The scars of our youth shape the adults we become.
In the riveting Australian drama Teenage Kicks, angst-ridden seventeen-year-old Miklos (Miles Szanto) makes plans to escape his migrant family and run away with his best friend and secret crush Dan (cutie-pie Daniel Webber, hot off his star-making turn as Lee Harvey Oswald in the miniseries “11.22.63” and his regular role on “The Punisher”).
Miklos’s dreams are dashed after the accidental death of his older brother Tomi (Nadim Kobeissi). Only he knows the events that led to this tragedy. Suddenly, he is forced to navigate his guilt, as well as his explosive sexuality, in order to find the man he will become.
Written and directed by Craig Boreham, who recently made MTV’s list of “hot filmmakers to watch,” Teenage Kicks is a smart and sexy drama that has earned rave reviews around the globe. Empire magazine labeled it “a debut not to be missed.”
Off Beat follows 26-year-old Lukas (Hans-Jakob Mühlethaler), who is not so much living as floating.
His dream of making it as a musician is on the wane and his great passion – freestyle hip-hop – has also past its heyday. Lukas lives with his producer, 46-year-old Mischa (Domenico Pecoraio), in an old loft where they cultivate cannabis. They have been having a turbulent affair for years – but this is a closely guarded secret.
Lukas has grown cold inside and only really feels himself in moments of excess. Drunk and coked-up to the eyeballs, he toils his way through a gig in a small club. In the audience his sixteen-year-old brother Sämi (Manuel Neuburger), an ambitious rapper himself, feels nothing but shame for his brother’s embarrassing performance.
Mischa decides that he has had enough of Lukas’ escapades and suggests they ask Sämi to join the band. Sensing that he is about to be substituted, Lukas gets out of his head and starts to take back control of his life.
A gritty drama that shines a spotlight on a corner of closeted gay life not often seen on film, Swiss writer-director Jan Gassmann’s Off Beat is now streaming on Dekkoo. Check out the trailer below.
Months after they broke up, Gunnar receives a strange phone call from his ex-boyfriend, Einar. He sounds distraught, like he’s about to do something terrible to himself. Gunnar drives up to the secluded cabin where Einar is holed up and soon discovers that there’s more going on than he imagined. ‘Rift’ is now available on Dekkoo!
A sex and drug addicted young man who is forced into a Christian-run ministry in an attempt to cure him of his “gay affliction”, where instead he is faced with the truth in his heart and spirit. Stream ‘Save Me’ now on Dekkoo.com!
Carefree Elias works at a textile factory, juggling long shifts, dreams of the sea, and animated nights-out with no-strings sexual encounters. As he tries to discern where his future may lead him, he and his coworkers decide to go out for a bit of fun, ultimately leading to new encounters and unexpected desires. ‘Body Electric’ is now available on Dekkoo.
A gritty, 17-minute short from Switzerland, ‘Vandalen’ follows two young graffiti artists who are having a secret affair. While one thinks of their relationship as purely sexual, the other is falling in love. When a female acquaintance comes between them, jealousy forces their hidden desires out in the open. Watch ‘Vandalen’ now on Dekkoo!
‘NY84’ follows the adventures of three young artists in the downtown art scene in the early 1980’s. Young and carefree, the friends party, photograph, paint, sing, and play their way through the clubs and lofts of Alphabet City. The party ends in 1984 when Anton and Keith contract a mysterious illness. Stream the gay film ‘NY84’ now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: On the second anniversary of a needless tragedy, we present a film that commemorates the victims.
Starring – Josh Caras, Donald Cumming, Eleonore Hendricks, David Tennent
Release Date – 2006
Well it’s a very dark and yet exciting day here in Dekkoo-world with the launch of Carter Smith’s award-winning short-ish film from 2006 ‘Bugcrush‘! This is absolutely, positively, my favorite short film ever – it’s disturbing, sexy, and gorgeously made. The photography, sound design, and choice of locations all come together to reach a level of perfection for my particular aesthetic interests. The short premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film! Based on his success at Sundance Carter Smith went on to direct the Summer blockbuster horror film ‘The Ruins’ and later in 2014 the intimate ghost love-triangle film ‘Jamie Marks is Dead’.
‘Bugcrush‘ is set in a small town in the forest-heavy state of Maine. We meet Ben – a mousey nerd-ish loner type who happens to be the first person to talk to the dark, mysterious, and sexy new kid in school, Grant who immediately upon arrival gets an immediate detention for smoking. What does Ben do then? He gets detention on purpose so he can stare at Grant for a couple of hours. Ben’s friends try to talk him down from his obsession with Grant. They warn him that he’s just a straight guy that’ll beat him up if he knew Ben was into him. But none of this deters Ben who proceeds to work up the courage one school day to propose a hangout with Grant that leads to a very bumpy night to say the least…
The film is an adaptation of a short story by Scott Treleaven, an artist who founded the queer pagan punk ‘zine ‘This is the Salivation Army’ back in the 90’s. It was collected in the queer horror anthology ‘Queer Fear 2’ which is where Carter Smith first read it. “The moment I read the short story the very first time, it was like being hit by a bus,” Carter Smith said, waiting in a Dallas airport for a changeover flight to Salt Lake City. “I was like, ‘This is the film that I can make better than anybody else. This is the film I have to make.’ It just sort of clobbered me over the head.” Before making ‘Bugcrush‘ Carter Smith was a professional fashion photographer and commercial director. He was certainly able to bring over his keen instinct for stylization and photography to create a dark and foreboding landscape of teenage angst and sexuality.
The film was shot on 35mm and the color timing is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Greens have a corpse-like quality to them (except when it comes to Ben’s eyes which seem to be leaping out of the screen at you) and the roads at night are a gorgeous yellow-grey color. Another part of the production that leaps out at you is the sound design. The entire film is filled with eerie moans and distorted childish voices that promote the escalating tension in everyday normal situations like school hallways. The idea to un-synchronize the sound during the driving scene at night is totally brilliant! And so was the idea to have lots of whispering voices giving you additional info about characters. Turn up your volume!!
This movie has everything! Pretty guys, teenage crushes, weird drugs, sexy smoking, metal music, awkward hidden sexuality, creepy straight guys, and cockroaches! Watch ‘Bugcrush‘ with your ‘crush’ tonight!
Starring – Kyle Wigent, Tanner Rittenhouse, Adam Fane, Jake Andrews
Release Date – 2013
Love is always best in the early stages when it’s ‘In Bloom‘. Chris Michael Birkmeier’s first feature film captures the innocence and tragedy of first love with a delicate touch reminiscent of Andrew Haigh’s ‘Weekend’. Although whereas ‘Weekend’ features leads from the UK that you can barely understand, ‘In Bloom‘ takes place in Chicago with super cute clean-cut American boys that definitely speak our language 😉
As the film opens we’re introduced to Kurt and Paul who after running into each other awkwardly at a party try to be amiable with each other until… flashback! :SEVEN MONTHS EARLIER: A much more carefree Kurt smokes a joint in his bedroom while a frazzled Paul stocks shelves in bland looking grocery store. They’re a couple still in the early stages of love where they live separately, but spend all their time together. They go to the beach and play the ‘which guy is the hottest’ game, they have hot sex, and they go to parties together. We quickly find out the reason why Paul’s working hard and Kurt isn’t is because Kurt sells weed. Which isn’t to say selling weed isn’t hard work, but… it just isn’t.
Kurt and Paul’s relationship is tested by the arrival of Kevin, a new client/customer of Kurt’s. A wildly cute young-and-carefree type he definitely is someone that Paul could never be – younger, cuter, and a non-paranoid stoner. We can tell immediately that Kurt is trying his best not to be unfaithful to Paul, but it’s hard when Kevin is the one to make the first move and kiss Kurt. Gasp!! Of course this throws Kurt into a realm of uncertainty about Paul if he’s his one true love. Is he supposed to commit to this person if he’s interested in someone else? If only he didn’t smoke so much weed… Paul also is going through his own issues. “Don’t you get tired of doing the same thing over and over?” He wants to go to Paris and explore. Kurt just wants to ‘chill’ and have sex.
When I first saw this film I was really taken aback by its honesty and its emotional connection that I could completely relate to. I was lucky enough to meet the filmmakers at their screening at Outfest and was thrilled to meet a group of people who were just like the film they created – smart, in touch with the gay community, and eager to make more films. The director has cited most of the film coming from his own life experiences and it totally shows. Here’s to hoping he creates more feature films – in the meantime he’s been busy creating queer music videos in Los Angeles.
Starring – Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Roland Bertin, Claude Berri
Release Date – 1983
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’.
‘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.
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!
Starring – Brad Renfro, Nick Stahl, Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt
Release Date – 2001
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.
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.
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).
‘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!
Watch it with: Your trouble-making friends.
Mix it with: The traditional bad-ass high school dropout drink: Jack & Coke
Rory and Fred, two unconventional gay men who, after meeting at a hip party in Silverlake, CA, have an instant connection, and decide to hook up. But haven’t they been living together for years already? ‘Surprise’ chronicles the emotional and physical journey of lust and longing, and the sweet tragedy of getting what you wished for.