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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DEKKOO DISPATCH 057 – ‘SCREWED’

Title – ‘Screwed’

Director – Nils-Erik Ekblom

Starring – Mikko Kauppila, Valtteri Lehtinen, Sanna Majuri, Sami Huhtala

Release Date – 2017

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Next week we’re bringing you a gay title direct from the biggest gay film festivals right into your living rooms! On February 15th get ready to be ‘Screwed’…

If the film sounds familiar that’s because right after Frameline (the oldest queer film festival in the world!) we here at Dekkoo made headlines by acquiring the film just for all of you right out of the jam-packed world premiere. We were so impressed by this audacious and sexy coming-of-age film that we just had to immediately grab it and make sure you all were the first to see it. That’s why it will be exclusively available on Dekkoo for a whole month before it hits DVD.

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Elias & Miku

‘Screwed’ comes to us from the mind of Nils-Erik Ekblom – a filmmaker who decided to explore the life of a fairly normal gay teenager in Finland and what happens when he comes face to face with desires he decides he doesn’t want to run from. In interviews Nils has explained that he feels gay people aren’t portrayed authentically in Finnish cinema and that for years they’ve been the butt of jokes. He desired to create an accurate portrait of queer life here and now in Finnish culture. Indeed if you look up Finnish gay films you won’t find much of anything sadly. Now we know why ‘Tom of Finland’ wanted to come to California 🙂

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Miku

Alright enough of the back-story! Let’s talk about the boys! Meet our cute main character – 17-year-old Miku. Jesus that name is adorable… Miku’s life is very static – you can absolutely tell something needs to change and this is the year that he takes some chances in life. A good way to start is by throwing a house party and losing his virginity his weird older brothers advises him. Thus Miku throws said party and thus his parent’s house nearly gets demolished in the teenage debauchery that ensues. Of course it’s bad enough to feel the wrath of his parents in general, but it’s even worse because they go on summer vacation immediately afterwards and he’s stuck in a small cabin with them!

Luckily there’s a surprise just down the river bend… No I’m not kidding. Literally a hot next door neighbor named Elias rows down the river and comes to introduce himself to Miku’s family. Once Elias sees Miku he’s very taken whereas Miku looks like he wants to run away as far as possible from the feelings that are coursing through him. It’s like watching someone in fight-or-flight mode. After the two finally start talking and taking little adventures in the countryside together it’s clear that they’re both in for a large dose of first love – with all the wonderful earth-shaking feelings it can produce. Of course ‘Screwed’ doesn’t just focus on the gay angle of life, it also rounds it out with sibling trouble, rocky marriages, and general family drama.

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Elias

We’re incredibly thrilled to bring you this sexy, amazingly gorgeous film directly to you first before anyone else. We hope you love it as much as us!

Trailer:

 

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Watch it with: With lots of friends! Pack ’em in!

Mix it with: White wine.

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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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DEKKOO DISPATCH 055 – ‘I’M FINE SEASON 2’

Title – ‘I’m Fine – Season 2

Director – Brandon Kirby

Starring – Perry Powell, Lee Doud, Shaughn Buchholz, Brittney King, Richard Stokes, Ulysses Morazan

Release Date – 2018

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Today is a very exciting day in the Dekkoo-universe! ‘I’m Fine‘ Season 2 launches worldwide right now!!! At Dekkoo we truly believe in the power of gay filmmakers that tell stories about their communities and ‘I’m Fine‘ is the perfect example of that. Brandon Kirby lives in West Hollywood, CA (considered by many to be the mecca of gay life on this planet!) and he plumbs the depths of the craziness and camaraderie that goes on there to create a series that contains plentiful amounts of laughs and feels.

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Alright so let’s do a quick recap of Season 1! :Spoilers ahead:
Meet Nate. Nate’s your average ‘figuring out life post-college’ Angeleno living in West Hollywood. He’s trying to get over his breakup with Joey with the help of his fab friends: Jeff, Brian, Andy, and Nicole. Jeff is adorable and has a crush on Nate, Brian and Andy are a couple that have their share of spats and Nicole is the party girl that glues them all together. At the end of the first season Nate has a big fight with Jeff after a drunken hookup that Nate wasn’t into with the result of Jeff being completely pissed at Nate.

We enter Season 2 at the same place we ended Season 1 – with a sunset smothered view on the top of the Hollywood mountains. All seems… strangely peaceful. Nate’s life up until now never seemed this serene. Enter Mick. An adorable button of a twink, he claims to have just moved there and would love make some new gay friends. Nate, although taken aback by such an open and honest proposition (not seen very often in LA) appears taken by Mick and agrees to meet up later on. Nate’s journey in this season seems to me to be a journey of forgiveness. He’s made a lot of mistakes and he knows he won’t find happiness (in the form of Mick perhaps?) until he receives forgiveness from everyone including himself.

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But! This season is about a wholeeee lot more than Nate this time around. The bffs from  last season are not about to be merely supporting characters. No! This time we get full blown storylines with each and every one of them. Brian and Andy go to a sex party, Jeff has a hilariously bad blind date, and Nicole apparently was once in a lesbian relationship?!? We also get to meet a lot of new characters: Nate’s sexy roommates, his parents and sister, a sexy latino hunk at a pool party, and many more! There’s also a very long and hilarious post-credits scene hidden after the credits in episode 7 so make sure to stick around for that.

We really hope you binge the heck out of Season 2 and we’d of course love for you to tell all of your friends about it and encourage them to join Dekkoo. We love bringing original gay stories to life, but it takes the support of a community to do it!

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Watch it with: Your friends that you watched Season 1 with!

Mix it with: Mimosas of course!

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 054 – ‘BULLY’

Title – ‘Bully

Director – Larry Clark

Starring – Brad Renfro, Nick Stahl, Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt

Release Date – 2001

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Oh Larry Clark. What a strange and unusual artist. In the late 90s his name was synonymous with the new wave of transgressive cinema coming out of Sundance from the likes of Gregg Araki and Bruce LaBruce. His subject matter is primarily troubled youth coping with the boring, sad world around them – usually through drugs and sex. On Dekkoo we’ve made one of Clark’s classic films – ‘Bully‘ available for your voyeuristic pleasure.

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Still from ‘Tulsa’

Before I tackle ‘Bully’ today I want to talk a bit more about Larry Clark. The preface of his now legendary first book of photography ‘Tulsa’ reveals a lot about Larry:

i was born in tulsa oklahoma in 1943. when i was sixteen i started shooting amphetamine. i shot with my friends everyday for three years and then left town but i’ve gone back through the years. once the needle goes in it never comes out. L.C.

We’re clearly dealing with an artist who spent a great deal of time living in a world that he know he’ll never actually escape from so he instead decided to explore his own world deeper through photography and expose it to the world. ‘Tulsa’ caused a big stir when it came out in 1971. Many viewers were shocked by the world contained within – a world of junkies, teenage sex, and violence. Obviously people responded to the work (Gus Van Sant & Martin Scorsese have cited ‘Tulsa’ as an influence on their work) and he was able to follow up ‘Tulsa’ with ‘Teenage Lust’ in 1983 – building on his world of drugs and isolation.

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A young Harmony Korine

In 1993 Larry Clark saw a young Harmony Korine skating with his friends in Washington Square Park, took a few photos, and then after finding out he was an aspiring filmmaker asked him to write a script about skaters and include a plotline about AIDS. Harmony was thrilled and eagerly wrote the script ‘Kids’ which then premiered in 1995 at the Cannes Film Festival. Chronicling the life of a group of NYC wayward youth, one of whom was unknowingly infecting girls with HIV generated massive controversy just like ‘Tulsa’. Due to it’s NC-17 rating it didn’t earn much money at the box office, but it certainly cemented the careers of both Harmony (who went on to direct ‘Gummo’ and ‘Mister Lonely’) and Larry Clark. After ‘Kids’ Larry Clark directed three movies in a span of nine months! Those films turned out to become ‘Bully’, ‘Ken Park’ (still unreleased in the U.S. to this day!), and ‘Teenage Caveman’ (a silly movie that’s worth watching if you’re into B-grade schlock).

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Nick Stahl and Brad Renfro in ‘Bully’

Bully‘ takes place in Hollywood. Hollywood, Florida that is. There’s definitely no glitz and glam here. Take it from me. I’ve been there. Many times. Don’t go there. Buttt it’s the perfect setting for a Larry Clark movie. It’s full of disaffected youth dying to escape the heat and move to the real Hollywood to make it big. ‘Bully‘ starts out innocently enough with horny teenagers just trying to get laid. But soon we come to realize that we’re witnessing a microcosm of sexual and interpersonal dependency between the main characters of Bobby and Marty. Bobby constantly has Marty in an iron grip of dominance that Marty simply can’t escape from. He might even like it a bit. But eventually the abuse becomes too much and Marty’s girlfriend convinces him that the only way the abuse will end is if they kill Bobby.

Wow – what a crazy-ass movie. I remember watching this in high school and enjoying it, but I definitely did not pick up on how freaking homo this film was. And hot. Bobby is basically Marty’s pimp. He makes him have gay sex over the phone for cash AND forces him on stage to strip at a gay bar. Also there’s a fantastic scene where Bobby literally accuses Marty of being gay, “Don’t lie to me boy I know you like dick”. Messages are mixed in the film as to whether or not they’re actually gay (for other guys. I mean Marty does have an Eminem poster in his bedroom…), but I do think they’re at least gay for each other.

The film is loosely based on a real crime that took place in 1993 – the murder of Bobby Kent by a group of kids hereafter known as The Broward County Seven. Comprising the ‘seven’ are a number of awesome cameos. Most surprising was the fantastic performance by Daniel Franzese (‘Mean Girls’) as a fat drug-taking Mortal Kombat addicted teenager (FATALITY!!). It’s also great to see Michael Pitt (pre-‘Hedwig’) as a complete brain-dead drug addict who can’t make any decisions in life without a tab of acid taking the wheel.

This film is totally bizarre, hot, ridiculous, and disturbing which really adds up to fun-ass time. Watch it tonight!

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Watch it with: Your trouble-making friends.

Mix it with: The traditional bad-ass high school dropout drink: Jack & Coke

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 053 – ‘I’M FINE’ SEASON 2 TRAILER PREMIERE

Title – ‘I’m Fine Season 2 Trailer

Director – Brandon Kirby

Starring – Perry Powell, Lee Doud, Shaughn Buchholz, Brittney King

Release Date – 2018

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THEY’REEE BACK! Well almost anyway…

Nate, Jeff, Andy, Brian, and Nicole: They’re all back and ready for more life lessons and queer hijinks in ‘I’m Fine’ Season 2! It premieres January 25th and today you can finally see the full season 2 trailer here. And here! and heeereeee.

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Season 2 picks up right where the last one left off with our titular hero/anti-hero Nate finally getting over his relationship with Joey, but still figuring out his delicate friendship with Jeff. The rest of his friends are each figuring out life in LA – job hunting, open relationships, and of course – sex.

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I asked the director what viewers should look forward to in season 2:

They should be excited to get to know the incredible cast of supporting characters who orbit Nate – we get a more in depth look at their friendships. Oh, and there is some fresh eye candy, too. 🙂

‘I’m Fine’ Season 2 premieres January 25th exclusively on Dekkoo! Catch up on Season 1 here.

 

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 052 – ‘KUNTERGRAU’

Title – ‘Kuntergrau

Director – Kai Kreuser, Maik Scholz, Nick Schröder

Starring – Fabian Freistühler, Daniel Kosic, Marcel Meyer, Moustafa Tarraf

Release Date – 2015

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Happy new year everyone!! Hope you all had at least some chance to rest, relax, and reflect on the coming year and all the exciting (and dreadful) surprises that lie in wait. Here’s to hoping you also got the chance to watch some movies to ring in the new year. Did any of you watch ‘Make the Yuletide Gay‘ with friends and/or family? I showed it to my mom and she was quite tickled by it!

I know the wait for Season 2 of ‘I’m Fine’ has felt like forever, but it’s nearly over!! It premiers January 25th right here exclusively on Dekkoo and you can check out a little teaser here! The full trailer is coming out veryyyy soon! In the meantime we’ve got something very similar for you – a webseries from the capital of Germany – Cologne dubbed ‘Kuntergrau‘. At 5 episodes averaging 12 minutes each you’ll be either binge it in one sitting or give yourself 5 fantastic morning commutes or work lunches worth of cute young queerness!

Being gay and living in Cologne in Germany and not Berlin must feel just like living in Pittsburgh versus NYC. But that’s where ‘Queer as Folk’ succeeded and that’s how ‘Kuntergrau‘ works its charm. There’s definitely something about portrayals gay life in a smaller city that seems more tight-knit and adventurous. It’s also this exact need to come together that inspired the production of the series. Volunteers aged 17-27 worked on this project over the course of several months and you can tell that a lot of love and hard work went into it.

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Kuntergrau‘ follows five friends living as openly gay men in Cologne. It absolutely tries to do away with the typical coming-of-age closeted stereotypical storylines and instead tries to focus on issues that young gay men are living with in metropolitan areas. All the characters are very charming and unique in their own way, not to mention very cute! Jan and Noah are the first of the friends we meet and they also happen to be lovers. Complicating their relationship is Noah’s desire to be extremely masochistic and submissive in bed which cuddle-friendly Jan doesn’t enjoy. The handsome Marcel seems to tie a lot of the characters together with his openness towards sexuality and the fact that he’s the only single one. The final couple of the 5-some is the extremely cute and shy Leopold and a fresh face in Cologne; Lukas. There aren’t many supporting characters, but Leopold’s Grandma Margarethe is adorable!!!

It’s hard to pack a lot of content into something so short, but ‘Kuntergrau‘ absolutely has a lot to say. There’s a lot of emotional digging around the issue of sexuality in Jan and Noah’s relationship – is it truly love if one person’s sexual desires can’t be fulfilled? Lukas and Leopold have their own baggage to unpack – Leopold is very virginal/shy and Lukas is hooking up with someone outside of the relationship. Finally the show even tackles HIV with Marcel as a proud HIV-positive man simply trying to not let the virus take over his carefree and hookup-friendly life. The show really took me by surprise as I hadn’t heard of it, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this team as I think there’s some fantastic talent both in front of and behind the camera.

 

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Watch it with: A few friends

Mix it with: Vodka/Soda

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