New This Week – 10/13/17

This is the artwork for the comedy fim Elijah's Ashes

A hilarious dark comedy about the deep, loving bond that exists between brothers…even ones who despise one another. ‘Elijah’s Ashes‘ follows Lawrence, a somewhat lost gay man, who embarks on an unexpected family road trip with his gruff, homophobic older brother to scatter their father’s ashes.

This is the artwork for the gay short film collection Furious Desires from TLA Releasing

An apartment renter lusts after his doorman, a father comes to realize that his son is attracted to other boys, two horny men find themselves literally just beyond one another’s reach, a guy declares his attraction to his best friend and two young lovers go to great length to prove their affection in this stunning and supremely sexy new collection – featuring five award-winning short films that deals with the topic of desire in various forms. Watch ‘Furious Desires’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the artwork for the film In A Glass Cage

In the aftermath of WWII, a former Nazi doctor and child molester finds himself confined to an iron lung following a failed suicide attempt. Things get even worse when a mysterious, handsome young man, hired to be his caretaker, is discovered to be hellbent on revenge. An uncompromising psychosexual drama that’s erotic, painful and terrifying in equal measure, ‘In a Glass Cage‘ is a highly controversial classic.

This is the artwork for the gay short film Alle Werden

When Andreas’ close friend Samuel meets Philippe, a highly respected colleague, Andreas finds himself in the awkward and uncomfortable position of watching his best friend fall in love…again. Watch ‘Alle Werden’ now on Dekkoo.com!

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Coming next week: A homoerotic Evangelical exorcism film. Need we say more?

DEKKOO DISPATCH 039 – ‘IN A GLASS CAGE’

Title – ‘In a Glass Cage

Director – Agustí Villaronga

Starring – Günter Meisner, David Sust, Marisa Paredes, Gisèle Echevarría

Release Date – 1986

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Darkness. A house containing evil and secrets. Innocence lost. A desire for revenge and murder. ‘In a Glass Cage‘ takes no prisoners and instead marches onwards through its self-made carnage towards a delicate balancing of art-house sensibilities and an exploration of twisted humanity. In fact this film is so disturbing that even John Waters said, “I’m too scared to show it to my friends!”

Agustí Villaronga made the harrowing film in 1985 and partially based it on Gilles de Rais, a companion to Joan of Arc and a notorious and self-confessed murderer of children (supposedly in the hundreds!). Like Pasolini’s ‘Salo’, Villaronga decided to set his tale at the end of WWII and utilizes a Nazi as the twisted figure at the center of the film. The film starts without remorse with Klaus (our resident evil dude) taking photos of a boy hanging from a rope. He’s naked and bears the marks of repeated tortures (I never said this was an easy movie to watch!!). After dealing the killing blow to the young boy Klaus seems to have some sort of revelation and immediately runs up to the roof of the house and jumps. Meanwhile someone was watching the proceedings and steals Klaus’ scrapbook/diary of his evils.

Fast-forward a few years and we’ve found that Klaus, while still alive, is now living inside a large iron lung. A device that controls his breathing. Without it he dies. His wife (played by Almodovar regular Marisa Paredes) and young daughter have been taking care of him in a country house in Catalonia where they try and avoid the Nazi witch hunt taking place in the rest of the world that would surely condemn them. Suddenly an invader boldly infiltrates the house and locks the door where Klaus is kept. When the wife demands to be let in she finds Angelo, a brooding young man petitioning to become Klaus’ nurse. Much to her dismay Klaus insists that Angelo stay to be his nurse and we eventually find out that it’s because Angelo is the one that knows all of Klaus’ secrets.

What follows is a dangerous lesson in power dynamics and the nature of evil itself. The beginning is dramatic, the middle is disturbing, and the end of the film is incredibly hypnotic and moving.

Besides the fantastic acting and writing, the cinematography is really what stands out to me in this film. Jaume Peracaula has lensed almost all of Agustí Villaronga’s films and he manages to find a perfect balance between light and dark and most of all the color blue which I’m sure has some symbolic meaning that I can’t quite figure out (I’m being honest at least!). The transfer that we’ve brought to Dekkoo is the latest High Definition remaster which really is miles better than the old DVD that used to exist where you could barely make out what was happening in half of the film.

While the themes are difficult to handle I truly love this movie. Top 25 for sure! To me it seems like ‘Salo’ as directed by Dario Argento and Pedro Almodovar and I’m crazy excited that it’s finally here on Dekkoo where you can challenge yourself to Agustí Villaronga’s masterpiece.

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Watch it with: Probably just yourself.

Mix it with: Water.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 038 – ‘UN CHANT D’AMOUR’

Title – ‘Un chant d’amour’

Director – Jean Genet

Starring – Lucien Sénémaud, Bravo

Release Date – 1950

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Today on Dekkoo we’re featuring an early masterpiece of silent Queer Cinema: ‘Un chant d’amour‘ directed by the notorious criminal-literary queer Jean Genet. The 25-minute film was one of the first cinematic depictions of explicit homosexual desire and sexuality which therefore made it ripe for censorship by many governments around the world. The movie exists as a highly entertaining piece of art-cinema, an autobiography of Jean Genet, and a harrowing portrait of homosexuality in prisons.

I feel an introduction to Jean Genet is needed in order to appreciate this film as much as possible. He was a social rebel, a criminal queer, a playwright, and a writer of literature. His novels ranged the gamut from autobiographical tales of his time in the Mettray  Penal Colony lusting after fellow prisoners (“The Miracle of the Rose”) to fictionalized romancing of criminal queers (“Our Lady of the Flowers”) to tales of strong beautiful sailors who turn to criminal activities (“Querelle de Brest” – which Fassbinder later adapted into a movie in 1982 – his last movie before overdosing). His early life sounds like something out of a Christine Vachon-produced film. His mother was a prostitute who raised him for 7 months before dropping him off at an orphanage. While he grew up he excelled in getting into trouble and running away from home even though he had a supportive foster family. At 15 he got sent to a penal facility. At 18 he joined the army, but was later kicked out for getting caught having sex with men. After that his life consisted of wandering around Europe, getting into trouble and going to jail a bunch of times until he met Jean Cocteau who had taken a liking to his writings. When finally faced with life-in-prison due to being in prison 10 times – Jean Cocteau and other influential artists managed to convince the French President to pardon him. After that Jean Genet never went to prison again.

So let’s dig in to the film itself. ‘Un chant d’amour‘ is a silent film. Supposedly sponsored by wealthy French gays who wanted to add it to their porn collections the film starred Genet’s lover at the time, Lucien Sénémaud whose beauty he claimed, “harpooned me” and two other actors who we don’t know much about besides that one of them (the older prisoner) was a pimp named Bravo. The film has 3 central characters: A sexy 20-something prisoner with swagger, an older Arab prisoner in lust with his next-door neighbor, and a prison guard that acts as a jealous voyeur throughout the movie, constantly watching the prisoners interact. Of course because there’s a wall between the two would-be-lovers their interactions are limited to blowing smoke through a wall and swinging a bouquet of flowers outside their prison windows. Nothing stops them in their dreams though…

After it was screened in 1966 Sol Landau was indited by police in Berkeley, CA for screening an obscene piece of cinema. After fighting the case all the way up to the Supreme Court he ended up losing with a 5-4 ruling by the court. The Alamadea Superior Court claimed it, “explicitly and vividly revealed acts of masturbation, oral copulation, the infamous crime against nature [a euphemism for sodomy], voyeurism, nudity, sadism, masochism and sex…” and that it was “cheap pornography calculated to promote homosexuality, perversion and morbid sex practices”.

If you’re a self-proclaimed Queer Cinema nerd then ‘Un chant d’amour‘ is without a doubt a MUST-SEE. I’ll leave you with these words by Jim Clark who by my research has created the best article dedicated to ‘Un chant d’amour‘ out there, “Genet takes us places, invariably in the underworld of hustlers, thieves, murderers, and convicts, where most of us have never set foot; but even as he exposes their lives with excruciating fullness, he reveals – and celebrates – their/our common humanity.”

 

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Watch it with: One or two fellow film nerds.

Mix it with: A deep, dark, french wine.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 037 – ‘CENTER OF MY WORLD’

Title – ‘Center of My World’

Director – Jakob M. Erwa

Starring – Louis Hofmann, Jannik Schümann, Svenja Jung, Sabine Timoteo

Release Date – 2016

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It’s officially Fall now, but it feels like Spring over at Dekkoo because we’re in LOVEEEE!! ‘Center of My World‘ has officially arrived to Dekkoo hot off of its festival tour around the globe where it captivated the hearts and souls of thousands of people who got off their butts and went to their local LGBTQ Film Festival. But if you were lazy (or if you happened to be in South Dakota at the time) now exclusively on Dekkoo you can finally watch it a month before DVD!

The reason we’re so excited about this film here at Dekkoo is because it’s very rare in the realm of cinema to encounter a big budget, high-quality gay romance film. In fact we probably only get 2-4 per year if we’re lucky! ‘Center of My World‘ is exactly that.

„DIE MITTE DER WELT“

Based on the 1998 novel of the same name ‘Center of My World‘ follows Phil – your average out-of-the-closet German High School student (it’s 2016 don’t forget!) who’s just survived a summer of French Language Camp and wants nothing more than to horse around with his best friend Kat and his sister/twin Dianne until school starts back up. But after arriving home he finds his house/mansion (dubbed ‘Visible’) in disarray. A huge storm trashed his town and Glass (Phil’s mom refuses to be called ‘Mom’) and Dianne aren’t speaking to each other. Normally this is where Phil would figure out what the heck is going on, but thennnnn…

„DIE MITTE DER WELT“

Yeah. This guy shows up on the first day of school. Hey you’d be incredibly distracted too! Thus Phil gets flung into a fling with the man-of-his-dreams (and the rest of ours…) named Nicolas. Nicolas is everything Phil wants, tall, gorgeous, muscular, outgoing, and most importantly: a top! But seriously these two guys have the most amazing chemistry together. I can’t remember the last time I watched a gay film where the leads seemed this flawlessly attractive. It’s mildly distracting sometimes. I’ve seen it three times and sometimes I just get lost in their eyes……. Damn I’m doing it again!

„DIE MITTE DER WELT“

The film doesn’t solely focus on the romantic angle the whole time and does circle back around to the family dynamic between Phil, Dianne, and Glass. There’s a lot of hurt in the family paired with an avoidance of truth especially on Glass’ part which makes for great cinema.

If you like the film (we think you’ll LOVE it) please tell your friends about it and let them know that Dekkoo is the only place to see it online. Next month it will also be available to own on DVD and Blu-ray.

Danke and good night!

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Watch it with: Everyone! Your friends, your neighbors, your mom!

Mix it with: Wine all around! Maybe a German Riesling perhaps?

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