After a particularly sensuous title shot ー quite simply, a smoking cigar ー this film opens rather frivolously. We pan over New York City, watching our characters go about their daily lives in a classically retro scene-setting montage. But don’t let this cheery start fool you. As catty bitchiness descends into destructive hate, ancient and fresh wounds alike are torn open, exposed to the audience. Further still, dripping in internalised homophobia, our cast of bitter gay men pour in the salt..
Paraíso Perdido is Portuguese for paradise lost. Set almost exclusively at night in a Brazilian cabaret club lost in time, I could think of no more appropriate a name. Paraíso Perdido (Monique Gardenburg, 2018) follows the lives of a family who own and work at the club after which the film is named. We also meet other performers ーa kind of extended familyー and are introduced to the scene through Odair, a policeman who is given the club’s flyer by a speeding motorcyclist. Odair acts as a way-in for the spectator, and we discover the club, the family and their secrets alongside him. The more time he spends there, the more we all learn about this twisted family touched by tragedy. [...]
Oof, this one hits you by surprise. But at the same time, you sort of know exactly what’s going to happen. Don’t worry, I’ll come back to this later on… The Mudge Boy (Michael Burke, 2003) tells the story of 14-year-old Duncan and his struggle to find himself and his people in non-descript rural America. We follow his emotional journey with one volatile town bully, Perry, as they move towards something akin to friendship, or maybe more…! (You know what this blog is about, right?) [...]
If the success of Fleabag is anything to go by, Andrew Scott playing sexy Irish anything is guaranteed to be a hit. Before he was a sexy Irish priest in that hit TV show (that’s hit TV show, Nina), he was a sexy, Irish and even on-the-cusp-of-homoerotic teacher in Handsome Devil. Top Tip: Try not to get distracted by Andrew Scott’s beauty. Or his seductive Irish accent. Or his brooding eyes. What were we talking about?
It's amazing how a film can be so rooted in the present when it's really about history. Personal history, romantic history, cultural and religious history all permeate the thematic presentation; and yet, the film's almost hyper-realistic style plants it so firmly in its present that you can't help but feel that you're there. Let me explain. Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio, 2018) tells the story of Ronit, a woman who, upon learning of the death of her father, returns to the Orthodox Jewish community where she grew up. Having fled the community in North London for New York as a teenager, she is now confronted with what she left behind: principally, her childhood friends Dovid and Esti. We witness the trio's internal struggle as they try to grapple with their conflicting cultural views and complicated history. And boy is it vivid. [...]
There are different kinds of silence in film. There is the uncomfortable, dominating silence that makes your muscles tense in morbid anticipation. Then there is the intimate silence, where a glance, a touch, a brush of skin tells everything; where words aren’t necessary to reassure both character and spectator and bring them in closer. This film gifts us both kinds of silence, and shows us the difference. Elisa y Marcela (2019) is a Spanish romantic drama film by the auteur filmmaker Isabel Coixet. [...]
Generic title, right? “The Feels”. And did it give me ‘the feels’? Well it turns out that’s a reference to orgasms, so no, but if we’re talking about other kinds of feels, then yes. At times. We’ll get to that... The Feels (2017, Jenée LaMarque) is a self-described dramedy about a lesbian couple’s bachelorette weekend. Lu drunkenly admits to her fiancée Andi in front of the whole group that she’s never had an orgasm, causing a rift between the couple. This, alongside other unexpected drama, causes tension in the group as the friends and the brides-to-be navigate their relationships. [...]
I Am Jonas (Christophe Charrier, 2018) is a coming-of-age gay love story shrouded in dark mystery. Originally made for the (as the name suggests) artsy European TV network ARTE and then brought to Netflix in spring 2020, it tells the story of the eponymous Jonas and handsome troublemaker Nathan. We explore their teen romance, its subsequent murky demise and the long lasting after-effects. Watching with the original French language subtitles, the first closed caption of “musique oppressante” (no language prizes for guessing what that means) tells us we’re in for a bumpy ride. [...]
"I want to see you” You know what Therese Belivet, I also want to see Cate Blanchett, at any and all times possible, so thank you. As suggested by my opening quote, Carol (as film and character) is extremely visually rich. It is sensual, evocative, and elegant. The theme of vision — observation, seeing and being seen — comes around time and time again. [...]
First off, a warning: don’t start watching this whilst eating. You’ve got vomiting, calving and barebacking (and in that order) all in the first ten minutes. Although the movie soon becomes more palatable, it is worth noting that this is not a comfortable film to watch. Comforting maybe, especially by the end, but far from comfortable. [...]