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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Two men fall in love behind the walls of a concentration camp in this powerful drama. Clive Owen, Lothaire Bluteau, Mick Jagger, Jude Law, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Rachel Weisz and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau star in this emotional adaptation of the award-winning stage play by Martin Sherman. ‘Bent’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
Gorgeous bronzed bodies on the beaches of southern France and a passionate romance between two French teens are reason enough to see Come Undone, but this bittersweet, turn-of-the-millennium gay classic also has some profound things to say about the heartbreak of gay first love.
Eighteen-year-old Mathieu (Jérémie Elkaïm) is vacationing at the beach with his family when he meets local teen Cedric (Stéphane Rideau). After an extremely erotic kiss, the boys begin a hot and heavy affair, complete with skinny-dipping at night, nude dancing on the beach and intense lovemaking in the dunes. Yet as Mathieu grapples with his sexuality – and copes with his sick mother, absent father and a characteristically annoying little kid sister – his bond with Cedric grows stronger… until, like so many first loves before and since, it bursts.
Released to critical acclaim in 2000, Come Undone, directed and co-written by Sebastien Lifshitz, beautifully conveys Mathieu’s coming-of-age (a scene in which he comes out to his mother is still quite moving almost 20 years later). Both lead actors, Stéphane Rideau and Jérémie Elkaïm, are incredibly charismatic and give remarkable performances as the affectionate teens.
If you’ve never seen it before – or are just looking to dip your toes back in – Dekkoo has you covered. Come Undone is available now.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573-1610) was the last, perhaps the greatest, and certainly the most controversial painter of the Italian Renaissance. The late great Derek Jarman’s stylishly bold tribute to the violative artist features Nigel Terry as Caravaggio, a bad-boy of Italian aristocracy who scandalized the established order with his faintly erotic paintings of often naked saints modeled by prostitutes and street urchins.
Jarman portrays Caravaggio as a man of intense passions – artistically, emotionally and physically – who was also bisexual, with a taste for “rough trade.” Sean Bean, long before his turn as Ned Stark on “Game of Thrones,” co-stars as the bisexual Ranuccio, the artist’s rugged lover. Jarman’s regular muse, the incomparable Tilda Swinton, is also on hand as Lena, the beautiful mistress who comes between these two men.
A quirky yet elegant film, blending anachronistic playfulness (a technique Jarman would use again in Edward II, also available now on Dekkoo) with a touching homoerotic love story, spectacular camera work and a complex, impressionistic feel, Caravaggio is a unique cinematic pleasure. Jarman spent seven years preparing for the film. When the actual production began, he made it in only five weeks – all in one single warehouse at the East End of London.
Derek Jarman delivers a retelling of the life of the celebrated 17th-century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld. Watch ‘Caravaggio’ now on Dekkoo!
James, a sexy, youthful sought-after instagram star in high-society and self-proclaimed ‘Trophy,’ is dumped by his wealthy live-in benefactor. Now he must learn that the real world is not the facade he’s built for himself on social media. Stream the award-winning short film ‘Trophy Boy’ on Dekkoo!
As 19-year-old Bennett Wallace navigates early sobriety, late adolescence, and the evolution of his gender identity, his mother makes her own transformation from resistance to acceptance of her trans son. ‘Real Boy’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: A wicked ensemble comedy about a group of gay, lesbian and hetero friends and family connected by secrets and lies.
Back in 1991, Christopher Marlowe’s notorious 16th century play was radically adapted into a gay cinema masterpiece by late, great queer auteur Derek Jarman.
Using anachronistic imagery, modern dress, gay activists battling riot police and Annie Lennox singing Cole Porter, Edward IItells the story of an openly gay British monarch and the persecution he suffered. It’s given a contemporary resonance by Jarman, paralleling the injustice of homophobia at the time.
King Edward II (Stephen Waddington) rejects his cold wife Queen Isabella (Tilda Swinton) and takes a male lover, the commoner Piers Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan) upon whom he bestows gifts and power. The King’s behavior enrages the sober, business-suited court officials and the spurned queen becomes a seething monster whose dresses and jewelry grow more outrageously lavish as her need to vengeance escalates and the plotting begins.
Edward II is a prime example of “New Queer Cinema” – the indie film movement of the early 1990s. Jarman reworked Marlowe’s play into a homoerotic, sexually charged, radically relevant work. Graphic, brutal, moving, surprisingly funny and always erotic, the film blends prose with contemporary jargon and costumes, replete with positive portrayals of queer sex, profanity and ACT- UP activists.
Brilliant, daring and innovative, Edward II showcases gay cinema at its finest. It’s not streaming on Dekkoo.
In the short film ‘Prom Night’, documentary and fiction is blended seamlessly bringing to life real stories about LGBT people and their experiences at prom.
In this raw, eye-opening documentary a group of impassioned theater students come together to produce a play aimed at shedding light on the many stigmas and equality-rights issues faced by LGBT youth in the United States today. ‘Break Through’ is available now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: A hypnotic story from Chile that is both an enticing family melodrama and an explicit erotic thriller.