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.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Flow (Canada)

This was such a random experimental film. These are the kind of films that make me wonder that in the name of "different" cinema, some film makers are ready to offer all sorts of garbage and expect that audiences should lap it up. Come on.. we are better than that.

The film starts with a documentary style focusing on 22-something Chinese gay film maker who talks about his work and love life with an unseen friend behind the camera. The maker also gives an ode to his mother. Before you realize, the film shifts to showing 4 of the directors short films.  "Hysterio Passio" shows images of men's passions. In "Matricide," a lawyer asks a young gay Chinese why he killed his mother on Christmas morning. In "Key in the Heart," a heroine (an Asian man in drag) pursues vampires. In "Fall, 1990," college students meet their roommates, and Jimmy, an edgy scholarship boy without a family, is slowly brought to an understanding of love by the callow Byron.

Yes, this is what the above film is about. A sheer waste of time. I had to fast forward and watch this piece of garbage. Besides the last short film, which was actually pretty decent, everything else about this film is total rubbish. The producers of this film need to extract the last short and release it as an individual gay short film and they will make more money. I really don't feel like wasting anymore of my energy by writing anything more about this film. Please don't waste your time on this one at all. (2/10)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sueño En Otro Idioma (Spanish) [I Dream In Another Language]

What a visually stunning film! I haven't seen a gay themed film which is shot so beautifully and esthetically, in a long time. There are lush tropical landscapes, crystal clear water, attractive people that you can connect with and amazing performances. The film is not just about the dying language Zikril ((an imaginary dialect invented for the film) but also about understanding the world, perspectives that are lost when we fail to show sufficient curiosity in the generations and cultures that have come before.

A young, good looking researcher Martin turns up in a small jungle settlement in search of last speakers of the dying language Zikril. Isauro and Evaristo are the only 2 remaining men who speak the language but interestingly they have not spoken to each other in a long time. Isauro unfortunately understands and speaks only Zikril but everyone else including Evaristo can speak Spanish too. With the help os Evaristo's daughter, Martin tries to bring the two guys together but a haunting episode from past stops them from coming close to each other. We find out that they both fell in love with same girl 50 years ago but Evaristo won her, also because Isauro didn't speak Spanish. Later we see that there is more to the story. The men actually love and like each other a lot, even sexually and enjoy it. But soon, religious guilt starts forming in Evaristo, asks forgiveness from the girlfriend who knows the truth and has a huge fight with Isuaro, indirectly blaming him for the gay tendencies and love. The grand-daughter knows the details because of the grandmother but they cant tell Evaristo. The 2 men briefly talk but soon their differences creep again. Isuaro unfortunately dies soon, and even after pleading by everyone to say his goodbye, Evaristo in his ego does not do that. Inevitably, there’s a bit of myth woven into it all, in the shape of a magical cave where all the speakers of Zikril go when they die, which I think brings a wonderful aspect to the whole story.

The film is directed with emotions and tenderness. I absolutely loved the connections that people shared with one another, the genuine respect and admiration they have. The 2 main protagonists, both in old age and in flashbacks do a fantastic job of portraying the conflicts that their characters are going through. As mentioned above, this film is not just about a dying language. It also depicts clash of sexuality, personal aspirations and how its not easy to make sense of harsh life. it is a film about roots. Deep roots, from language to fairy tales and myths to secrets defining a strange, forbidden love story. A film about a dying universe. About reconciliation. Having said these nice things, I did have some issues about the film. I am still not very clear why they would completely stop speaking. Agreed, the religious guilt is way too much for Evaristo but still why hold the grudge so long? I wonder if that was something to do with grandma. The ending when Isuaro says something in Zikril to Martin, which is only later translated to him by Evaristo , sort of summarizes the film. Look for the translation below. And, finally to martin. A gorgeous man and even amazing values. Thats the kind of man I would want for myself. Just saying!!

This film is not for everyone. Most people will find it very slow. But you really have to invest in the individuals to appreciate the nuances of the film and and the idea. The lines below tell you the relationship between the two men. (8/10)

Goodbye my friend... my best friend
All that was unsaid... will remain unsaid
but in "The Enchantment" I will think about those things 
... and I will also think of you
my friend... my best friend

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

La Virgen de los Sicarios (Spanish) [Our Lady Of The Assassins]

This was a very interesting film, filmed in a very guerilla style probably using video cameras and what not. The violence somehow still seamlessly weaves throughout the film which is filled with social realism. The film does take us through the grim reality of the city of Medellin in Colombia, which thankfully I know a lot more about having recently watched the Narcos series. I was, hence, thankfully able to relate to the film better.

50-something Fernando meets 16-ish young handsome gay boy Alexis at a party and instantly has a liking for him. They both get into a very organic relationship naturally. Fernando has recently moved back to his city after years and they both walk around talking about the changes that this city has gone through. Alexis, though super young, does carry a gun with him, like most people in Medellin, just in case, he ever gets attacked for his own safety. Even though Fernando has come home to die, his sarcastic views on the city and everyday robbery, violence, and shootings is mellowed somewhat by his relationship with Alexis. Alexis becomes very protective of Fernando and kills at least 4 people who disrespect him. The love grows but so does the fact that there will be an assassination attempt on Alexis. Having dodged it twice, the killer do end up killing Alexis. Sad and gloomy, a year passes and Fernando mets Wilmer, another 16 year old bearing a striking resemblance to Alexis. They soon begin a relationship but Fernando is shocked to find out that it was Wilmar who killed Alexis. Vowing to kill Wilmar, Fernando changes his mind when he finds the reason and instead convinces Wilmar to leave the country with him for a better life. But life has other plans and Wilmar gets killed too. Seeing that the vicious cycle of atrocities in Medellín denies happiness, Fernando presumably commits suicide.

At first i wasn't really sure, where the film is headed but there were quite a few things that were very likeable about the film. The way the interactions had been between Fernando and Alexis, there seemed to be a genuine love and care for each other. Initially what seemed like a convenience of money and youth, was a mistake and there was love. The morality of their arrangement of course is irrelevant in a city with no morality and where killings happen for no reason whatsoever. Fernando's character brings a charm of sarcasm on how the city has change and also educates us through some of the history of the town. But at times, it gets a bit too much. However, I think most of it was needed to explore the growing relationship between 2 guys with a huge age gap. There is a charm and comfort that the 2 men share which is repeated in his relationship with Wilmer as well. The film actually could easily have been delegated to being a documentary and a boring film, if not for the charming and very likeable actors. With the direction, I feel a very realistic portrayal of Medellin has been shown and ironically now I wish to visit the place. The title of the film comes from Fernando's ambivalence about religion, and the fact that the he keeps finding himself in cathedrals for reflection on life.

This film is not for everyone. Most people will find it boring and pointless but I feel there was an odd charm to the film. The killings are not gratuitous, they are there to make a point and show you what realistically people are living there. Its not a bad film by any means but will need patience and an odd sense of humor to appreciate the film. (6.5/10)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Make It Right: Season 2 (TV Series) (Thai)

Finally, after watching 14 episodes of the season 2, a total time of about 11-ish hours, I am ready to review the season 2 of this Thai hit TV show. My review of the season 1 is here.

Actually not much has changed between the previous season and this one. The stories and love between the couples continue over all these episodes. Tee and Fuse are still the primary couple. Fuse is back with his girlfriend Jean and despite all signs, he fails to believe that she can cheat but finally comes to senses towards the middle of series. Tee, in the meanwhile sticks with him through, except for once when an old friend from previous school comes. But that also helps asa. catalyst for Fuse to realize his feelings for Tee. The second couple is Frame and Book. Thy continue with their love but when an old video of Book having sex with a stranger goes viral online, it has repercussions on their love and everything around Book. He even attempts suicide but Frame stands by him and is there for hi every single step of the way to bring Book out of this mess. As with season 1 , there are other couples as well, but we do get to see a little more of couple 3, which is Mo and Yok. Yok is the friendly yet very effeminate guy in school and Mo, who was supposedly straight so far, eventually falls in love for Yok. Their story walks us through the acceptance of their love for each other, their first intimate moments and Yok's mother finally accepting him for who he is.

The series just follows these three couple and few of their friends with their day to day activities involving food, laughter, love, friendship and at time social evils. This season they thankfully didn't focus on forced product placements but sadly also didn't focus at all on Fuse's sister. She was a fun character and I personally would liked to have seen what happens with her. But I guess this series is more popular in Thailand because of the cutest boys. Frame and Book are still the best couple, they act really well and their chemistry is the only one that is believable. The way they look into each others eyes is completely believable. All the problems of lengthy episodes, side stories and random content is still true. Fuse and Tee still lack the chemistry that Book & Frame share. But I liked the fact that a lot of focus was done on showing how Book deals with the shame that comes with internet stuff going viral and how your true love stands for you every single step of the way. Frame has the best character development in overall series. From a playboy sleeping around in season 1 to a very devoted, in love boyfriend for Book, who wows to take care of Book for entire life is awesome. You all will wish a boyfriend like Frame. Having said that, its a bot funny to watch the delayed reactions of most people and the way some folks react but as I said before, maybe thats how it is culturally and I got used to it much quicker this time.

This season was slightly better than first one, but at almost 11 hours of total screen time, this is a huge commitment to watch. I wish someone edits this series really well and crispy and presents it. I can almost bet that it will overall do much better globally amongst the gay audience, if someone could do that. I wish I had the skills to edit the show. But then who cares if the makers got the audience in their Thai teenagers in their country. (5.5/10)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Henry Gamble's Birthday Party

This film is less about being gay but more about struggles of people trying to reconcile with their complexities of adulthood, with their Christian lifestyle, their religious beliefs, sex and the changing modern world. To be honest, maybe this film should not even be here on this blog, but then given the title and the fact that our protagonist Henry is struggling with his own sexuality is reason good enough for me to write down a few lines.

Henry is turning 17 and his parents are throwing a birthday pool party. His father Bob is a pastor and clearly the family and surroundings are very religious. HIs sister is also back from college for this. The parents have also invited some adults from the church. Introductory scene hints that Henry may have a crush on his best friend who is sleeping over. Kids from church arrive and more form his school. Soon a sort of segregation starts between the church kids and secular kids. When Logan arrives, he is a shy kid, rumored to be gay and that creates all sorts of anxiety amongst everyone. Every adult is going through issues and longings and secrets, including Henry's mother who shares her secret with their daughter. The film just continues with some adults giving up inhibitions and "free-ing" themselves. Towards the end, Henry does realize that Logan's affection and liking for him is not just one-aided and maybe Henry also has feelings for Logan. The film ends with Henry asking Logan for a sleepover and a kiss.

There are some very tender moments in the film and then some wtf scenes too. The whole movie is directed in a way where the focus is on all individuals and I wonder if the idea was to show the suppression that the folks are going through. An adult wanting to drink wine but cant, a daughter wants to go swimming but doesn't because of her over-bearing mother, a disturbed kid Keith (who we don't know much about), Affair of Henry's mother, boosting sexual energies of the kids and the secret glances from Logan to Henry; all these are like watching a French ensemble film. Thankfully every actor does a good enough job of their character. No character is right or wrong, they all have affection and compassion but also confused sometimes because of their beliefs. The pressure to conform to standards. The characters were taught that life was simple. Yes, the focus was not just about exploring Henry's sexuality but it was a major part of it on how he sees everything around him and every small person around him makes him feel. I loved the scene when one of his classmates tells him that she is gay and hints that Henry should have known but soon realize that Henry is not open about himself or has even accepted it.

This film is NOT a simple story about coming out. That is a small part of a bigger picture of complex interactions, difficult life and beliefs. It doesn't resolve any conflict whatsoever, but being gay myself, I was happy to see Henry had hope surrounding him, and he is open to love lurking somewhere very close to him. (6/10)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Telo Bez Duse (Czech) (Documentary) [Body Without Soul]

This film portrays the one of the oldest tragedies in the public: Child prostitution. It shows the problems of living on the street, at such young age and how you get exploited. Although this specific documentary focuses on the city of Prague, but I cant imagine the situation being any different in a lot of other places. This graphic film depicts the appalling process by which young prepubescence and teen age boys in Prague are so skillfully lured into the eviscerated life of a male prostitute.

This documentary came out in 1996 and interview about 6-8 boys in the age range of 14-17 and their experiences. Each of the boy is asked same questions as to how did they come to Prague, how did they start and why, what are their challenges, issues that they face and the AIDS issue hanging over their head. Every single boy's story is very similar on how they are exploited by older gay men for their pleasure but they also admit that its the easiest money that they can make. They are ultimately lured into porn business and candid conversations with the film maker Pavel Rousek, who makes these films gives us a better insight into what really happens. The final question involves the boys perception of 'soul' and the overall message is that these lads sell their bodies as a career, but the soul is 'what you think', something that cannot be taken from you.

As a documentary, this is as real as it gets when dealing with a sensitive subject like this. And based on the subject material from this documentary, a film 'Mandragora' was also made which I had reviewed on my blog almost 10 years ago. This film is not easy top watch. There are difficult conversations but despite that hearing similar answers on the same questions 7-8 times dilute the overall impact of the documentary. If I could, I would edit this film , make it crisp and I think the message that needs to reach the audience will have a more powerful impact. The film can also be a introspection for teens who sometimes think that prostitution is a quick money and plentiful entertainment.

I would hesitate to recommend this documentary to a casual viewer. Its the old story of man's inhumanity to man. But despite that the documentary needs to be watched at least once. Its sickening, disturbing yet a truth of our society that we live in. (5/10)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Alex Strangelove

Of late we have been having a surge of coming out films, especially with more focus on teenage romance. Something that was a focus few years back. With mainstream films like Love, Simon; this genre is getting more popularity again. Netflix's film takes this genre forward and brings to us a tender coming-of-age story and the film is not without flaws. That doesn't take away the charm and smile that this film brings to your face.

Alex Truelove is a nerd who is too much into animals. He is the kind of guy who is not a jock but popular enough and friends with everyone, to even become class president. And he wonders if any girl ever would find him cool enough to ever be friends with him, forget dating. Enter Claire, who is as much of an animal nerd as him and they both instantly hit off. They go from friends to dating but to Claire's frustration, they have not gone all the way. But Alex doesn't care. He is not ready and doesn't think much about it. Soon we realize why. He meets Elliott at a party and they both instantly hit it off. There is a very strong mutual attraction that confuses Alex further. Though his friends tell him multiple times that they live in a world where they except him for whoever he is, even if gay; Alex never feels comfortable coming out. But thats more because he himself is not sure. A final break-up with Claire and childhood memories flaring back where he was once beaten as a kid for checking out guys, he finally admits to being gay. Claire then helps to bring Elliott and Alex together. After initial hesitation, Alex finally gives in and kisses his truelove.

Even though Alex is struggling with experimenting and eventually accepting his sexuality, thankfully the film focuses on showing the progress that we a a society have done. As his buddy Dell points out, their school is relatively open-minded when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity. And Alex comes out as a genuine person, geeky but very comfortable with himself. The film is not trying to be too ambitious. The motive is to make a feel good teenage romance. The tender scenes between Elliott and Alex have been done really well. Elliott, who is openly gay senses something within Alex but he also understands having been kicked out of his father's house for being gay, as to why Alex might be holding back. I loved the fact that the film never gets over the top and over dramatic and is kept very real. Claire's character blends very well and is important to the narrative in shaping who Alex really is. All the actors playing their roles do a fantastic job. But like I mentioned earlier, the film offers nothing new. It’s best as an honest, progressive idea of a high school in 2018, but it comes with a fair amount of charm. Being a teenager is not easy. No matter how much the social environment around alternative sexuality shifts and clears, determining your own identity is never as easy as checking a box. And this film has a tender approach to show this.

Its a good charming, sometimes a silly film but its quite a distance from even coming close to the feel good factor of recently released Love Simon. Still, its not bad by any means because it does bring a smile to your face. (7/10)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Happy Birthday, Gemini

This film came out in 1980 and is apparently based on a play. So you have to watch the film keeping that context in mind. Set amongst some of the low-income class Philadelphians, its not the brightest movie made. The film can easily be summarized in a good 15-20 short film.

Francis Geminiani gets a surprise visit by his quasi girlfriend Judith and her brother Randy on the eve of his 21st birthday. For being best friends, Francis is not at all happy with their surprise visit and soon we realize it's because Francis thinks he is gay and is struggling with it. The siblings nevertheless get a warm welcome by Francis' father, his girlfriend, their neighbor who has a clumsy asthmatic son Herschel. Judith refuses to believe Francis is gay and keeps telling him they cannot be friends if thats true. Further probe tells that its actually Randy on whom Francis has a crush on. Nothing can come out of it though. After birthday celebrations, things start coming out and the film ends with a very nicely done between father-son when Francis comes out and his father accepts him for who he has. He, in fact, asks him to go follow his friends, live his life and figure out what he wants.

The film is unnecessarily stretched for no reasons. There are many scenes with Francis' fathers eccentric girlfriend. she is OTT and some of the scenes with her are funny but they do not add much to the story. The scene where Randy offers himself to Francis so that Francis can make sure whether he is gay or not was also quite nice. The best is of course the climax. The actors all seemed pretty amateur. The screenplay needed some strong tightening but then I guess for a 1980 film, its ok.

A poignant story about love and acceptance told through laughter; I do not think that people of today's generation will enjoy this film at all. (3.5/10)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

West Of Eden (New Zealand)

Don't let the poster of the summary fool you. Lets make it clear that this is not really a queer film. Primarily, I would like to call this a story of a very very dysfunctional family and a decent amount of time is spent exploring gay relationship between 2 farm boys. But the focus is more on the family and the sham it keeps for their image in society. I am not sure at all why this film is being promoted as a tale of two gay men who find love on a New Zealand farm in 1960s. Given that this film has featured in prominent LGBT festivals, I do feel I should review it here.

Set in 1960s, Maori city boy Billy moves away from his family and city life in remote areas to become a farm boy, primarily to escape the rumors of him being gay. In a span of short time, we are then introduced to various characters. Billy meets Eva who is having sex with her brother-in-law and being watched by head farm helper Danny. Eva is married to Frank, the owner of the huge farm and who has a spotless and pristine reputation i the society and intends to keep it this way. He choses to ignore his wife's affair with his brother, while the brother's wife drowns herself in alcohol. And then there is Tom, Frank & Eva's son who is a bit of rebel and you can see an instant connection between the 2 guys. They talk to each other a few occasions and finally find love in each other. But this doesn't last long as Danny kills Tom in outrage since he keeps getting rejected by his sister. The family despite knowing the truth can't tell the world of the real reason why Tom died. Except Frank, the other members realize that they need to stop living a lie and live life to the fullest. Billy eventually leaves the farm.

You would think that when story starts about a gay man leaving his home because of his sexuality, something very interesting is going to happen, but sadly the movie becomes all about farm and Frank's family and extended family and Billy pretty much disappears. It feels like watching some soap opera where we are forced to know details of every family member and even extended family members. The whole gay angle feels like an after thought to market and sell the film appropriately. Billy, who supposedly is the main character and through whom the story starts in flashback (what was the whole point of that, by the way!) pretty much disappears in the film. In fact, Tom has a better role as that of a teenage rebel boy and boy was he cute. Their relationship has pretty much no development. Before we even get used to them being in love, Tom is shot. I would have been ok if the film was promoted as a story of a dysfunctional family, something like 'A Family Stone'; but I feel cheated being told that this is about gay love in New Zealand in 1960s, because thats just about 5% of the film

As a soap opera-isque film, it is not bad at all. Its alright. My problem is being told about a wonderful gay love story and what you get is barely less than even what you would get to see in a short film. And my rating reflects the movie in queer context. (3/10)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Gay Short Films : 59

Attack (USA)
A neo-Nazi skinhead is apprehended because he has attacked two black teenage boys. As we are taken backwards through the story we realise that things may not be as 'Black & White' as they appear. It was actually a hate crime towards the white man.

My First Suit (New Zealand)
Steve, a young teenage is about to attend his first high school dance. His separated parents insist on buying him suit but the boy is more interested in men. Ditching the dance, he decides to 'come out' to himself.

These Things Take Time (USA)
An eight-year-old boy experiences his first heartbreak when he falls in love with his male third-grade teacher. The stuff he does to get his teacher's attention is soo cute. I absolutely loved the film, the acting and the direction. First love is always special. The way the parents deal with the whole event is amazing.

Gay Hunt (USA)
One of these 4 roommates is GAY. Which one do you think it is? Hilarious!

Como en arcadia (Spain) [Just Like Arcadia]
A melancholy, dreamy voyage. A journey into the beginning of time, when mortals lived like gods, without worries and with never a thought about old age, to meet an attractive, beautiful boy who will let us into the garden of eternal youth for a while.

Hardcore (Israel)
A German tourist solicits two Israeli men for kinky sex. The Israelis feel pressure to fulfill the German man’s violent sexual fantasies.

Men Don’t Whisper (USA)
After being emasculated at a sales conference, gay couple decide the only way to regain their confidence and prove their masculinity is to sleep with some women. They try with fellow attendees but sealing the deal is easier said than done. Hilarious!

Devine (France) [Guess]
On a Sunday night, a girl and three boys are playing charades. Through the game, their feelings unveil and reveal incompatible loves including a kiss.

Bad Boy Comes Out (USA)
Tired of hiding who he really is, Mack wants to come out to Daddy Scott saying he is not Nick Jonas. But neither get what they were expecting. I think it was really really funny.

Nuestro día inmortal (Spain) [Our Immortal Day]
Young men trapped in desire and pain, power and freedom, addiction and beauty. A contrast that unites them to the same immortality.

Vaste Vrienden (Netherlands) [Close Friends]
Stan, best friend with Gijs realizes that their friendship might not be what it used to be. The clash between a cool guy and a sensitive one, exploring the vulnerability, the needs and expectations and the lovely manner of reconciliation.

International Male (USA)
A financially strapped man, yearning for global adventure, invites an international cast of men to his apartment for a series of romantic escapades.

Turn It Around (Netherlands)
When the fifteen year old Bram meets Florian at a house party, he immediately falls for him. There’s only one problem: nobody knows Bram is gay. A very very beautiful film.

El Chico del Pasillo (Spain [The Boy in the Hallway]
A young guy, Olmo, spends his time in the hallway of his building, waiting for straight Mario, whom he fancies and has a crush on, so that he can chat up with him.

Red Lights (Netherlands)
A young Dutch boy goes on a boy's night out in Amsterdam. But it takes an expected encounter with a sex worker to admit to himself that he is gay.

Libar (Mexico) [Sipping]
Santiago is a vulnerable boy and Jared leads him in age and charisma. The two opposite teenagers spend an afternoon together looking for ways to overcome their differences. After an act that begins as a game, their senses will find the space to coincide.

The Definition of Lonely (UK)
A dog brings two unlikely strangers together. A film that examines the ideas of loneliness and hope. Very very good.

Enlaces 1º: La tarea del colegio (Argentina)
Marco & Luis masturbate to thoughts of each other. And when they both admit this to each other and carried away by the heat, part of the excitement when confessing, Marco and Luis do "homework" together.

Você (Brazil) [You]
After the death of her best friend, a victim of homophobia, a young girl tries to understand what happened. What could she have done?

Finding Dad (USA)
When seventeen year old Chris breaks into Andy's home and takes a swim in his pool, a furious  Andy throws him out. When his partner returns and hears the whole story he gets Chris inside home. Andy is stunned to learn that Chris might be his son, a son he never even knew he had.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Play The Devil

A first queer film from Trinidad and Tobago. I am surprised that I had not heard of this film and I am even more happy that I saw it last night. It is such a beautiful film. Two things stood out immediately for me after finishing the film. First that I need to add Trinidad to my list of places to visit asap and secondly the lead actor has a very bright future and how amazing the young guy was, in a role which was full of layers and was a wonderful opportunity to showcase his talent.

Gregory is a young 18 year old boy who belongs to a lower class working family. Thankfully he is gifted and is family's only hope to win scholarship to get in a medical school. Although secretly he wants to be a photographer. He has been raised with ethics and morals by his very loving granny. His life spins out of control when he meets James. James is a successful middle age business owner who is in his marriage just because of his daughter. James initiates friendship and and career and life guidance for Gregory but there are strings attached. One weekend at the beach house, the two guys get physical and now Gregory is even more confused. Not only he is dealing with career choices, now he is also questioning his sexuality, and all this while having to face the burden of doing the right thing for his family. Gregory asks James to leave him alone but for some reason or the other, the 2 keep crossing each other's paths. Finally during carnival time, when men cover themselves in blue paint and do a symbolic dance to flirt with evil, Gregory mistakenly plays the devil himself and ends up killing James in a fit of anger. Life is not going to be the same again for Gregory.

The relationship and the interaction between James and Gregory is shown developing in a very interesting manner. James starts as a mentor, becomes a friend and ultimately becomes a lover. Its hard to say if James had genuine feelings or was he playing with Gregory's sensitive persona. I feel it was former since he says at one point that he has more to lose with everything that is going on. Having said that, it was also weird that James cant respect Gregory's need for privacy and inserts himself into Greg's family life. The lush landscape of Trinidad foregrounds the well-paced, beautifully shot, and brilliant drama. I really wanna visit there now. The ending is a bit disturbing yet poetic. Gregory and his best friend, covered in blue paint, come to the edge of a lake after their long trek after murdering James, wading far out until their heads are submerged by water. Gregory's character was pretty complicated. He is intelligent, sensitive, artistic where people around him want him to become a man by doing it with a girl or man-ning up to actions, stop being 'soft' etc. Gregory's rejection of James is not to do only with sexuality. It is also because of his uncertainty of removing himself from his family, the small town and the hidden artistic sensibility. As an actor Gregory is spot on. He expresses Gregory’s growing turmoil in every glance and gesture. When he tells his grandmother that his father will never be who she wants him to be, he’s also talking about himself. The film towards the end beautifully shows the carnival festival.

This is a beautiful, absolutely must-see film for people who are craving for something meaningful, poetic yet dramatic. It brings you in a world that you may have not seen otherwise and you are thankful to the filmmakers to take you through this journey. My rating is probably higher than what you may feel, but hey, I am entitled to my opinions. :) (PS: The english is really hard to understand in a lot of places because of the very strong accent.) (8/10)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Buddies

It is interesting how many films there are that deal with AIDS issues and show the whole thing with sensitivity and respect that it deserves. I had never heard of this film. It never gets mentioned in any list of recommended LGBT films, but that should change. And surprisingly, this film was apparently the first film ever made on AIDS. This film, though just a 2 man focus story, shows a very very interesting perspective from not just a patients point of view but also for a person who has never had to deal directly with someone having the virus.

The film follows a New York City gay man in a monogamous relationship becoming a "buddy" or a volunteer friend to another gay man dying of AIDS and the friendship that develops. Robert is the AIDS patient and one day he gets a visit from David, a complete stranger, who has volunteered at gay center to be Robert's buddy. The visits in the beginning are formal and David in his daily logs even mentions that he is not a fan of Robert but things start changing slowly. David and Robert exchange confidences about their sexual histories, discuss their thoughts about the gay liberation movement and share their most private feelings. They look at old movies of Robert in happier days, and they talk about Robert's having been abandoned by family and friends. We witness how different the lives of both men have been from each other. As expected, the film ends with Robert's death but not before making David and others realize on how will the research for a cure to AIDS will happen. It ends with a cry for federally financed research for AIDS cure and wider public awareness of the problem.

The film is very slow, completely relying on just the acting abilities of the two men. You never really see the other actors, although you do hear them. Despite that, this film is still quite powerful and depressing. It was very interesting to see how the whole scenario affects David. I try to put myself in his shoes and can't even imagine, what it would have been like. Needless to say that for someone like Robert, who is dealing with death fast approaching him, the situation is much worse. This film forces you to questions your own prejudices, sees how others live and how their values and beliefs may not be the same as yours, but are just as valid. The film is about humanity, human emotions. This isn't a story about a cause or an idea, it's a depiction of a beautiful evolving friendship between 2 completely different yet similar individuals. The faults to be found with this film are probably all in the technical production value, it was shot in the early 80's and the sound is a little hard to grasp at times. But overall, the film is a must watch.

Watch this film. If for nothing, then just to educate the generation that didn't have to deal with AIDS at all. As I read somewhere online, it is one of those important gay films from 80's that is a gem but you have probably never heard about it or seen it. Just be patient. (8/10)