to Elizabeth at one point in the film and for me that pretty much spelled out the difficulty she has going through her life. Elizabeth’s life is ruled by the church and her husband’s unwavering belief in the bible. That’s why she no longer talks about her gay adopted son Mark and why she becomes very nervous when a new family moves in across the street who could be gay. I believe Elizabeth is the one that makes the most progress in the film – she appears to give up several times, but something within her always pushes her to re-visit an emotion that defeated her once before.

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Grace – Now midway through her life the one decision she constantly regrets is giving up her child to adoption. She sees her son in so many people passing by on the street that she decides that it’s time to find him so she can find some peace within herself. Grace quits her dead-end customer service job to move back in with her mother and begins the search for her son. Grace is a character that you really feel for in the movie. Her mother convinced her that giving up her baby would have been good for the future, but now that she realizes that her future isn’t so great she pines for the life that she could have had as a mother. It’s also great to see Bonnie Hunt (‘Jumanji’!) in such a touching role.

The way that the movie cuts all three of these storylines together really elevates the film to another level where you feel connected to all of these characters. I also love the fact that all of these plot lines take place in small towns. It’s charming and gives the film a boost of authenticity that city films can lack. I hope you get lost in the romantic, longing, and intense spiritual feeling of hope that ‘Loggerheads‘ imparts.

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Watch it with: Family & Friends

Mix it with: A White Wine

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 050 – ‘MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY’

Title – ‘Make the Yuletide Gay

Director – Rob Williams

Starring – Keith Jordan, Adamo Ruggiero, Hallee Hirsh, Kelly Keaton

Release Date – 2009

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It’s that time of the year again folks. Time to take out all those ornaments and take down a few of the more racy photographs you’ve got hanging on your walls before your parents show up. The holidays have always been friend and foe to the gay community. While we’ve been able to make the best of them by celebrating the season with friends and lovers it also reminds us that we sometimes can’t be with our families because we’ve been kicked out or ostracized. Luckily things have been getting a lot better (especially for younger gays) and our families have started to accept the idea that Christmas can include handsome hunks in love.

That’s the topic of this week’s CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Dekkoo Dispatch! The straights have ‘A Christmas Story’, but we’ve got ‘Make the Yuletide Gay‘ to… make the Yuletide gay-er? I mean let’s face it. Christmas is pretty darn gayyy. You’re decorating a tree, wearing silly sweaters, making eggnog cocktails, and waiting for a stranger to come into your house in the middle of the night to give you a ‘gift’. These are all homosexual activities that the straights have claimed in the name of Christmas! But I digress…

Make the Yuletide Gay‘ has been a yearly holiday viewing tradition for many homosexuals I know since it came out in 2009. It’s universal tale of acceptance, love, and family-above-all attitude is exactly the kind of vision of Christmas that we all hope becomes a reality for everyone. The story revolves around the adorable couple of Olaf (aka Gunn) and Nathan. In school they’re completely out and proud. Olaf even sports an HRC t-shirt at the beginning of the film. Snazzy! For winter break they head their separate ways with Olaf travelling to his family in the Midwest and Nathan going on a cruise with his parents. Once we arrive there we quickly realize that Olaf, while out in school, is definitely not out to his family. Of course there’s a twist – Nathan suddenly shows up on his doorstep without knowing he’s still in the closet. Thus begins a movie full of the comedy of hiding in plain sight.

I say hiding in plain sight because a lot of the movie’s comedy plays on the parents being a little ‘thick’. The mother, played by Kelly Keaton, is so gosh darn adorable and nice. While watching her I couldn’t help but think of Stephanie McVay in ‘The Edge of Seventeen’. She’s the ideal Christmas mother: constantly baking cookies, making hot cocoa, and telling embarrassing stories about her son to his boyfriend. The father, played by Derek Long, is a stereotypical ex-hippy stoner professor. He’s extremely calm, rational, yet also completely out of it. Thus jokes made by Nathan about usually taking the ‘top’ bunk fly right over their heads to hilarious result. The other character I should mention is Abby. She’s the next-door neighbor that Olaf’s parents are trying to set him up with. Awkwardness definitely ensues.

This is absolutely a perfect movie to watch with just about anyone, but especially your mostly-accepting to totally-accepting family over the holidays. It’s definitely PG to PG-13 so you won’t have to worry about your mother fainting over a sex scene.

We at Dekkoo wish you all the best over the holidays and we’d be remiss not to remind you that the gift of Dekkoo is a totally amazing present for any gay, young or old.

 

 

 

 

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Watch it with: Family, Friends, Aliens, you name it!

Mix it with: Spiked Eggnog

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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

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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:

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

Mix it with: Beer and cocaine

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