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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DEKKOO DISPATCH 047 – ‘DESERT MIGRATION’

Title – ‘Desert Migration

Director – Daniel F. Cardone

Release Date – 2015

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Derek Jarman. Keith Haring. Freddie Mercury. Rock Hudson. Liberace. Michel Foucualt. Leigh Bowery. David Wojnarowicz. Brad Davis. Perry Ellis. Arthur Ashe. Rudolf Nureyev.

Today is December 1st – World AIDS Day. Today we recall and mourn all of our role models, friends, family members, and lovers that have passed away far too early from HIV/AIDS. It’s also a day for us to raise awareness of all the work that needs to be done to erase the virus from the face of the earth. An estimated 36.7 million people are living with the disease and almost 5,000 will contract it today. We’ve made great progress in education, treatment, and prevention, but there’s still so much more to be done.

On Dekkoo we’re bringing you the documentary ‘Desert Migration‘ by Daniel F. Cardone. An official selection of Outfest and Frameline this film takes a deep look at 13 older gay men living with HIV in Palm Springs, CA. From morning medications to afternoon meditations we get to experience their daily routines and thoughts. Half of the people living with HIV in the United States are over the age of 50 and much of this generation are gay men whose lives were saved by antiretroviral treatments in the 90s and are now coping with both that intense medication and plain old age. Palm Springs is not only a haven for Los Angeles denizens desperate for a break from busy city life, but it’s also a mecca for gay men. They come for the beautiful scenery and lively gay social life and stay for the exact same reasons. Once you’re there it’s really hard to go back to city life. It’s so peaceful and serene and warm!

All of the men in this documentary are heroes. They’ve overcome insurmountable odds to still be alive and the fact that most of them have a positive outlook on life is astounding. This film isn’t an advertisement for Palm Springs, but they all credit the oasis in helping them find joy and meaning in their lives. All of their stories are similar yet different. Eric wants to find a boyfriend who doesn’t embraces his identity as an HIV-positive gay man. Steven is looking for any sort of relationship. Joel loves being healthy enough to go back to work. Doug is most at home in the gym cruising the guys and trying to look his best. I found this documentary to be incredibly uplifting and inspiring. The cinematography of the desert was stunning and made me yearn to be back in Palm Springs’ warm and loving embrace. While the film is incredibly inspiring, it doesn’t have an agenda it’s trying to push beyond the message that life finds a way. A way to cope, to rebuild, and most of all to have hope.

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Watch it with: A few close friends

Mix it with: A glass of white wine

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 046 – ‘EATING OUT 2: SLOPPY SECONDS’

Title – ‘Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds

Director – Phillip J. Bartell

Starring – Jim Verraros, Emily Brooke Hands, Rebekah Kochan, Marco Dapper

Release Date – 2006

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Heya Dekkoo-ers! Happy post-Thanksgiving! I hope you had a great time with your loved ones or that random hot guy that wouldn’t leave the next day because he was using you for your Dekkoo subscription (a gay cinema nerd fantasy…). Everyone knows that the best part of Thanksgiving isn’t the actual dinner, but the countless meals you can make out of the leftovers. This train of thought led me to re-watch one of my favorite gay films of all time: ‘Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds‘. Get it? Oh lord I hope so…

Way back when in Dekkoo Dispatch Number 2 I talked up ‘Eating Out‘ – the first in a series of five films conceived by Q. Allan Brocka. The popularity of the first resulted in a sequel just two years later that exceeds the first in so many ways. The original will always have the charm of razor-sharp writing in a very low-budget production, but the second film obviously benefited from a larger budget and a new eye behind the camera, Phillip J. Bartell, a prolific movie editor and director of ‘L.T.R.’ (probably the best short film on ‘Boys Life 4’). Phillip later went on to co-write every subsequent Eating Out installment.

Our story continues a few months after the events of the first film with two breakups happening in quick succession. Gwen (Marc’s fag hag who loves to date gay guys) can’t hold onto her boyfriend because he’s tired of pretending to get it on with guys and Kyle (our insecure but cute protagonist) gets dumped by Marc (hottt!) for not being confident enough in himself and their relationship. Oh and in case you’re confused about the character of Marc looking a little different, you’re not crazy, there was a casting change that in my opinion is for the better. Brett Chukerman now works for HSN and I’m truly jealous of all the housewives that get to drool over him during the day.

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All these single people need someone to lust over right?? Enter Troy (from Troy, Illinois!) a ridiculously chiseled and tan fellow college student who happens to be a nude model for the art classes as a side-hustle. After Troy drops his robe for the class (btw yes you do see ‘it’) Gwen comes up with a scheme to pretend Kyle is an ex-gay to impress Troy who is slightly ashamed of his attraction to guys. Of course Marc notices the irresistible Troy as well and tries to seduce him using gay-bro tactics. It’s a race to the finish line to see who can sleep with him first!

There are some great new characters in the sequel including Mink Stole, (a John Waters regular who goes on to have a supporting lead in the other Eating Out films) Scott Vickaryous, (who plays the leader of the ex-gays), & Adrián Quiñonez (the sexy Octavio). In usual Eating Out style there are a couple of signature long sexy scenes plus plenty of full frontal nudity to whet your palate. The lines are endlessly quotable and it’s a great gay party movie. What are you waiting for?!?! Watch it!

 

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Watch it with: A gaggle of horny gays!

Mix it with: Beers for the ex-gays and white wine for the proud gays

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

Title – ‘Chris & Don. A Love Story

Director – Tina Mascara, Guido Santi

Release Date – 2007

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“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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 044 – ‘BROTHERS OF THE NIGHT’

Title – ‘Brothers of the Night

Director – Patric Chiha

Starring – Stefan, Yonko, Asen, Nikolay

Release Date – 2016

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The dark of night, the smoke-filled alleyways leading to neon-lit signs beckoning with promises of youth, money, and sex, the men lined up waiting for a hot trick or two (or three). Europe is full of such places and it’s usually not the local boys and men that make up the workforce in this sector of business. Immigrants, usually the illegal kind, are most of the hustlers you’ll find in the western European countries.

Enter Patric Chiha’s ‘Brothers of the Night‘ – a docu-fiction hybrid that explores the realm of Buglarian Romani prostitutes in Vienna. While there are many documentaries about male prostitution (we gay men do seem to be fascinated with that topic…) already available, Patric’s movie takes a very different approach in respect to honoring the mystery of the ‘men of the night’. Just like you can’t trust the man you hire in real life to reveal who he really is, we can’t trust the men in this movie to completely tell the truth of their lives.

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The men in this movie have all come from Bulgaria, a country that has the highest percentage of Romani people in all of Europe. Over the course of the movie we follow gypsy men like Stefan who after marrying young and incurring debts decided to come to Vienna to find higher paying jobs. Upon arriving he figured out that there weren’t any jobs and was introduced to hustler bars like ‘Rudiger’ where older men and younger hustlers mix and make deals in bathrooms.

Patric Chiha who previously directed the sensuous film ‘Domain’ with Beatrice Dalle weaves many inspirations from previous films into his creation, but the one that strikes me as having the most influence is the director Wiktor Grodecki known for his work on the male hustler documentaries ‘Body Without Soul’ and ‘Not Angels But Angels’ and also the fiction film based on male hustling, ‘Mandragora’. Grodecki’s films combined a precise mix of compassion, voyeurism, and above all an appreciation of stylized cinematography and lighting that I find extremely present in ‘Brothers of the Night‘. Although we could say that Grodecki took that technique from Fassbinder who doused the famous film ‘Querelle’ in yellow, orange, and pink to highlight the hedonistic playground that the handsome sailor wandered through which is obviously a gigantic influence on Chiha’s vision of the hustlers that live near a large river.

To end this rant I’ll leave you with a statement from the director, but lastly my advice is to get lost in the world that Chiha is created. Don’t think too much about it, but enjoy the sights, sounds, and personalities of these wild Romani boys. Ciao!

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Director’s Statement:
When I found myself stuck in a very strange pub in Vienna one evening, I knew I’d found my next film: The bar was sleazy yet aesthetically pleasing in a tacky kind of way, as if from a different time. Lonely old men sat while proud, capricious young men pranced around the pool table, immediately reminding me of Pasolini or Fassbinder’s broken heroes. It had been a long time since I’d seen bodies like theirs in film, the playful way in which they moved, danced, loitered and chatted away. I wanted to get to know these people and to film them.

The boys are young Bulgarian Roma who have left behind poverty, their families and social customs. But they’re not really free in Vienna either. They’re divided. On the one hand, they have to have sex with men they find physically repulsive, but, on the other hand, they can finally be young here, far away from their wives and children, far away from their responsibilities.

I didn’t want to make a film about them, but rather with them. It had to be full of energy and playful. They play roles when they’re at work. In their everyday lives, they’re always acting. Their lives are full of fiction, full of the stories they tell each other. They’re proud. Generous. Imaginative. Irresponsible. On the hunt. So I went in search of a style that would do them justice. We decided on everything that was directed and staged together. Fiction can be truer and more real than having a camera that just stares at economic or social ills. But in this film – as is the case with the boys’ lives – the boundaries between reality and fiction, between looking in the mirror and fantasy, become blurred. Brothers of the Night is above all else a film about feelings.

 

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Watch it with: Someone you’ve paid for

Mix it with: Viennese beer

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 043 – ‘COFFEE HOUSE CHRONICLES’

Title – ‘Coffee House Chronicles

Director – Stewart Wade

Starring – Chris Salvatore, Drew Droege, Max Emerson, Darryl Stephens

Release Date – 2016

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It’s movie madness at the moment in most of the big cities. Studios are starting to hype us up for awards season by pumping out their hit films into major markets. Of course the ‘big’ gay film this year is ‘Call Me By Your Name’, but I’d also highly recommend ‘BPM’ which won the Grand Prix (essentially 2nd place) at the Cannes Film Festival this year. It’s an incredibly touching and intimate look at the ACT UP movement in France in the early 90s and does a fantastic job as both a study of activism and a portrait of the tragedy of AIDS itself.

Because I’m being exhausted by all these grand Hollywood showstoppers, I decided to focus on a film that I think is a bit like chicken soup for the soul. It’s an adorable little film called ‘Coffee House Chronicles‘. It follows a cast of diverse characters looking for love, sex, and everything in between as they live their lives in the city of Los Angeles.

Originally penned as a YouTube series, the version presented on Dekkoo is a smartly edited movie version that switches back and forth between the various vignettes making it feel much grander and sophisticated than the separated counterparts. Running just over 75 minutes I found it perfect for a relaxing evening at home and was charmed time and time again by the smart writing and hilarious situations. If you’re a Dekkoo binger then you’ll also love how many familiar faces you’ll encounter in it: Drew Droege (‘Big Gay Love‘, ‘We Are Animals‘), Darryl Stephens (‘Boy Culture‘), & Chris Salvatore (‘Eating Out: All You Can Eat‘) to name a few.

Among the vignettes my favorites were:
1. A cute white boy goes to hook-up with a guy who he thinks is Latino, but ends up being Asian once he takes off his sunglasses (I was fooled too, no lie!!).
2. For their 25th wedding anniversary one guy has the idea to get a famous porn star to sleep with them.
3. A man sees his dead boyfriend as a talking imaginary friend and it’s up to his best friend to get him to leave behind the past.

Check the film out tonight and comment with your favorite story from the film!

Oh and don’t forget that if you want queer cinema to keep getting made go support them this awards season by watching them in the theaters! Then go home and watch Dekkoo 😉

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Watch it with: A couple of your romantic friends.

Mix it with: White wine!

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 042 – ‘PYOTR495′

Title – ‘Pyotr495

Director – Blake Mawson

Starring – Alex Ozerov, Alanna Bale, Juliana Semenova, Max Rositsan

Release Date – 2016

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How was everyone’s Halloween festivities last night? Did you have to take the day off work to recover? Over here at Dekkoo we’re still clinging onto the vapors of October with this week’s short film that really packs a wallop: ‘Pyotr495‘.

The beginning of ‘Pyotr’ starts out simple enough, a really really cute guy named Pyotr (played by Alex Ozerov) is cruising on Grindr one night and is invited over to an older muscle stud’s apartment (decorated in terrible/amazing Russian fashion), but since this is a horror film he of course runs into some trouble, namely a few anti-gay Russian Nationalists that believe that it’s their responsibility to rid Russia of ‘degenerates’ like the gays. A twist towards the end makes the short film extremely enjoyable 😉

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There are lots of reasons why this short film has played all over the world: great direction, fantastic cinematography, a great horror twist, and a really cute lead to name more than a few, but it’s the films social commentary about LGBTQ bullying that really ties everything together. The films starts with a message, stylized like the beginning of a Disney fairy tale: “Russia, 2014 – The country’s military has been ordered to invade the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, while the newly-instated LGBT Propaganda Law makes it illegal to present gay life in Russia as normal. President Vladamir Putin’s approval rating is at a six-year high.”

This film paints a reality for many LGBTQ people living in Russia. They don’t feel safe in the same spaces that most of us in the U.S. feel safe in. The wrong hookup can lead to devastating consequences. Charlie David from Border2Border (who helped bring Pyotr to a wider audience online) interviewed the director Blake Mawson and asked a question about why the film is so important in this day and age:

With what we’ve seen is happening in Chechnya with the anti-gay purge and concentration camps for gay men, these human rights abuses by Chechen authorities where journalists covering the story are receiving death threats and being forced to flee the country – this is obviously a very clear sign that things are not getting any better and are in fact worsening in many parts of the globe. While I’m not claiming that our short film is solving any of world problems, I do think it is important that we use our voice as artists and as people in any way possible to draw attention to these injustices and continue to raise awareness.

I think if I can use genre-type film to put an audience in the shoes of the people who are experiencing this type of terror and hatred, make them uncomfortable and have them realize that this is actually not so make-believe in the end, that this type of horror is real – then we can begin to open people’s eyes and reach an audience in unexpected ways.

Check out ‘Pyotr495‘ tonight and do your part in kicking the asses of Russian bigots!!

 

 

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Watch it with: Your horror buddies.

Mix it with: Russian Vodka of course!

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