Fire Island, located just off Long Island, New York, is a legendary part of gay history. It’s a place bound up in ideas of hedonism, sexual freedom/liberation and, some would say, debauchery, but perhaps more importantly its seen as a place where LGBT people have long been able to themselves in ways it was (particularly in the past) difficult to be anywhere else. It’s reached the status that for people who’ve never been there it’s almost mythic. Cherry Grove Stories is a documentary that helps to bring this spit of land back to earth, focussing on the Cherry Grove community and showing what it really was and is. [Read more…]
Israel is a complicated country – and that’s a bit of an understatement. Looking at it from the outside, it’s difficult not to see the divisions and intractable conflicts, the secular butting up against very conservative religion, and also that against that backdrop, Tel Aviv holds one of the biggest gay pride parades on the planet.
British filmmaker Lisa Morgenthau’s documentary, A Queer Country, looks at Israel from an LGBT perspective. Initially it feels like it’s going to be an advert for the Tel Aviv Tourist Board, much like Michael Lucas’ Undressing Israel a couple of years ago. However, thankfully it then starts engaging with some of the more interesting and thought-provoking issues queer people in Israel face. For example, the film contrasts the largely secular and open Tel Aviv with the more buttoned down Jerusalem, where gay issues are far more political and difference less tolerated. [Read more…]
When she was a girl, artist and director Jane Anderson’s mother found a hoard of art packed away in trunks in an attic. It was the work of Jane’s great aunt, Edith Lake Wilkinson, and as a result Jane grew up surrounded by Edith’s painting, which helped her find her own visual sense.
Decades later Janes sets out to find out more about Edith, as well as to discover her place in the world of early 20th Century Provincetown art. The main thing they know about Edith is that she spent the last years of her life institutionalised, but they don’t know why. They also know she had a female companion, Fanny, who they presume was actually her lover. [Read more…]
Running Time: 74 mins
Certificate: NR (US)
Release Date: April 16th 2016 (Tribeca Film Festival World Premiere)
Filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo certainly didn’t give herself an easy task when she set out to make Memories Of A Penitent Heart, as it involves her delving into one of the most difficult and painful chapters of her family’s history. 25 years before, her uncle Miguel died, with her grandmother insisting it was cancer, although it was almost certainly of AIDS (although interestingly Miguel himself was never tested, due to his beliefs about how people with the disease were being treated and stigmatised).
Miguel was gay, and had moved from Puerto Rico to New York to become an actor, shunning his staunch, Catholic upbringing to live authentically as himself, no matter what his family thought – even going as far as to change his name to the anglicised Michael. He’d also gotten into a relationship with a man called Robert. It is finding Robert that becomes Cecilia’s route into the story, as due to the strained (to put it mildly) relationship between Robert and Miguel’s family, they don’t know what happened to him or even his surname. [Read more…]
Last year Richard Mansfield brought us the odd but sometimes effective The Secret Path, and now it’s the turn of his husband, Daniel, to direct a gay-themed Brit Flick, Drink Me. Both movies share being on the verge of the supernatural, as well having a love of somewhat perplexing horror, but while Secret Path was set in the past, this is a more modern affair.
Andy and James are a couple living a pleasant suburban life, which seems to offer everything they’d want. However when Andy is made redundant their financial stability comes under threat and they decide they need to take in a lodger. The arrival of the sexy Sebastian puts increasing pressure on Andy and James’ relationship and major cracks appear, especially as Andy gets increasingly paranoid and suggests that a series of disappearances may have something to do with the man staying in their house.
Sebastian meanwhile is a mysterious figure, flirting with both of his landlords and perhaps hiding a deeper, vampiric secret. [Read more…]
Marlo (Martin Bruchmann) is a young man wandering around Berlin when his hand brushes against another guys as he crosses the street. Marlo decides to follow the man – even though he doesn’t seem to be sure why – who eventually approaches him and introduces himself as Kirill (Josef Mattes).
The film then follows their next few days together, where both men seem to want to fully connect but aren’t sure how. As they hang out Kirill reveals stories of how he was beaten up while visiting his grandmother in Russia, as well as the issues he has with his family, while Marlo attempts to understand and connect to this man he has an undeniable attraction to, even if it may be that neither have acted on it with a guy before. [Read more…]
Baise Moi (which has been variously translated as ‘Fuck Me’, ‘Shag Me’ and ‘Kiss Me’) is one of those films whose reputation rests largely on the controversy it generated. Banned in various countries – including its home nation of France, which isn’t a place normally associated with being squeamish about sex and violence – its mix of real sex and bloody violence set off a bit of a firestorm on its original release. In the UK it got off relatively lightly, although the BBFC did demand 12 seconds of cut. However, they’ve now relented and allowed the movie to be released uncut, and also unlike the previous UK DVD release, this time we get the widescreen version of the movie. [Read more…]
It’s a bit surprising that this is Jon Richardson’s first live stand-up DVD. While it feels like he’s been around for ages, it’s only been since 2010 that he’s really entered the top rung of TV comics, taking on team captain duties on 8 Out Of 10 Cats and hosting Stand Up For The Week. Now those who haven’t managed to see him live get to see a full set from the comic on this disc.
He’s a funny man, although slightly unusual. With most modern comedians their jokes and stories come from taking normal everyday life and then regurgitating it to you. Their comedy relies on the idea that they’re like us and what they say is immediately recognisable as how most people react. Richardson meanwhile finds his humour in the space between how he is and how he knows other people are. [Read more…]
It’s always good to see people standing up for a cause they believe in and forcing some change, especially when it so often seems there’s not much small groups of people can do. However with the right cause and the right way of doing things, you can make a difference, as this documentary proves.
In 2005 the friends of 16-year-old Memphis teenager Zach were shocked to find a series of MySpace posts saying that following his parents reacting badly to his telling them he was gay, they were sending him to a Fundamentalist Christian live-in programme, Love In Action, which would try to turn him straight. With Zach having already been packed off to the organisation’s centre, Zach’s friends decide to organise a protest. Their peaceful attempts to raise awareness of the centre’s existence and to try and help Zach soon become a major news story, forcing things to change. However with Zach inside the centre, he knows little about what’s going on in his name. [Read more…]
Thing I learned about Texas from Longhorns:
1: If there aren’t any women in the room, all Texan men will have a group wank together
2: If a Texan man isn’t included in the group wanks, he’ll start to feel shunned and will do his best to get an invite
3: While a Texan man will almost certainly be happy to let you give him a blow job or wank him off, your relationship will never be the same if you try and kiss him
4: If they’re not having a group wank, Texan men will find contrived reasons as to why at least one guy in the room should be naked [Read more…]