The arrival of a secret gay lover threatens to derail an already tense wedding in the new drama The Marriage

With their wedding only two weeks away, Anita and Bekim (Adriana Matoshi and Alban Ukaj) are adding the final touches to their big day. Despite some major issues involving their respective families, the couple is managing to get through all of their many preparations.

However, when Bekim’s secret gay ex-lover, Nol (Genc Salihu), returns from abroad unexpectedly, the situation becomes complicated, especially when Bekim realizes that Nol is still in love with him.

Inevitably, the wedding banquet becomes loaded with tension when this unusual love triangle starts to unravel.

A touching and compassionate drama about the impossibility of a gay love affair in Kosovo’s patriarchal society, The Marriage is a well-acted and absorbing film debut from director Blerta Zeqiri. The film was the recipient of the FIPRESCI and Special Jury prizes in Tallinn and was the official Kosovar submission to the Academy Awards.

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

The Short Films of Miguel Lafuente

Up-and-coming queer director Miguel Lafuente was born in Madrid. After studying film in the United States, Lafuente returned to Spain to start his own production company to produce queer cinema and music videos. These three short films explore dating, romance, and family dynamics.

Guillermo on the Roof follows an attractive young man (Javier Amann) who tries to fix his romantic life by making a film about it. Through the process, he will discover another reality through Samir (Anuar Beno), a Syrian refugee, who will make him realize the true superficial nature of his issues.

In Mario, Kike and David, two men (Almagro San Miguel and Gustavo Rojo) hook up after meeting on a dating app. What initially was never meant to be more than a one-night stand will turn into something else, in spite of their different ways of viewing their bisexuality – and how they both cope with it in their respective social circles.

In the final short of the bunch, My Brother, A family tragedy forces Alberto (Álvaro de Juan) to come back to his oppressive hometown in Spain from Berlin, where he has a free life working as comic illustrator.

Take a deep dive into The Short Films of Miguel Lafuente – now available on Dekkoo.

New This Week – 7/9/21

In this critically acclaimed sweeping romance, Thomas, a young German baker, has an affair with Oren, a married Israeli man. After Oren unexpectedly dies in a car crash, Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking answers about his death. ‘The Cakemaker’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

When a young gay lawyer arrives on Fire Island to explore his sexuality, he becomes witness to a murder after being drugged. A stranger helps him to safety, but he soon discovers his savior is friends with the killer. Watch ‘Last Ferry’ now on Dekkoo!

After an unusual online encounter, a lonely man is challenged to step out from behind his computer screen and shatter long-lived inhibitions to claim the touch of another human being. ‘Touchscreen’ is available to stream on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A voyeuristic, behind-the-scenes look as celebrated choreographer Thierry Smits and his team go through the auditions, rehearsals and eventual premiere of his controversial dance piece Anima Ardens.

Director Omar Zúñiga talks The Strong Ones

Omar Zúñiga is an Audiovisual Director and B.A. in Aesthetics from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and also holds an M.F.A. from the Graduate Film Program at New York University, which he attended with scholarships from the Fulbright Program, Chile’s Ministry of Education and Tisch School of the Arts.

He directed Academy Award® nominee James Franco and Zach Braff in a segment of the film The Color of Time. He premiered his short San Cristóbal at the Berlinale in 2015, where it won Teddy Award for the Best Short Film.

His first feature, The Strong Ones, received both the Grand Jury Prize for Best International Narrative and the Audience Award at OutFest Los Angeles 2020.

The Strong Ones is now available on Dekkoo. Here’s some of what Zúñiga had to say about the film below.

What was the starting point for The Strong Ones?

I started writing in 2014. At that moment, I was living in the United States. I had directed various projects in English, and at that moment I strongly felt the need to make something that was much closer to my life experiences, to the culture I know, to the kinds of characters and lives that I wanted to represent. I wanted to tell a love story that was romantic and genuine, honest with the things that I know and that I have seen around me.

I also wanted to make a film that was current and political, in which these two men will not let themselves be pushed over by any hostility they may find around them, in which they are able to fight for their place in the world, for the dignity that they define for themselves. This hostility does not define them, their humanity does. The ways that they are different from each other, the ways in which they both try to get to another stage of their adulthood. For me, the film is a romance and also a coming of age, in which they both take risks, and in which they take steps to their own independence.

Films working on same sex relationships sometimes do it from the violence, the discrimination, the pain. What motivated you to take it from love? What difference does The Strong Ones have with other romantic films?

In a very deliberate way, when we had the chance to make this film, we wanted to focus our resources, our talents, our light, in telling a story that celebrated this love and the bravery these two characters have in front of the world, in a way that I have not seen enough of. Homophobia exists in Chile; it is brutal and painful. There are macabre attacks periodically, and there is still a social dimension to it as well. However, our focus is not on this violence, and in my opinion, the film presents in a plausible and realistic way the different reactions that they face around them: sometimes clumsy rejection, sometimes unconditional support, sometimes the town’s anonymous hostility. I feel that this is honest with our country in this moment in time and with the experiences that I know.

I also wanted to talk about a love that had no reservations. It is not a story of discovery, it is a love story that does not involve the idea of guilt, the idea of what they are doing is wrong. It does not cease to surprise me how many films that revolve around same sex relationships fall time and time again in the pattern of one the participants thinking or feeling that what they are going through is something that must be hidden. Even films that are received by mainstream audiences. This is ethically foul for me, and we wanted to remove ourselves from that. I wanted to celebrate their freedom, their autonomy, the courage they have when they allow themselves to be vulnerable with one another.

Finally, I also think that we are unconsciously trained by narrative conventions to expect epic narratives about love, where people leave everything behind for it. I wanted to tell a different story in this sense, more adult, closer to life, with a love that has other ways of being epic.

How was the casting process?

When I started writing the film I wanted to work with Antonio Altamirano: we had met years prior because we had made our first short film together, me as a director and him as an actor. There is a feeling of resilience and strength in Antonio the character, who is very clear with what he thinks, with defending his way of looking at the world. I am not sure why exactly, but I was confident that Antonio could bring this to the screen.

For the other character, Lucas, I was not so sure. It is a more mysterious character, who leaves some of his own shortcomings behind during the film. A common friend introduced me to Samuel González, and when we met, we connected very quickly, we talked about many things beyond the story in particular. We realized that in many ways, the film was as personal to him as it was to me, with experiences that we had both lived. I was very interested in that, and it made us trust each other profoundly.

We did not do formal auditions. For me, it was about the person behind the actor: the experiences that shape us as human beings, the things we have lived or the things we think about the world. I believe that inevitably that makes it to the screen somehow. With Marcela Salinas and Rafael Contreras, it was a similar process, and also with other actors that are featured.

Why did you choose the south of Chile as the context?

From the beginning I wanted the film to have that atmosphere, defined by the immensity of the ocean, and the omnipresence of the rain, the water and the forests. In the Corral Bay in particular there is also a system of Spanish forts that were key in the conquest period, and that centuries later were a part of the independentist movement. These buildings have been standing for centuries, resisting the waves crashing against them. I see them as a vestige of resilience, and in way this echoes the relationship between Lucas and Antonio, who have to resist other kinds of waves.

Also, I was interested in a very specific culture: the local fishing, marked by the dignity of the trade, by the stoicism and the fortitude, by the pride that a community has for the life it leads. This is embodied by Antonio, who defends his side of the river, his way of looking at the world, the life he chooses to carry. I think that sometimes there is a paternalistic view of the trades, or of the hostility: if you find it, change the life you have. I wanted to defend a different notion, conscious of dignity, conscious that all of us deserve to live the life we want in the place where our affections exist.

I spent a lot of time in the area in different occasions before the shooting, observing, visiting places and getting to know people. I wanted to make a portrait that felt authentic. I believe that the process previous to filming, which was years, was key for that.

Don’t miss the award-winning romance The Strong Ones

Based on the original short film San Cristóbal, which won the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015, writer-director Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo’s The Strong Ones tells a moving story of love and bravery at the end of the world.

Lucas (Samuel González) travels to visit his sister in a remote town in southern Chile. In front of the ocean and the fog, he meets Antonio (Antonio Altamirano), a boatswain in a local fishing crew.

When an intense romance grows between them, their strength, their independence and their adulthood become immovable in front of the tide.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best International Narrative Feature and the Audience Award for Narrative Feature at OutFest Los Angeles in 2020, The Strong Ones is a film about two young men who are looking for their place in the world, that celebrates the love that they live, without reservations. It is also a political gesture, that talks about their freedom, their autonomy, and their resilience.

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

Two men from different backgrounds discover one another during A Moment in the Reeds

From director Mikko Makela, the sumptuous gay romance A Moment in the Reeds is an intimate drama about the chance encounter of two men by the Finnish lakeside.

Having moved to Paris for college, Leevi (Janne Puustinen) returns to his native Finland for the summer to help his estranged father renovate the family lake house so it can be sold. Tareq (Boodi Kabbani), a recent asylum seeker from Syria, has been hired to help with the work.

When Leevi’s father has to return to town on business, the two young men establish a connection and spend a few days discovering one another during the Finnish midsummer.

A response to the dearth of queer narratives in Finnish cinema, A Moment in the Reeds is among the first queer feature films made in the country. Viewing Finland from the perspectives both of an immigrant and an emigrant, the film casts the long-marginalized voices of sexual and ethnic minorities center stage in a story about the search for freedom, acceptance and a place to call home.

Watch the trailer for A Moment in the Reeds below. The film is available now on Dekkoo.

New This Week – 6/4/21

In this new Dekkoo-original series two very different young men come together in an episodic series that follows their relationship – from beginning to end. Watch the official trailer now!

When Lucas travels to visit his sister he meets Antonio who works as a boatswain in a local fishing boat. An intense romance blossoms between the two of them, and with it their strength, their independence and their adulthood become immovable with the ebb and flow of the tide. ‘The Strong Ones’ is available now on Dekkoo!

Felix is a friendless achiever in high school whose life changes after the arrival of the half-American Snyder brothers, entangling him in their dark ambitions. Watch ‘2 Cool 2 B 4Gotten’ now on Dekkoo!

Bernardo is an old Art History teacher recently retired and widowed from his wife Cecilia. One day he runs into Víctor, a piano player and long lost love from Bernardo’s past that he hasn’t seen in almost 40 years. ‘Chords’ is available now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: “Both sprawling and intimate, it tells a story dealing with life, love, friendship, mortality and, yes, AIDS, in a manner that is relentlessly and deliberately unsentimental in tone but which nevertheless proves to be quite affecting.” – rogerebert.com

New This Week – 5/21/21

Having moved to Paris for university, Leevi returns to his native Finland for the summer to help his estranged father renovate the family lake house so it can be sold. Tareq, a recent asylum seeker from Syria, has been hired to help with the work, and when Leevi’s father has to return to town on business, the two young men establish a connection and spend a few days discovering one another during the Finnish midsummer. ‘Moment in the Reeds’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

At the age of 21, Nicolás decides to get his first HIV test. The uncertainty about the disease will affect the relationship with his family and his sexual life during the weekend he awaits the results. Stream ‘The Grey Zones’ on Dekkoo!

From Tom of Finland to Bugs Bunny in a dress – animation has been a place where artists can unleash and explore their sexuality. When did all this g(art) start? Is it a sexual turn-on? How did the artists get their start? ‘Drawn This Way’ is now playing on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Twin 18-year-olds hitchhike to their mother’s funeral in Spain. The journey changes their lives forever.

A dreamy romance becomes a nightmare in the new thriller Complete Strangers

In the new thriller Complete Strangers, a recovering alcoholic returns to his hometown after a hiatus, and falls in love with a man who will turn his world upside down.

When Robert (played by writer-director Pau Masó), a recovering alcoholic, returns to Budapest to reconnect with friends; he also meets the enigmatic Hugo (Matthew Crawley), a tall blue-eyed stranger who quickly gains his trust by giving him what he craves most.

Robert willingly accepts Hugo’s proposal of a weekend getaway, against the advice of his inner circle. What begins as an idyllic weekend takes a sinister turn when Hugo’s true intentions are revealed.

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

New This Week – 3/5/21

Mario, a young dancer living in his small village has to face the loss of his beloved friend Lenz, victim of an attack in a gay club. ‘Why Not You’ is streaming exclusively on Dekkoo!

A young gay man finds how to love himself and accept love from another, despite the disapproval of his father. Watch ‘More Than Only’ now on Dekkoo!

An openly gay teacher must choose a course of action when his sister asks him to step back into the closet for her wedding in Turkey. ‘Involuntary Activist’ is available now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A story of love, greed – and moisturizer.