Marco Berger, the maverick Argentinian filmmaker behind Absent, Young Hunter, Taekwondo, The Blonde One and many more, turns his unparalleled eye for the male form to one of the world’s largest displays of masculine bodies- a traditional South American Carnival.
Using two men as our primary guides, we watch the men of the town prepare and, eventually participate, in parade like no other.
The sensual joy of watching the men of Gualeguaychú transform in to Dionysiac figures via costumes, glitter and feathers is the perfect canvas for Berger’s talents.
A visual, erotic feast for the senses, The Carnival is not to be missed.
Originally released in 1970, Dinah East tells the story of a glamourous movie starlet who is later revealed to be a trans woman.
In 1950s Hollywood, Dinah East (Jeremy Stockwell) fooled the world into believing he was a she – and became a glamorous movie diva on top of it. When she dies, the secret finally comes out. The film proceeds to tell the story of her relationships with friends and intimates – including a lesbian wardrobe designer, a gay matinee idol (with whom she had an affair), a protective lawyer and a washed up prize fighter who becomes her chauffeur.
Marketed at the time as “Hollywood’s strangest story,” Dinah East is a film that is deeply dated and problematic in many respects, but surprisingly far ahead of its time in others. Seen today, it’s an undeniably fascinating cult classic curio of a bygone era.
After a short, but celebrated run in theaters, the film seemingly disappeared, but has not been restored for modern audiences. Take a trip back fifty years and behold the lost LGBTQ+ classic Dinah East. The film is now available on Dekkoo.
Jim (played by Harris Dickinson – the star of Beach Rats and the upcoming The King’s Man) is so beautiful you might think a Greek sculpture had just come to life.
His future in the cultural-desert that is his small Cumbrian town would consist of working at the local nuclear power plant Sellafield, socializing at his local, and going to bingo as a treat. So like many before him, Jim journeys to the great Metropolis that is London to seek fame, fortune, culture and excitement. The epicenter of all this activity is of course Soho, with its bright neon lights, street life, and bars catering to every gender and whim.
From writer-director Steve McLean, Postcards From London tells the story of this remarkably beautiful teenager as falls in with The Raconteurs – a gang of unusual high class male escorts who specialize in post-coital conversation.
From shy novice to sought after escort and eventually artist’s muse, Jim would be the toast of the town if it wasn’t for his annoying affliction. He suffers from Stendhal Syndrome, a rare condition which causes him to hallucinate and faint when he encounters real works of art. But when Jim is roped into the world of detecting art forgery, could his condition bring about his downfall?
Hosted by iconic journalist Michael Musto, Theality TV is a brand-new reality show about an Off-Broadway musical’s efforts to see the light of day.
The series follows Rob Gould, a musical-loving writer-director who is trying to stage his piece “Little House on the Ferry.” After years of effort, his dreams may finally be coming true. An investor gives him a chance to produce the project, with two major catches: he only has one month and ten thousand dollars with which to work.
Even on this shoestring budget, Rob leaps at the opportunity to state his masterpiece. But it won’t be easy. The casting process is insane, the actors are divas, the crew is difficult and there is always another challenge or roadblock around each and every corner. But Rob is determined to make his dream a reality at any and all costs.
For about 25 years, Belgian choreographer Thierry Smits has asserted an artistic approach that is well off the beaten path, and frequently controversial.
Alternating pure dance productions with more performative pieces, his work explores our relationship to the body – as an object of desire, pleasure and finiteness – which Smits considers, today more than ever, as a political space, the only free territory left to us.
In Anima Ardens, based on the experience and singularity of each dancer, Smits creates a piece about the intuitiveness of the body and bodies together, reminiscent of the evolution of a hurricane which, starting from nothing, attains wild strength, both violent and fascinating, before dissipating and returning to silence.
In between breathtaking dance sequences, the revealing new documentary Bare reveals the artistic collaboration and conflict between Smits and his company – eleven male dancers performing nude – as they build this new avant-garde piece steeped in dark, primal energy and ritual.
With the creation they address questions of body politics, gender, censorship and taboo aesthetics. A creative exploration of the underrepresentation of the naked male form in performing arts, the film documents the arduous process of auditioning, rehearsing and opening Anima Ardens.
Watch the trailer for Bare below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.
The Circuit is a new digital series that explores the underground circuit community through the personal lives of different players within the scene.
The cast of The Circuit – DJs, dancers, a party producer and an adult entertainer – take us on a wild ride through the inner workings of the New York City gay dance party subculture.
Explore the eponymous “circuit” parties as the cast juggle career, love and the thrilling events themselves until a global pandemic and a series of unfortunate decisions turns their world on its head.
Featuring Nina Flowers, Sam Gee, Joe Pacheco, Jake Resnicow, Dan De Leon, Alec Brian, Ian Frost, Shane Jackson, Shane Marcus, Manuel Skye, Ugene, Trey Sherman, Darius Glover and more, The Circuit offers a frank look at a thrilling LGBTQ+ subculture.
Watch the trailer for The Circuit below. The first season is now available on Dekkoo.
A voyeuristic, behind-the-scenes look as celebrated choreographer Thierry Smits and his team go through the auditions, rehearsals and eventual premiere of his controversial dance piece Anima Ardens. ‘Bare’ is available now to stream on Dekkoo!
The new dance documentary When the Beat Drops invites you to drop into the electric and subversive underground dance scene known as bucking.
As voguing exploded out of the ballroom scene of NYC, bucking was boldly pioneered in the clubs of the Deep South as a new form of self-expression.
When the Beat Drops presents a fresh glimpse into the magnetic artistry and flair behind this emerging dance culture.
In his feature debut, famed choreographer and filmmaker Jamal Sims – who has worked with the likes of Madonna and Jennifer Lopez, and appeared countless times as a judge and choreographer on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” – illuminates the warm-hearted and fierce queer black performers who make up one of the leading “bucking” groups in the city of Atlanta.
As they train for their biggest competition yet, they face the risk of losing their jobs and family to compete at the top levels of this dance scene.
Jamal Sims calls dance a “super power,” and with this film he crafts a vision of the power of dance to bring movement to new heights and elevate the queer community.
Produced in 1967, this amazing 22-minute short film introduces us to four transwomen who are subjected to a six-month psychological project and then grilled about their personal lives. This unique exploitation documentary offers a rare and provocative glimpse into pre-Stonewall queer life. ‘Queens At Heart’ is available now on Dekkoo!
Knowing your queer history is essential, and the award-winning ‘When The Beat Drops’ offers an immersive deep-dive inside the growing culture of bucking—an energetic, hyper-athletic, dance phenomenon cultivated by queer people of color in the Deep South. Watch ‘When the Beat Drops’ on Dekkoo!
Jesse, a mixed race transgender teen, arrives from Switzerland for a cross-country road trip with her estranged father Marcus. They strike a weighty deal, one with serious repercussions for their relationship and their trip. ‘Jesse’ is now playing on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: Arturo and Alessandro have been a couple for 15 years. When their friend leaves her children in their care, their tired routine is turned upside down.
For contemporary LGBT viewers, Queens at Heart offers a vivid and compelling lens on how far we have come as a movement while also giving a deep (and wildly entertaining) understanding of what it was like to be transgender at a very different time in history. There are very few filmed images by or about LGBT people before the Stonewall Riots of 1969. There were especially few portrayals of trans lives and experience in this era. The two other films that come to mind from this period are: the remarkable feature documentary, The Queen (1968) and the short documentary portrait of an African American trans woman, Behind Every Good Man (1967). (While the 1970 dramatic feature, The Christine Jorgenson Story is at least somewhat well intended, it primarily comes across as lurid and sensationalist.)
Produced in New York City in 1967, this amazing 22-minute short introduces us to Misty, Vicky, Sonya and Simone — four courageous trans women who candidly discuss their personal lives with a lurid male interviewer who claims to have spoken to “thousands of homosexuals” (and who clearly doesn’t understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity). The film offers an extremely rare and poignant glimpse into pre-Stonewall queer life as it takes us to a New York City drag ball and follows the women through their daily lives. They talk about their double-lives — going out as women at night but living as men during the day, and about how they take hormones and dream of “going for a change.” One talks about avoiding the draft, another about her fiancé and another about the torment of childhood as an effeminate youth.
“We know that homosexuality is a psychological aberration that should be treated,” proclaims the interviewer as the film ends. Shifting to a surprisingly sympathetic tone he then concludes with the provocative challenge, “but what about those who don’t want to change? Who are we to judge?” This flip-flop perfectly encapsulates the film’s schizophrenic combination of attitudes as it alternates between luridness and validation, judgment and empathy.
Of course it is extremely significant for us to be able to look back and see this rare portrait of four wonderful trans women being so candid and courageous in the years before Stonewall. Queens at Heart is especially remarkable for how candid and brave the women are in expressing themselves so vulnerably when we can tell that the film was produced more as an exploitation film than as a serious documentary.
As a film historian and archivist I’ve unearthed many films over the years. Queens at Heart is the most significant on every level. It is a film that had been essentially lost to us — with nothing having previously been written about it in LGBT film literature. As a glimpse at pre-Stonewall queer life it is remarkable: from the wonderful footage of the drag balls and gay men dancing together to the provocative interviews with transgender women which are truly jaw-dropping in their candor. The power of this film for bringing us face to face with our forebears (and queer life in 1967) is absolutely incredible, and the film is of even greater interest in this era of increased trans awareness and activism.
Queens at Heart is a tremendously valuable archival portrait of pre-Stonewall trans women — their candor and courage are a true gift and this is a must-see film for anyone interested in transgender history.
About Jenni Olson: Jenni Olson is an LGBT film historian, archivist and filmmaker based in Berkeley, California. Her work as a film historian includes the Lambda Award nominated The Queer Movie Poster Book (Chronicle Books, 2005) and her many vintage movie trailer presentations (Homo Promo, Trailer Camp, etc.). She is on the Advisory Board of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project for LGBT Moving Image Preservation.