DEKKOO DISPATCH 066 – ‘SHORT FILM ROUNDUP!’

Title – ‘Turn It Around

Director – Niels Bourgonje

Starring – Valentijn Avé, Tonko Bossen, Timo Dries, Faye Gunther

Release Date – 2017

Title – ‘Breath

Director – Margien Rogaar

Starring – Yannick de Waal, Moo Miero, Roeland Fernhout

Release Date – 2007

Title – ‘It Gets Better?

Director – Stephen Riscica

Starring – Gys de Villiers, Luka Fric, Samuel Ashkenazy, Adam Davenport

Release Date – 2016

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Three short films – Three snapshots of queer life at three different points in a gay man’s life. I’ve been focusing too much on features lately so this week I decided to take a glance backwards at some of the short films that have been added to Dekkoo’s catalog. I found three recent additions that speak of love at different stages in life and they’re all exquisitely crafted! I’d recommend starting from young to old. In this case from ‘Breath‘ to ‘Turn It Around‘ to ‘It Gets Better?‘.

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‘Breath’ is an heartwarming poetic coming-of-age short film from The Netherlands. Infused with a warmth you can only get from shooting on real film, ‘Breath‘ focuses its camera on 12-year old Erik. He’s fascinated by the world around him and constantly observes his surroundings with the remnants of child-like awe. His friend Sophie invites him to the beach where he meets her handsome and playful father. Clearly Sophie has a bit of a crush on Erik, but Erik has his eyes on her father. Margien Rogaar definitely has an eye for colors, occasionally flashing us with bright swatches of color reminiscent of scenes from ‘Beginners’ by Mike Mills. The whole film felt like falling into a dream for me – a dream that put me in the shoes of my childhood self and reminded me of what having a crush at that age was like.

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Ten years later in the same country Niels Bourgonje created ‘Turn It Around‘. A film set squarely in the post-‘It Gets Better’ world with the coming out process being awkward rather than difficult. In the short 15-year old Bram is attending a house party with his girl crazy friends. We can tell immediately that he’s your typical closeted gay teenager – lazily reacting to girls his friends point out as ‘hotties’. But then Bram spots Florian at the party and immediately falls for him. In the span of just ten minutes we’re witness to the beginning of a really adorable love story. If you can only watch one of these shorts make it this one! Soooo cute and heartfelt.

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Lastly we enter old age with ‘It Gets Better?‘. Getting older is something very few people (especially gay people!) want to happen to them. This feeling is programmed into us from a very young age where being attractive and youthful is prized above almost everything else. Slowly, but surely more narratives are changing that view point and ushering the values of old age corresponding to wisdom and insight into the cultural consciousness. In this short we meet an older man who’s watching an ‘It Gets Better’ video on the internet. In the video we see a teenager repeating the same monologue we’ve heard a million times before, but it’s affecting this man differently. Instead of being calmed by it he’s agitated by the teenager’s words. After drinking a heck of a lot of wine we finally hear what’s on his mind. Gys de Villiers (who is actually a pretty famous South African actor) is unbelievably compelling as the anonymous older gay man who tries to impart some of his wisdom (and melancholy) to a jaded modern culture.

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Watch it with: A friend or two!

Mix it with: A glass of white 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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DEKKOO DISPATCH 036 – ‘BOYS’

Title – ‘Boys’

Director – Mischa Kamp

Starring – Gijs Blom, Ko Zandvliet, Jonah Smulders, Ton Kas

Release Date – 2014

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Monday of next week we’re releasing one of the sexiest gay romantic films of 2017, ‘Center of My World‘ almost a month before it hits DVD! To prepare you for the insane sexiness you’ll be checking out next week I thought a small appetizer would be a good idea to ‘whet’ your appetite.

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Boys‘ is a captivating coming-of-age/romance from the Netherlands. Originally produced as a TV movie it was so well-made that the producers were able to expand its reach to theaters in the Netherlands and eventually it made it’s way to other countries as well. Could it be because of the two incredibly good looking leads? Gijs Blom & Ko Zandvliet are extremely magnetic by themselves, but together they present a vision of what young gay love really will look like in the future.

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Sieger lives with his father and brother. It quick becomes apparent that Sieger is living with the recent grief of his mother. In order to tune out the tensions that exist between his motorcycle-obsessed brother getting into fights with his dad Sieger participates in track & field with his local high school. One day a new kid joins the team, Marc, which inspires a new array of feelings to confuse Sieger even further. Pretty soon afterwards they share their first kiss while swimming at the local lake. Marc seems confident in his attraction, but Sieger struggles to accept the relationship.

Making the film shine even brighter is brilliant cinematography and toe-tapping musical selections from M83, Foo Fighters, and Katy Perry!

I know the wait for ‘Center of My World‘ has felt like forever, but it’s almost here! Watch ‘Boys‘ to tie you over 😉

 

 

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Watch it with: A friend who loves romantic films

Mix it with: A glass of white wine

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 030 – ‘NORTH SEA TEXAS’

Title – ‘North Sea Texas

Director – Bavo Defurne

Starring – Jelle Florizoone, Luk Wyns, Thomas Coumans, Eva van der Gucht

Release Date – 2011

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Days spent playing card games, sitting on sandy beaches, listening to old records, drawing pictures of your crush, pining after romance. Bavo Defurne is a master at evoking these deep emotional moments that leap onto the screen with the clarity of the present and the warmth of nostalgia and longing. Before making his first film, ‘North Sea Texas‘, Bavo spent years travelling the LGBTQ film festival circuit with 4 short films that each contained queer longing, magic, history, and everyday life.

North Sea Texas‘ tells the story of Pim, a dreamer who more than anything else wants to be with Gino, his handsome older neighbor and friend. Early on in the film Gino seems happy to return Pim’s feelings albeit with the hesitance of a closeted gay man. After Gino gets a girlfriend however things definitely fall apart. We mostly follow Pim in his daily routine – dealing with his party-loving mother, his avoidance of Gino’s sister who has a crush on him, and the new boarder in his house, Zoltan, a handsome gypsy. Pim’s bravery in the face of everything is breathtaking and inspiring and the movie is worth watching for that alone. Of course the incredibly handsome Gino helps things as well.

I was lucky enough to interview Bavo shortly after the film came out back in 2012. Here are some highlights where we talk about distribution, homophobic Flemish audiences, and steamy romance:

F: About distributors; I know you were involved with that a while ago for the compilation DVD of your short films. What is it like working with them again?
B: Oh, it really depends. At this point, I’m very happy working with Strand on . But we’re just in the first steps now, so I’m still curious as to how it will go. In Holland, it was fine, but I think they could have done more, especially because the lady who plays the mother is actually very popular in Holland. I think they should have used that much more in the press. They didn’t maximize their potential. Right now, things are great in the U.K., because the film is now in its third or fourth week in the U.K. cinemas, and it’s still running, which is amazing.
F: Yeah, that’s pretty great for a gay film.
B: And for a Flemish gay film!
F: Yeah, that too. Subtitles! Oh my god!
B: Flemish isn’t really spoken anywhere else in the world, so I’m very proud of what they did in the U.K. Because, once I had finished the film, I had done what I set out to do; I couldn’t make it better. But sometimes when your producer gives the finished film to the distributors and they want to make it ‘better’ by actually putting in some work. For example the poster that Peccadillo created is very beautiful and it’s an image that didn’t actually exist. They collaged it together from various images taken on the set. That’s how creative and smart some of the distributors can be.
F: Do you not get the creative final say, when it comes to the distributors?
B: No, not at all. For the Belgian poster, you can see the boys, but they didn’t want them to be any closer together in the picture than that.
F: Did a gay company handle the distribution?
B: No. It was a big family chain and they thought it would be too controversial. To which I thought: “Why take the film in the first place?” The way they handled it was really awful. Homophobic, actually. I don’t know why they wanted to distribute it. It was a homophobic, art-phobic company. Anyway, the person who worked there and was responsible for that is now gone, and maybe it will get better. I hope so. For them.
F: Is homosexuality controversial where you live?
B: Yeah. Well, they said no, no. It was because it’s with young kids that it was controversial.
F: What do you think about that? Because that peaked my curiosity. I know there weren’t many explicit scenes in the film, but if there had been, do you think this film would have had trouble getting released? Say there were more explicit sex scenes between a 15-year old and an 18-year old. I guess for your ideal artistic expression, would you have made the film more explicit?
B: No. Because, it’s not a porn film, right? A porn film is to excite people only, and not to tell a story. Is sex an emotion? I don’t know. This film is more about emotions: people laugh, people sigh. So with the sex scenes, we thought, well in the book they’re there, but they’re poetically explained. You know in poetry you don’t have to use the word ‘penis’ or ‘masturbation’ to talk about very intense love scenes. But for a film, you have to show something. So our artistic problem was how to stay poetic and beautiful and still tell the audience what’s going on. Pim discovers sexuality and his body and how he feels about another boy, so we couldn’t not show it. In an action movie, it’s easy not to show sex. In action movies, sometimes there’s a romantic subplot and they kiss almost, and then it’ll cut to an action scene. But this film is really about love, so you have to show all the key steps in the process. I think the love between Pim and Gino really changes from the beginning of the film to the end. You see how they get closer, how things get more intense, and they do more things with their bodies. So that was the balance we sought: to be precise without showing pornographic images.
F: I thought that for how “steamy” the sensual scenes were, it was still extremely romantic. And let’s not even focus on when they’re kissing in the tent, but after, when Gino’s mom asks Gino, “How did you sleep in the tent?” and Gino slyly replied, “Very well. We should do it more.” That was almost even better than the sex, showing that there was going to be more, and that Gino was very attracted to Pim.
B: Yeah. You see it in his eyes; he played that very well.
F: I think that’s one of the few times we see a quick smile from Pim. We don’t see him smile too often.
B: Yeah. He doesn’t smile often. He’s very…not unhappy, but he keeps his emotions to himself. He doesn’t have someone to share his emotions with. He keeps everything internal.
F: So, speaking of keeping things internal, he has that box he keeps a lot of his memories inside. Did you have something like that as a kid?
B: Yeah. I think many of us have them. I still have boxes. I keep a lot of things. I thought I was the only one, but now that I’ve made the film, a lot of people tell me, “Oh, I have a box like that, and do you know what’s in it? Hair.” At the London premiere, many people shared their box experiences with me. Maybe we should make a website and people could post what’s in their boxes. I haven’t really kept my things in a box, but I definitely have a lot of things. When I talked to my actors, I explained things to them. My main actor was a 14 year old, so I tried to explain things in simple words. When I talked about the box, I explained that the box is a fetish. Pim is a bit of a fetishist. So when you love someone and you don’t get him, then there’s something physical to replace or symbolize that love. That’s fetishism. And you actually love things more than the person, because it’s the things you can touch and feel and love and the person is so far away or so unreachable. So that’s how I explained to him what the box is about. That’s what a lot of our boxes are about. Not a fetish for rubber or fabric, but a fetish for someone to whom you can’t show your love.

 

 

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Watch it with:  A romantic partner

Mix it with: A drink from your childhood

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