Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573-1610) was the last, perhaps the greatest, and certainly the most controversial painter of the Italian Renaissance. The late great Derek Jarman’s stylishly bold tribute to the violative artist features Nigel Terry as Caravaggio, a bad-boy of Italian aristocracy who scandalized the established order with his faintly erotic paintings of often naked saints modeled by prostitutes and street urchins.
Jarman portrays Caravaggio as a man of intense passions – artistically, emotionally and physically – who was also bisexual, with a taste for “rough trade.” Sean Bean, long before his turn as Ned Stark on “Game of Thrones,” co-stars as the bisexual Ranuccio, the artist’s rugged lover. Jarman’s regular muse, the incomparable Tilda Swinton, is also on hand as Lena, the beautiful mistress who comes between these two men.
A quirky yet elegant film, blending anachronistic playfulness (a technique Jarman would use again in Edward II, also available now on Dekkoo) with a touching homoerotic love story, spectacular camera work and a complex, impressionistic feel, Caravaggio is a unique cinematic pleasure. Jarman spent seven years preparing for the film. When the actual production began, he made it in only five weeks – all in one single warehouse at the East End of London.
Derek Jarman delivers a retelling of the life of the celebrated 17th-century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld. Watch ‘Caravaggio’ now on Dekkoo!
James, a sexy, youthful sought-after instagram star in high-society and self-proclaimed ‘Trophy,’ is dumped by his wealthy live-in benefactor. Now he must learn that the real world is not the facade he’s built for himself on social media. Stream the award-winning short film ‘Trophy Boy’ on Dekkoo!
As 19-year-old Bennett Wallace navigates early sobriety, late adolescence, and the evolution of his gender identity, his mother makes her own transformation from resistance to acceptance of her trans son. ‘Real Boy’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: A wicked ensemble comedy about a group of gay, lesbian and hetero friends and family connected by secrets and lies.
Back in 1991, Christopher Marlowe’s notorious 16th century play was radically adapted into a gay cinema masterpiece by late, great queer auteur Derek Jarman.
Using anachronistic imagery, modern dress, gay activists battling riot police and Annie Lennox singing Cole Porter, Edward IItells the story of an openly gay British monarch and the persecution he suffered. It’s given a contemporary resonance by Jarman, paralleling the injustice of homophobia at the time.
King Edward II (Stephen Waddington) rejects his cold wife Queen Isabella (Tilda Swinton) and takes a male lover, the commoner Piers Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan) upon whom he bestows gifts and power. The King’s behavior enrages the sober, business-suited court officials and the spurned queen becomes a seething monster whose dresses and jewelry grow more outrageously lavish as her need to vengeance escalates and the plotting begins.
Edward II is a prime example of “New Queer Cinema” – the indie film movement of the early 1990s. Jarman reworked Marlowe’s play into a homoerotic, sexually charged, radically relevant work. Graphic, brutal, moving, surprisingly funny and always erotic, the film blends prose with contemporary jargon and costumes, replete with positive portrayals of queer sex, profanity and ACT- UP activists.
Brilliant, daring and innovative, Edward II showcases gay cinema at its finest. It’s not streaming on Dekkoo.
‘Dating My Mother’ follows the intimate and tumultuous relationship between a single mother and her gay son as they navigate the dizzying world of online dating. While they search for their versions of Mr. Right, mother and son discover that sometimes you need to be apart in order to grow together. Watch ‘Dating My Mother’ now on Dekkoo!
Using anachronistic imagery, modern dress and gay activists battling riot police the story of Britain’s only openly gay monarch and the persecution he suffered is given a contemporary resonance by queer iconoclast Derek Jarman. ‘Edward II’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
Artist Paul Harfleet’s family had always accepted his sexuality, but it was a different story outside the home. Like many young gay people, he regularly faced abuse. So, like any artist worth his salt, he turned that trauma into something brilliant: The Pansy Project.
Harfleet plants pansies at sites where some form of homophobic abuse has taken place. He’ll go to the location, find the nearest source of soil and (generally without civic permission – ssshhh!) plants one unmarked pansy. The flower is then photographed (beautifully, we might add), uploaded to his website, given a title inspired by the abuse. Titles like “Let’s kill the Bati-Man!” and “Fucking Faggot!” reveal a frequent reality of the gay experience, which often goes unreported to authorities and by the media in certain parts of the world.
This simple action operates as a gesture of quiet resistance. Some pansies flourish, while others wilt. The artist began by planting pansies to mark his own experience of homophobia on the streets of Manchester, but now he plants them for others both on an individual basis and as part of various festivals and events.
Harfleet has visited cities all over Europe. To date, he has planted almost 300 individual pansies. His photographs have been exhibited internationally in Berlin, Paris, London and his hometown of Manchester, where the project began.
Following Harfleet as he brings the project to France for the first time, the new documentary Pansyis now streaming on Dekkoo. From Paris to Marseille, via Lille, Strasbourg and Avignon, Harfleet goes searching for testimonies and exposes the prejudices and discrimination gay people still face.
Check out the trailer for Pansybelow and make sure to watch the full film on Dekkoo.
This documentary chronicles Madonna’s controversial 1990 “Blonde Ambition” international tour. The film is a behind-the-scenes look at Madonna’s relationships with her dancers and crew, her then-boyfriend Warren Beatty, and her family and friends, achieving an intimate glimpse into the boundary-pushing singer’s drive and individuality. ‘Madonna: Truth or Dare” is now available on Dekkoo!
On the holiest night during the month of Ramadan, Mo, a practicing Muslim reluctantly attends his best friend’s birthday party, where he unexpectedly meets Kal, a 30-year-old all-American white guy, who catches him by surprise with each twist and turn through the streets of Los Angeles. ‘Breaking Fast’ is now available to stream on Dekkoo.
Coming next week: “Shimmeringly beautiful and utterly real.” – Stephen Holden, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Truth or Dare is coming to Dekkoo starting July 12!
An up close and personal documentary chronicling Madonna’s unforgettable 1990 “Blond Ambition Tour,” Truth or Dare has become legendary, taking us backstage and under the covers with the music and pop culture icon. This film showed the Queen of Pop as never before – as not only a singer, dancer, sex goddess and savvy businesswoman, but as a den mother to her backup dancers.
Madonna’s dancers were almost all gay, and showed their sexual identity in the tour film (greatly encouraged by Madonna’s desire for them to ‘express themselves’).
At the height of the AIDS epidemic and in the aftermath of the conservative Reagan era, Truth or Dare introduced audiences to fun-loving, bold and larger-than-life gay characters. The film was ground-breaking, featuring two guys kissing passionately and everyone else talking openly.
Madonna, determined to push the envelope, defended the film ferociously: “If you keep putting something in people’s faces, eventually, maybe they can come to terms with it.” The message stuck: even today, the dancers receive thank-you letters from people around the world recalling how the film changed their lives. Their openness turned out to be an inspiration to many.
Truth or Dare makes its Dekkoo debut on July 12. Whether you’ve seen it before or not, make sure to check it out and cherish the magic.