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 – 9/29/17

c4cb64bd-8102-4977-b249-41cec7d9f6b1-080141a6A heartwarming coming-of-age romance, ‘Center of My World‘ follows Phil, a gay teen looking for excuses to avoid his quirky family. When he sets his sites on Nicholas, the mysterious new kid at school, he finds the perfect new distraction. Smitten, Phil watched Nicholas run track after school… and is thrilled to learn that his affections are reciprocated.

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Two prisoners in complete isolation, separated by the thick brick walls, and desperately in need of human contact, devise a most unusual kind of communication. ‘Un Chant D’Amour‘ is a voyeuristic, confrontational and poetic masterpiece. It is the only film made by French novelist Jean Genet. Forbidden in France upon its release, and only available in the United States in censored form through underground distribution, we are proud to present it in its complete version. Please be aware, this is a silent film!

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If You Could Only Be You‘ is a coming-of-age story that identifies the relationship between a father and son who are both at crossroads with their true identities.

 

DEKKOO DISPATCH 033 – ‘TONIGHT IT’S YOU’ AND ‘SEBASTIANE’

Title – ‘Sebastiane

Director – Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman

Starring – Leonardo Treviglio, Barney James, Neil Kennedy, Richard Warwick

Release Date – 1976

Title – ‘Tonight It’s You

Director – Dominic Haxton

Starring – Jake Robbins, Roy Allen III, George Alvarez, Ian Lerch

Release Date – 2016

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Well boys, it’s almost the end of summer and to celebrate/mourn we’ve got two films that will help to make the transition as smooth as possible.

To celebrate the coming of fall (which in turn means Halloween!) we’re premiering the Dominic Haxton (‘We Are Animals‘ ‘Tonight It’s Me‘) directed horror-themed short film ‘Tonight It’s You‘! It’s always fantastic when there’s a new entry into the very deserted category of Queer Horror and ‘Tonight It’s You‘ is a 17-minute sexy thrill ride through hookup app anxiety, intimacy, and religion. What starts off as a hot hookup for CJ in the woods turns into a fight for his life by the end of the film. I was lucky enough to see this film on the big screen and holy shittttt I was so surprised at just how scared I was. Definitely check this out!

And if you’re the type that’s clinging onto summer well then have no fear because shirtless soldiers speaking Latin are here! Enter the world of ‘Sebastiane‘ – an incredibly homo-erotic take on the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by filmmakers Paul Humfress and Derek Jarman. While you might not have heard of the former, the latter is an incredibly influential and important director in the world of Queer Cinema. Derek Jarman passed away of AIDS in 1994, but left behind an incredible array of cinema and art. His most successful film was ‘Caravaggio’, but his other films such as the experimental film ‘Blue’ (1993 – A film where the only video is a blue screen and the audio is a series of voices including the director’s describing his failing health [he’d gone partially blind at that point]) and the gay-activism themed ‘Edward II’ (1991) are all incredible achievements and works of true art.

Sebastiane‘ follows the Roman soldier Sebastianus who after falling out of the emperor’s favors is exiled to a remote garrison of soldiers to work. What follows is fellow soldiers falling over themselves with their lust for Sebastiane, lots of whipping, and bros being bros around the campfire. The movie definitely has strengths and weaknesses. The idea to have all the actors speak Latin was very academic and happened years before ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Also you can definitely see the early stages of Derek Jarman’s fascination with placing contemporary fashions and objects in an era where it sticks out like a sore thumb. The men are also extremely sexy and naked practically the whole time. Probably my only critique of it is that it does meander a bit. It shows its age in that because it was made for a gay audience that was desperate for this kind of overt homo-erotic sexuality in a film, the filmmakers were more concerned with that then with plot and they figured their audience would have the same feelings.

Regardless ‘Sebastiane‘ is a work of art and deserves to be watched with that in mind while at the same time observing the beginnings of Derek Jarman’s storied film career.

 

 

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Watch ’em with: A friend who likes to be scared and watch artsy films

Mix it with: A red wine

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New This Week – 8/25/17

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Taking place over the course of four years (on four consecutive Valentine’s Days) this achingly romantic indie from Filipino auteur Adolfo Alix Jr. takes an intimate look at the complicated relationship between two college buddies. ‘4 Days’ is available now, one month before it’s release on DVD!

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Follow Me‘ tells the story of Jasper. He is a young man who has to weigh the overwhelming desire for his first love against the possible angst of rejection.

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Based in 300 A.D., this controversial 1976 classic from directors Paul Humfress and Derek Jarman follows Sebastianus, a Roman guard who is exiled to a remote outpost populated entirely by men. Weakened by their desires, the men turn to homoeroticism to satisfy their needs, which tests Sebastianus and his deep Christian beliefs. Watch ‘Sebastiane’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week – ‘Walking Dead’ star Norman Reedus is a broody cutie in this ‘90s indie about a straight boy learning to accept his new friend’s sexuality.

DEKKOO DISPATCH 032 – ‘FOLLOW ME’ AND ‘LOVE IS THE DEVIL’

Title – ‘Love Is The Devil

Director – John Maybury

Starring – Derek Jacobi, Daniel Craig, Tilda Swinton, Anne Lambton

Release Date – 1998

Title – ‘Follow Me

Director – Anthony Schatteman

Starring – Ezra Fieremans, Maarten Ketels, Lien Maes

Release Date – 2015

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“I feel ever so strongly that an artist must be nourished by his passions and his despairs. These things alter an artist whether for the good or the better or the worse. It must alter him. The feelings of desperation and unhappiness are more useful to an artist than the feeling of contentment, because desperation and unhappiness stretch your whole sensibility.”
-Francis Bacon

Well hey there and welcome to tortured-artist-Wednesday! Today we’ve got two movies that focus on angsty artists in love or at least lust.

Follow Me‘ is the short yet touching story of a young artist struggling to figure out if the man of his affections is also the man of his dreams. Shot in fragments we see Jasper honing his craft in the classroom and his studio, working in a bathhouse, following his teacher around town, and having sex with said teacher. The incredible score really elevates this quietly shot short film to transcendent heights and makes the mind wander through issues of love, homophobia, and loyalty. Plus it helps that both characters are superrrr cute.

Speaking of cute look which famous handsome man plays gay in ‘Love Is The Devil‘: DANIEL CRAIG! AHH! And he’s naked in it? Whoa.

But seriously ‘Love Is The Devil‘ is a heavy-duty bio-pic about Francis Bacon, a legendary British painter who scandalized the art world with his intense grotesquely sexual yet beautiful oil paintings paired with his well-known penchant for sleazy homosexual encounters with rough trade. Yes Francis Bacon was definitely a bottom and Derek Jacobi plays him fearlessly as a man who isn’t at all afraid of expressing his sexual depravity:

“When I went into the house of pleasure, I didn’t stay in the room where they celebrate acceptable modes of loving in the bourgeois style. I went into the rooms which are kept secret and I leaned and lay on their beds. I went into the rooms which are kept secret which they consider it shameful even to name. But there is no such shame for me because then, what sort of poet, and what sort of artist would I be?”
-Francis Bacon, ‘Love Is The Devil’

So where does Daniel Craig feature in all this artsy-fartsy sexual psychodrama? Well he plays Bacon’s lover naturally. Late one night Francis discovers a man trying to rob him. That man turns out to be George Dyer, a working-class Brit and after a proposition of coming to his bed for ‘whatever he wants’ they become inseparable. Great way to meet a lover right? Well, that story is actually a myth, dreamt of by Bacon, but why not? It’s a better story than meeting in a pub which is where they actually did meet in real life. Dyer went on to become a muse for Francis and modeled for him several times.

The visuals in this movie are incredible! One of the coolest set-pieces is Francis Bacon’s studio. They actually re-created it inch-by-inch. It looks incredibly similar to the real-life studio. Also of note are the camera techniques to re-create Bacon-esque moving images. Also if all of that didn’t entirely convince you we’re also offering TILDA SWINTON! She’s great in it as always 🙂

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Watch ’em with:  Your muse.

Mix it with: The classic drink of tortured artists – Absinthe.

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New This Week – 8/18/17

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Writer-director John Maybury’s ‘Love is the Devil‘ offers a searing portrait of English painter Francis Bacon (Derek Jacobi). The film focuses on his tumultuous relationship with George Dyer (Daniel Craig), a younger small-time thief who Bacon treats as both rough trade and the ultimate artistic muse.

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Torn between two loves, a young man struggles to understand and accept his own desire. Watch ‘Amias’ now on Dekkoo!

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The worlds of a former neo-Nazi and the gay victim of his senseless hate crime attack collide by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both of their lives. They proceed to embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration…and friendship. ‘Facing Fear‘ was a nominee for the 86th Academy Awards in the Best Documentary Short Subject category.

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Coming next week: An achingly romantic new indie from a Filipino auteur!

New This Week – 7/28/17

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In ‘I Killed My Mother‘ a cute gay teen’s fiery relationship with his mother drives this audacious, comedic debut from 20-year-old writer-producer-director-star Xavier Dolan.

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In ‘Vito‘, filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz pays tribute to Vito Russo, a founding father of the gay liberation movement, author of “The Celluloid Closet,” and vociferous AIDS activist in the 1980s.

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A young drifter searches for a connection on the streets of Los Angeles, trying to understand his place in the world, and wondering who’ll remember him when he’s gone. Watch ‘The Happy Ones’ now on Dekkoo.com.

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Starring Big Brother contestant Will Wikle, ‘The Stillest Hour‘ is a twisted new take on the psycho-sexual thriller that explores the power of perception and reality.

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Coming next week: An Irish reality web series, following the lives of 7, 20-something, friends living in Barcelona.