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!

DEKKOO DISPATCH 028 – ‘VITO’

Title – ‘Vito

Director – Jeffrey Schwartz

Release Date – 2011

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Today we at Dekkoo are paying tribute to Vito Russo: activist, author, academic, film fanatic, and most importantly a friend and father-figure to every LGBTQ member of our community. Jeffrey Schwartz’s 2011 film ‘Vito‘ is a stirring tribute to this legendary trailblazer of queer cinema and HIV/AIDS activism.

Growing up and browsing the shelves at Blockbuster I’d always walk by a tattered old looking DVD entitled ‘The Celluloid Closet’. Once I finally had made my way through most of the sexy films I’d been dying to rent I finally checked it out one night. The amount of queer stories that had to be hidden underneath various guises through time was sobering of what I had been accustomed to given my young age. ‘The Celluloid Closet’ was based on Vito Russo’s novel of the same name published in 1981 with the subtitle “Homosexuality in the Movies”. It woke people up to queer tropes like the predatory lesbian and the sissy homosexual. Vito truly believed that these tropes were perpetuating the oppression of gay people and that media needed to change in order for society to change. Vito wasn’t just sitting at home writing though. He went on college tours lecturing about his work and about queer cinema in general.

After publishing ‘The Celluloid Closet’ Vito Russo went on to form the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. That’s right, Vito Russo formed GLAAD! They’re the ones that to this day keep a very close eye on everything happening in media around the world and hold them accountable for their actions. And as much as I get annoyed with how much they hit me up for cash, they’ve done some great stuff like issuing a Studio Responsibility Index that ranks the major Hollywood studios by the quantity, quality, and content of LGBTQ representation in the films they produce.

Vito also left a big imprint on HIV/AIDS activism in the 80s through his involvement in the Gay Activists Alliance & ACT UP, his creation of a gay TV series called ‘Our Time’, and his participation in the 1989 Academy Award-winning documentary ‘Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt’. He told the story of his lover Jeffrey Sevcik who passed away from his battle with AIDS. The directors of ‘Our Time’ are Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman. Besides directing masterpieces like ‘The Times of Harvey Milk’ and ‘Word is Out’ they also were the ones to lovingly direct ‘The Celluloid Closet’ after Vito had passed away from his own battle with AIDS.

I’ve left you with a very basic skeleton of what Vito Russo did with his life, but when you watch ‘Vito‘ you’ll actually see his whole body and hopefully see even deeper.

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Watch it with:  A group of friends who appreciate gay heroes!

Mix it with: Beers!

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 021 – ‘OUT IN THE DARK’ AND ‘VICTORY DAY’

Title – ‘Out In The Dark

Director – Michael Mayer

Starring – Nicholas Jacob, Michael Aloni, Jameel Khouri, Alon Pdut

Release Date – September 27, 2013

Title – ‘Victory Day

Director – Alina Rudnitskaya

Release Date – 2014

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Happy #Covfefe day everyone! Today I want to feature two films that highlight the struggle of Non-U.S. attitudes towards LGBTQ rights and the people that have the bravery to stand up for love.

The short documentary ‘Victory Day‘ is a really touching look inside the lives of 6 LGBTQ couples living in Russia – a country that has time and time again refused to accept LGBTQ people as normal citizens. While homosexual sex was decriminalized in 1993, there are still no laws on the books that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ citizens, meaning you can still be fired from a job or kicked out of your apartment. It’s also illegal to expose children to anything other than heterosexual relationships in books, movies, textbooks, etc. Since that law passed in 2013 (here we call it the ‘gay propaganda law’) there have been numerous arrests and censoring of Hollywood movies like the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

The short film goes into depth with the 6 couples about how they got together, their struggles with family, friends, and co-workers, and their views on the current political climate. The beginning of the short is definitely a bit chilling with the juxtaposition of Russia’s Victory Day celebrations consisting of tanks and soldiers with discussions of how long the couples have been dating, but overall it’s an uplifting journey because of the bravery of all 6 couples. If you’re curious about how normal LGBTQ people live their lives in Russia this is the doc for you.

Now we shift from Russia to Israel, a country that is unique in the Middle East for being very accepting of LGBTQ people. While you can’t marry inside the country you can be married somewhere else and then Israel will recognize that marriage. You can also adopt and anti-discrimination policies have been passed. However ‘Out in the Dark‘ decides to focus on the interplay of sexuality and politics between Israel and Palestine. The movie has a great combination of sexiness, political intrigue, and thrilling action.

The movie focuses on a cute, young Palestinian named Nimer. He studies Psychology and travels to Tel Aviv for his studies. His friend Mustafa introduces him one night to a ridiculously sexy Israeli lawyer named Roy. The differences between them are numerous – wealth, privilege, and citizenship to name just a few. But as in all the great romance movies they fall in love despite everything. Unfortunately things get complicated once
Mustafa gets caught by his Palestinian friends for being queer which then suggests Nimer might be queer as well. One of the most intriguing/disturbing facts about this film is it’s portrayal of how crossing over a simple border can completely change how society views you. You can be celebrated in Israel, but killed in Palestine.

However all seriousness aside, ‘Out in the Dark‘ is a stunner of a film. It played at almost every single LGBTQ film festival and has gotten rave reviews. It’s packed full of romance and action and it’s just an awesome film. Watch it tonight!

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Watch ’em with: Your friends who have no clue what’s happening outside of Rupaul’s Drag Race.

Mix it with: Russian Vodka.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 009 – ‘BORN THIS WAY’

Title – ‘Born This Way

Director – Shaun Kadlec, Deb Tullmann

Release Date – June 21, 2013

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I really love it when there’s a queer documentary I’ve never heard of that can blow me away with it’s absolutely universal message of the importance of acceptance from places I’m completely unfamiliar with, like Cameroon. I didn’t even know where Cameroon was in Africa before watching this doc (FYI it’s on the west coast just to the east of Nigeria). ‘Born This Way‘ premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and continued on to win Best
Documentary at Outfest Los Angeles back in 2013.

In Cameroon it’s still completely illegal to be ‘out and proud’. In fact it’s illegal to even be ‘out’. Same-sex sexual activity is punishable by either a fine and 5 years imprisonment and what’s even worse is that vigilante execution is technically allowed by law. Cameroon also boasts the scary statistic of the most arrests related to homosexuality than any other country in the world! Of course even though the situation is extremely grim, there’s a ray of light; Alternatives, the first LGBT center in Cameroon. Though many of the chosen subjects have to convey their stories in shadows or with blurred
faces you’ll still feel the power of their stories of persecution and their hopes for the future.

Also a plus: this doc is only 55 minutes, so your time will be well spent!

‘Born This Way’ is now available to watch on Dekkoo!

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Watch it with: Your politically-minded friends

Mix it with: Cardamom Tea (Popular in Cameroon!)

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