Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Aligarh (Hindi / English)

First of all I would like to give a big thank you to the makers of the film for showing us this bitter truth and ugly reality of one of the aspects of Section 377 in India. The incident occurred six years ago, in 2010, but the film's themes – the violation of one's privacy, imposing one's morality on others, intolerance, and society's ten

Professor Siras is a 64 year old man who teaches Marathi at Aligarh Muslim University. He is shown living a very solitary lonely life busy listening to his favourite singer’s old classic songs. As part of the sting operation, he is caught and filmed having sex with a rickshaw-puller from worker class and is subsequently suspended from his position in the university just 4 years before he is supposed to retire from the university. Deepu, is a budding journalist, and when he reads this whole story, wants to help the professor. After initial misunderstanding, he finally manages to strike a bond with the professor; something that starts as a professional bond but eventually becomes that of friends. His story after listening to professor’s version becomes sensational and country-wide protests start. One of the most famous lawyers who represented common people for Section 377 decides to represent Dr. Siras for his case. The case against the university goes for a few months, but they finally win and his suspension orders are revoked. However, he never resumed his post as he was found dead, days after the court gave verdict in his favour.

Manoj Vajpayee as Prof Siras is unbelievably good in the film. His discomfort on being labelled ‘gay’ shows he just believes in people. He would also rather feel what ‘love’ is rather than telling if he was in love with the rickshaw-puller. But the film is beyond the debate of whether this is a gay issue or not. As highlighted by Deepu’s character, it is a case of violation of human privacy and basic human rights. Who defines what constitutes morale? The film moves with a very simple narrative, poetic and slow; so please be patient while watching it. When the professor says that “The poetry is in the silences between words; their meaning depends on the age and situation one is in”; the statement reflects the mood and the film that the makers were trying to make. Despite serious subject, the film does have a few lighter moments. I loved the fact that it wasn’t shown all at once on what happened at the sting operation. The film returns repeatedly to the pivotal opening sequence in which Siras' privacy is invaded, and each replay reveals crucial additional details and perspectives. And as a viewer, that’s what makes you angry at all those people because you don’t want  something like this to happen to anyone. Kudos to Manoj Vajpayee to take up this role and do more than just justice. He fills the depths of the understated but intensely moving drama with genuine, unsettling emotion.

Unlike Bollywood’s stereotype of the loud, floral-loving homosexual, Aligarh very sensitively champions their cause. An important film powered by sensitive writing and masterful performances. Definitely worth a watch. (8.5/10)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gay Short Films : 46

Coming Out (UK)
Quirky comedy about deaf identity - a deaf teenager reveals a personal secret to his hearing mother. Why does he have ‘dirty’ magazines and videos hidden in his room? What will his father say when he finds out? The unexpected revelations question whether family life will ever be the same again. You can easily draw parallels with being Gay. Wonderful film!

Keep Breathing (Israel)
A young man’s strong feelings for his ex turns into an obsession when he starts stalking him and even turns up at his girlfriend’s house. Better sense prevails and he is back to reality with support of his best friend.

Just Tonight (USA)
Two strangers meet on a hookup app with very different expectations of how the night will go. For one, its the first time and for the other, its just a getaway from his boyfriend.

Listen (UK)
A government worker, who spends his time monitoring phone-calls, becomes inspired by a series of conversations between a gay son and his mother.

Duvid (USA)
When Duvid Stern is taken from his sheltered, ultra-orthodox community and introduced to the New York club scene, he is forced to reexamine the bedrock of his identity. Not necessarily a gay short since only relevance is that he discovers that his friend is gay.

Shining the Ball (Australia)
An attractive young man joins a cricket club and finds that the vice captain is gay and is interested in him but how sure is our protagonist? Will it be too late before he realizes and has the courage to accept?

After (Canada)
Three teenage boys idealize and fantasize about an older teenage football player. When he gets into an accident, each of them plays their own version in their mind.

The Fruity (Australia) 
The Fruity is an ageing gay pub, fraying around its fabulous edges. Lindsey is at his usual barstool and doesn’t plan on moving. But a proposition from the spunky new bartender, Jorge, tempts him to take to the stage.

For the Love of Julio (Australia)
Alice and George are best friends, young, passionate and looking for love. A story of desires and expectations.

Pink moon (USA)
In a society where heterosexuals are persecuted and abortion is forbidden, two ‘straight’ teenagers are forced to hide an unintended pregnancy before their secret romance is exposed to everyone. A powerful upside-down situation.

Limanakia
It is a visual sexual collage on homoerotic orgies. Male tanned bodies are freely exposed on the white sharp rocks, under the heat of the sun, tasting each others salty skin. The camera follows them into the sea capturing their playfulness surrounded by the magic of the Mediterranean waters.

Soy tan feliz (Argentina) [I Am So Happy]
On a lazy day, Mateo stops by to pick up his cousins and drive them to the country house where their mother awaits. A sudden break slam brings these cousins into the waste land, where one tries to get into the other’s pants.

Cariocas
The film makers voyeuristic hunt in Rio with lots of sea, sun, sweat and sexual encounters. Brazilian men care about their physique and they freely allow admiration of their sculpted bodies. The sensuality of those men creates blurry sexual identities.

Locas Perdidas (Chile) Lost Queens
In 1996, 18-year-old Rodrigo, working as a drag queen, is arrested by the police. He returns home fearful that his family will see him on the news. He makes plans to run away with the 48-year-old hairdresser Mauricio, a family friend and Rodrigo’s boyfriend. Based on true events.

Elgin Park (USA)
Michael Paul spent most of his life in reclusive struggling through bullying until he found a way to eliminate it all. His answer was to create a fictional town called Elgin Park which is nothing but modelling at 1/24th scale.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Nachthelle (German) [Bright Night]

This was an interesting weird film. I don’t think I still completely understand what exactly happened with the whole twist, but to be honest I really don’t care. Yes, the film is confusing, yet pretty straight forward and it still keeps for an engaging viewing. It never lets you bore besides the confusion that it adds. Also I don’t think it is a gay film per say. Yes there is a gay couple and yes maybe  they try to seduce the straight guy but thats that.

40-year-old Anna brings her much younger lover, Stefan, to her childhood home. She meets her old school friend Bernd and his boyfriend Marc of 20 years. The protagonists stay in a secluded location )of this house in east Germany) for a few nights, the house serves as a pressure cooker of emotions and sexual tensions. There is open-pit mine activities going o the town that sends occasional small quakes in the region. The metaphor also is important since it is the similar quakes thats happening in Anna’s life. Marc, who is a well respected psychiatrist, enjoys stirring up shit by asking very uncomfortable questions to everyone around him. He clearly flirts with Stefan and asks Anna very uncomfortable questions about the past when Anna and Bernd used to date each other. After a while Marc’s psychological pontificating seems to lead to a physical manifestation of…well…something. The narrative goes into a circular motion allowing Anna a unique opportunity to observe things from another perspective. And this is where the film gets very confusing, leading to 2 possible endings. Now which one is the correct one?

The best thing about this film were the actors. They all shared great dynamics with each other and were all really good. Their interactions are full of possibilities and hence as a viewer, I felt always on the hook as to where the story ill lead to. Clearly there is a big connection between the past activity and the present. The weird dream sequence that Anna has sort of gets explained by the circular narrative towards the end, which itself only adds to the confusion. I wonder if more time was given to it, would it have made sense? Also, the mood of the film kept changing between psychiatric evaluation by March vs he trying to create some sexual tension with Stefan. I wish there was more of the latter. The cinematography is beautiful and the quiet old town looks magical. I felt like I should go there for a holiday.

Bit confusing and a bit creepy, it was an interesting watch but the fact that I didn’t completely grasp the concept prevents me from giving it a high rating. (6/10)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Stonewall

Taking a very important and crucial moment in gay rights history and reducing it to mere background for a coming-of-age story is not cool. The title and the trailer of the film creates expectations from the viewers, especially the ones who had witnessed the ordeal but alas! To be honest, I have not seen many films on the subject, so I am no expert to say whether the said events are shown to reality or not, but I can still very confidently say that, the title should have been used to make a better film with more facts.

Danny, is a small town Indiana boy who arrives to New York after he is discovered to be having an affair with his football team-mate. Danny’s father who is the coach can’t deal with it and the boy is exiled. He arrives on Christopher Street in Greenwich village and is befriended by Ray, an androgynous, who slowly starts falling in love with Danny. He also gets support from other trans members and hustlers (mostly street living LGBT members). The entire group hangs around the The Stonewall Inn, a mob-owned bar that was regularly raided by the police. This is where in June 1969, one such raid sparked riots by the patrons that lasted several days. Danny meets Trevor who he likes and even moves in with him. Trevor is a gay activist whose team is working towards getting LGBT members their rights. But soon Danny realises that he was just another guy for Trevor. We continue to witness the problems & heartaches of mostly the LGBt street hustlers and by the time the actual riot in Stonewall is sparked, its already too late for any of us to really care.

Stonewall has been billed as the story of a young gay man’s political awakening, and there insetting wrong with that. But then why promote a film with such a title. I, for once, expected more about the actual incident with a lot more facts than fiction. The riots are tucked away in the last 20 minutes, delivered almost as an after-thought to Danny’s character development. There are many sub-plots of other characters, which didn’t really add too much to the soul of the film. Danny acts well, but the scene stealer of the film is Ray, a charismatic portrayal of the triumphs of the trans community and the struggles they faced at that time. Attempting to do right by history, the actual facts have been complicated rather than clearly showing why the cops chose to raid the Stonewall Inn on June 28, and why the lesbians and female-attired trans clientele finally decided to rebel against the harassment they’d been getting from all sides.

Is not a bad movie per say, it really isn’t it but using such an important historical event and turning it into just a backdrop for a regular coming-of-age story is just not ok. (6/10)