New This Week – 11/24/17

Craig Chester stars in the gay cinema classic, 'Swoon'

Long considered a hard-to-find movie, this stylish gay indie classic from 1992 tells the true story of gay lovers Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr., who kidnapped and killed a child in the early 1920s in an attempt to get away with “the perfect murder.” They didn’t. They got caught and soon became notorious figures in the media. Watch ‘Swoon’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film 'Candy'

In the short horror/thriller ‘Candy‘ from director Mark Bessenger (Bite Marks, The Last Straight Man), a man calls into phone sex lines looking for a potential romantic partner. Vic, a college student, is interested, but is too nervous to accept, prompting the mysterious caller to take matters into his own hand.

This is the art for the documentary 'That Guy...Who Was In That Thing

You know the face. You’ve seen him in a million things. But who is he? The documentary ‘That Guy…Who Was In That Thing‘ looks at sixteen actors and details their ups and downs as they struggle to forge careers in Hollywood. They’ve played cops, lawyers, bosses, best friends, psychopaths, politicians and everything in between. Now you’ll know who they are.

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 Coming Next Week: “In this moody, occasionally dreamlike drama, it’s not what happens to Jasper and his friends that’s important, so much as what happens within Jasper’s soul.” – Eric D. Snider, Moviefone

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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New This Week – 11/17/17

This is the art for the gay documentary 'Chris & Don. A Love Story'

Here is the essential story of a love between creative geniuses Christopher Isherwood (whose book ‘The Berlin Stories’ inspired the musical and film ‘Cabaret’) and American portrait artist Don Bachardy. Ripe with history and romance, ‘Chris & Don. A Love Story’ resonates with the heart.

This is the art for the gay short film 'Attention of Men'

When Colt, an aspiring writer, falls into the hands of Ely, an older wealthy man, their relationship evolves into a complex dynamic of father and son. As Ely’s demons unravel, Colt becomes witness to this king all alone in his castle. Watch ‘Attention of Men’ now on Dekkoo.com!

This is the art for the gay documentary 'Brothers of the Night'

Meet Vienna’s underdogs of respectable society. Sporting leathers jackets like suits of armor, these young hustlers are in search of adventure, freedom and a quick buck. Don’t miss this stylish new doc following a tight-knit group of desirable young men. Watch ‘Brothers of the Night’ now on Dekkoo.com!

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Coming next week: A film about one of the 20th century’s most notorious crimes: The 1924 thrill-kill murder of a 13-year-old boy in south-side Chicago

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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New This Week – 11/10/17

This is the art for the gay movie Even Lovers Get the Blues

Hard partying and wild love affairs lead to some serious soul-searching when a group of close-knit friends are forced to come to terms with the unexpected death of a loved one. Sort of like a pansexual version of ‘The Big Chill’, ‘Even Lovers Get the Blues‘ offers a sexually explicit portrait of a group of young Belgian friends.

This is the art for the gay short film Forces

In this gay short, an intense “bromance” between a gay football player and a straight military solider confronts the meaning of friendship and masculinity. Watch ‘Forces’ now on Dekkoo.com!

This is the art for the gay film An Ordinary Family

Thomas is blindsided when his estranged brother, Seth, shows up unannounced to the annual family vacation… with his boyfriend. Despite a well meaning attempt to surprise everyone, things do not go as planned, throwing Thomas and the family into an awkward week long vacation where everyone has problems and no one wants to talk about them. ‘An Ordinary Family’ is available now on Dekkoo.com!

This is the art for the Marco Ovando Collection

Take a peek at the brand new, behind-the-scenes Dekkoo-exclusive video from photographer Marco Ovando. This time, Marco trains his lens on the absolutely gorgeous Andrew Vecchio. We guarantee it will have your blood racing within the first 5 seconds!

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Coming next week: “Had Fassbinder shot a documentary about Viennese prostitutes, it would look like this” – Filmstarts

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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New This Week – 11/2/17

This is the art for Coffee House Chronicles

Coffee House Chronicles: The Movie‘ is a comedy that explores the many ways LGBT people connect in the world of the Internet, social media, and of course coffee houses. The movie, based on the successful web series from writer-director Stewart Wade, covers two days and one night of love, hookups, heartbreaks, and hopes in gay Los Angeles.

This is the art for the gay short film Pyotr495

Set one evening in present-day Moscow, 16 year-old Pyotr is baited by an ultra-nationalist group known for their violent abductions and attacks bolstered by Russia’s LGBT propaganda law, but Pyotr has a dangerous secret. Watch ‘Pyotr495’ on Dekkoo now!

This is the art for Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional

While not a gay-centric comedian, Colin Quinn’s ‘Unconstitutional’ is a poignant (and hilarious) stand-up special that deserves a look due the current political environment. Quinn offers an analysis of the creation of the United States Constitution and its effect on the American psyche how the three branches of government are similar to people in a bar, why most U.S. presidents are unattractive, and how the Kardashians reflect on our country. Watch ‘Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional’ on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week:  A contemporary pansexual drama that can best be described as the darker, equally sexy Belgian versions of John Cameron Mitchell’s ‘Shortbus’.