DEKKOO DISPATCH 032 – ‘FOLLOW ME’ AND ‘LOVE IS THE DEVIL’

Title – ‘Love Is The Devil

Director – John Maybury

Starring – Derek Jacobi, Daniel Craig, Tilda Swinton, Anne Lambton

Release Date – 1998

Title – ‘Follow Me

Director – Anthony Schatteman

Starring – Ezra Fieremans, Maarten Ketels, Lien Maes

Release Date – 2015

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“I feel ever so strongly that an artist must be nourished by his passions and his despairs. These things alter an artist whether for the good or the better or the worse. It must alter him. The feelings of desperation and unhappiness are more useful to an artist than the feeling of contentment, because desperation and unhappiness stretch your whole sensibility.”
-Francis Bacon

Well hey there and welcome to tortured-artist-Wednesday! Today we’ve got two movies that focus on angsty artists in love or at least lust.

Follow Me‘ is the short yet touching story of a young artist struggling to figure out if the man of his affections is also the man of his dreams. Shot in fragments we see Jasper honing his craft in the classroom and his studio, working in a bathhouse, following his teacher around town, and having sex with said teacher. The incredible score really elevates this quietly shot short film to transcendent heights and makes the mind wander through issues of love, homophobia, and loyalty. Plus it helps that both characters are superrrr cute.

Speaking of cute look which famous handsome man plays gay in ‘Love Is The Devil‘: DANIEL CRAIG! AHH! And he’s naked in it? Whoa.

But seriously ‘Love Is The Devil‘ is a heavy-duty bio-pic about Francis Bacon, a legendary British painter who scandalized the art world with his intense grotesquely sexual yet beautiful oil paintings paired with his well-known penchant for sleazy homosexual encounters with rough trade. Yes Francis Bacon was definitely a bottom and Derek Jacobi plays him fearlessly as a man who isn’t at all afraid of expressing his sexual depravity:

“When I went into the house of pleasure, I didn’t stay in the room where they celebrate acceptable modes of loving in the bourgeois style. I went into the rooms which are kept secret and I leaned and lay on their beds. I went into the rooms which are kept secret which they consider it shameful even to name. But there is no such shame for me because then, what sort of poet, and what sort of artist would I be?”
-Francis Bacon, ‘Love Is The Devil’

So where does Daniel Craig feature in all this artsy-fartsy sexual psychodrama? Well he plays Bacon’s lover naturally. Late one night Francis discovers a man trying to rob him. That man turns out to be George Dyer, a working-class Brit and after a proposition of coming to his bed for ‘whatever he wants’ they become inseparable. Great way to meet a lover right? Well, that story is actually a myth, dreamt of by Bacon, but why not? It’s a better story than meeting in a pub which is where they actually did meet in real life. Dyer went on to become a muse for Francis and modeled for him several times.

The visuals in this movie are incredible! One of the coolest set-pieces is Francis Bacon’s studio. They actually re-created it inch-by-inch. It looks incredibly similar to the real-life studio. Also of note are the camera techniques to re-create Bacon-esque moving images. Also if all of that didn’t entirely convince you we’re also offering TILDA SWINTON! She’s great in it as always 🙂

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Watch ’em with:  Your muse.

Mix it with: The classic drink of tortured artists – Absinthe.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 031 – ‘AMIAS’ AND ‘TOMCAT’

Title – ‘Tomcat

Director – Handl Klaus

Starring – Lukas Turtur, Philipp Hochmair

Release Date – 2016

Title – ‘Amias

Director – John Giordano

Starring – Joren Seldeslachts, Celine Verbeeck, Marco Bellusci

Release Date – 2013

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Heya! It’s a great week on Dekkoo as we’ve added ‘Tomcat‘, a brilliant, beautiful, and moving portrait of a gay relationship at the edge – so to speak. It won the Teddy award for best feature film in 2016 and in a little bit I’ll talk more about the Teddy in case you’re unfamiliar with it.

But first! It’s always good to start with a short film before diving into the main course and this week we’re bringing you ‘Amias‘ from John Girodano. It’s a lyrical short film that deals with one man’s confusion between the woman he cares for and the man he loves. The music in the film really takes you on a meaningful journey through his splintered mind and it’s the perfect set-up to the intense relationship drama of ‘Tomcat‘.

Tomcat‘ comes to us from Austria. Written and directed by Handl Klaus ‘Tomcat‘ delves into the relationship between Andreas and Stefan. It seems they have everything: money, friends, love, but one day everything they took for granted comes tumbling down after an act of random violence changes the dynamic of their relationship. I don’t want to reveal what the act of violence is, but it proves that even small amounts of hurt can become amplified beyond control.

Since I can’t really delve into the film dynamics due to spoilers it’s the perfect time to talk about a prestigious award you might not know much about – The Teddy. Every year during the Berlinale festival the best LGBTQ feature, short, and documentary films are awarded grand prizes by an independent jury that solely focuses on the queer films presented at the Berlinale. Started in 1987 by Wieland Speck (current president of the Panorama section of Berlinale) and Manfred Salzgeber (filmmaker and founder of Edition Salzgeber – a German film distribution company) the Teddy award is now the most famous prize for a queer film at a major film festival. Since its inception it’s awarded prizes to many now-famous filmmakers like Todd Haynes, Pedro Almodovar, Gus Van Sant, and Francois Ozon.

At Dekkoo we have quite a few Teddy award-winners – ‘In The Name Of‘, ‘Raging Sun, Raging Sky‘, ‘Absent‘, and ‘The Bubble‘ just to name a few! You can check out the full list of winners here.

Enjoy!

 

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Watch ’em with:  A lover you can cry with.

Mix it with: Lots of alcohol.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 027 – ‘PROTEUS’ AND ‘TONIGHT IT’S ME’

Title – ‘Proteus

Director – John Greyson, Jack Lewis

Starring – Brett Goldin, Jeroen Kranenburg, Rouxnet Brown, Tessa Jubber

Release Date – 2003

Title – ‘Tonight It’s Me

Director – Dominic Haxton

Starring – Neil Elliot, Caleb James, Christian Patrick, Jake Robbins

Release Date – 2014

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In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve added another one of Dominic Haxton’s brilliant short films to Dekkoo. ‘Tonight It’s Me‘ stars Jake Robbins who appears in 2 of Dominic’s other films (to be added in the future!) and is also the star in Robert Hawk’s super sexy short ‘Home From The Gym‘. In ‘Home’ Jake felt far away and objectified. Here he feels merely objectified which isn’t bad for us! But seriously, in ‘Tonight’ we actually get to know more of what makes a muscled hustler like him tick.

The films starts off with CJ (Jake Robbins) dealing with one his usual ‘johns’; A fat older man who can’t stop insulting him and making his life miserable. Later on CJ stops off at a new trick’s house, Ash, who with his effeminate manner and his openness about sexuality and gender strikes a chord within CJ and he begins to open up more than he has with others in the past. The film is a masterpiece in subtle characterization and the hot interplay between the two main characters is the icing on top.

At Dekkoo we’re really proud to bring queer classics to the platform and John Greyson’s ‘Proteus‘ is one of those. Greyson has been a pioneering voice in the realm of queer cinema ever since hitting it big with the HIV/AIDS musical ‘Zero Patience’ back in 1993. His signature style of Derek Jarman-esque experimental narratives mixed with historical context and a few musical numbers thrown in for good measure combine to create significant works of cinematic art that still makes the festival and art-house cinema rounds to this day.

Proteus‘ was written and co-directed with Jack Lewis and concerns two men who were SPOILER ALERT! executed for sodomy in 1735 in South Africa. Normally I hate spoilers, but this is a historical film and it’s important to understand a little bit about history in order to grasp the subtle nuances throughout the film. Furthering the issue at the time was that they were a bi-racial couple.

Claas Blank and Rijkhaart Jacobsz are the two men at the heart of this story. Both of them are prisoners on Robben Island (an island on the west coast of Cape Town where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years of his prison term). Claas is a Khoi, a native of southwestern Africa and Rijkhaart is from the Netherlands whose government had control over the so-called ‘Cape Dutch’ area until 1795 when the British stepped in. A botanist named Virgil realizes that Claas has a deep knowledge of the South African flora and puts him in charge of the prison garden. Rijkhaart becomes one of his helpers and then eventually his lover. At first their relationship is joked about and ignored, but eventually simmering tensions between some of the other prisoners and the guards becomes too much to ignore.

Greyson combines this intimate historical drama with fun quirks such as incorporating modern technology like typewriters complete with busybody secretaries that give us historical context for courtroom scenes. The scenes towards the end of the film are of course saddening, but this is the 18th century and it would be dishonest to present a ‘happily-ever-after’ scenario.

If you like this film stay tuned because there will definitely be more classic queer gems like this one to grace Dekkoo in the future!

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Watch ’em with:  A friend or two who like historical dramas.

Mix it with: A white wine.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 008 – ‘THE BUBBLE’

Title – ‘The Bubble

Director – Eytan Fox

Starring – Ohad Knoller, Yousef Sweid, Daniela Virtzer, Alon Friedman

Release Date – September 7, 2007

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Alright last week was light and sexy. This week I’d like to challenge you to watch a film that has more than shirtless boys at the center of its conflict (although they are present, don’t worry). For years conflict has plagued the Middle East, but throughout all of it there’s always been a strong spirit of life from the people that live there. No other film shows the intensity of the spirit of fun and being yourself throughout conflict than ‘The Bubble‘.

Eytan Fox (who also helmed the classic films ‘Yossi & Jagger’ and ‘Yossi’) returns to show the story of three best friends living in Tel Aviv together whose lives are changed forever by the presence of Ashraf, a Palestinian. Noam, a handsome Israeli soldier, falls head over heels for Ashraf and decides to conceal him in their bohemian apartment. He manages to get him a job and even bring him to parties. But eventually he’s recognized as a Palestinian and the pressure of his past family life threatens everyone.

The movie completely succeeds in both its portrait of youth living in the city of Tel Aviv (the gayest and most liberal city in Israel), but also its depiction of the angst that lies deep within the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Don’t expect a happy ending, but also don’t expect an entirely hopeless ending. Wars can end, but they only end when we all embrace each other and come to understand each other.

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Watch it with: Anyone who hasn’t seen this gay classic! Especially
someone who’s a bit clueless about the Middle East.

Mix it with: Manischewitz wine and hummus!

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