Adapted by playwright Martin Sherman from his groundbreaking play of the same name, Bent employs an impressive cast of familiar faces to tell a painful personal story about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.
In 1930s Berlin, Max (Clive Owen) sleeps with German SA officer Wolf (future “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), only to see him killed by his fellow Nazis the next morning as part of the “Night of the Long Knives.”
Refusing an offer of new papers from his Uncle Freddie (Ian McKellen) for fear of leaving his boyfriend Rudy (Brian Webber) behind, Max and Rudy are found by the Gestapo, to whom Max lies about his homosexuality and his relationship. He is soon sent to Dachau, where he meets and falls in love with Horst (Lothaire Bluteau), who shows him the dignity that lies in acknowledging one’s beliefs, even in the face of incomprehensible persecution.
Originally staged as a Royal Court production in 1979, starring Ian McKellen and Tom Bell, which later transferred to the West End, Bent earned major acclaim right out of the gate. Richard Gere played Max in the original 1980 Broadway production. In 1989, Sean Mathias, the film’s director, helmed a revival of the play, performed as a one-night benefit for Stonewall, featuring Ian McKellen, Richard E Grant, Ian Charleson and Ralph Fiennes. After receiving critical acclaim, Mathias directed a full, award-winning run in 1990 – priming him to head up the film adaptation to come.
Also co-starring Mick Jagger, Jude Law, Rupert Graves, Paul Bettany, Sadie Frost and Rachel Weisz, Bent is an unparalleled gay classic that deserves to be seen. Released in 1997, the film has long been unavailable… until now. Bent is currently streaming on Dekkoo.
The indie drama Tiger Orange follows Chet (Mark Strano) and Todd (Frankie Valenti, better known to some fans as gay adult film superstar Johnny Hazzard), two estranged gay brothers who grew up in a small town in Central California to a homophobic, working class single father.
Now adults, the two could not have turned out more differently. Chet, the older brother, runs the family hardware store and still lives in their childhood home where he’s cared for their ailing father until his recent death. Todd ran off to Los Angeles at eighteen and never looked back. He’s burned the candle at both ends his entire life and now homeless, with no cash, he heads back up the coast to the home and the brother he left behind.
The surprise visit shakes up Chet’s safe and guarded life and the two of them living under one roof becomes a recipe for disaster. Soon Todd is stirring up trouble in town with his sexual misadventures and in-your-face bravado and Chet struggles to keep him in check while slowly unraveling himself.
As their long-simmering resentments boil to the surface, the brothers are forced to not only hash out their differences but begin to examine the common bond they never truly acknowledged.
Director, Wade Gasque, produced and co-wrote the film with Strano, his longtime partner. Strano won the Outfest 2014 Grand Jury Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film. Speaking about his motivation for making Tiger Orange, Gasque said “I have a handful of gay sibling friends and I’ve always been fascinated by their stories but I’ve never seen a movie about them. What was it like growing up together? Does it make the experience less isolating?”
Taking about casting beloved porn star Johnny Hazzard, credited here as Frankie Valenti, Gasque said ““This wasn’t some flashy, no-brainer kind of role. These brothers are broken and volatile. Frankie stretched himself. He put himself out there as an actor and showed real vulnerability. He took risks and I think his fans are going to be blown away by his performance.”
Started in the 1980s as a fabricated movement intended to ‘punk’ the punk scene, ‘Queercore’ quickly became a real-life cultural community of LGBTQ music and movie-making revolutionaries.
From the start of the pseudo-movement to the widespread rise of pop artists who used queer identity to push back against gay assimilation and homophobic punk culture, the poignant new documentary Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution is just that: a how-to-do-it guide for the next generation of queer radicals.
Directed by Yony Leyser, this doc features an impressively extensive participant list Included are Bruce LaBruce, G.B. Jones, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, John Waters, Justin Vivian Bond, Lynn Breedlove, Silas Howard, Pansy Division, Penny Arcade, Kathleen Hanna, Kim Gordon, Deke Elash, Tom Jennings, Team Dresch, and many, many more.
A young man involved in a love affair that will change his life for ever, while his lover wrestles his demons on a journey that will force him to come to terms with his sexuality, leaving lives destroyed in the wake. ‘Soft Lad’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
Featuring interviews with John Waters, Rick Castro, Harmony Korine, Gus Van Sant and more, this riveting documentary celebrates the life and career of transgressive filmmaker and Queercore icon Bruce LaBruce, the man behind hardcore gay hits like L.A. Zombie, Hustler White, The Raspberry Reich and The Misandrists. ‘The Advocate for Fagdom’ is now available on Dekkoo!
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.