Deep End

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Deep End is set at the end of the ’60s in a decidedly unglamorous and unswinging London (though actually filmed, very persuasively, in Hamburg), Skolimowski’s pleasingly skewed variation on the coming-of-age sex comedy posits a bizarre, totally unsentimental education for its adolescent protagonist.

The somewhat naïve school-leaver Mike takes a job at the local swimming baths, where he becomes obsessed with an attractive young woman, Susan, who works there as an attendant. Although Susan has a fiancé, Mike does his best to sabotage the relationship, to the extent of stalking both her and her fiancé. Mike becomes increasingly desperate to have Susan for himself, with tragic results.

Often very funny, and blessed with pounding Can numbers on the soundtrack, it’s an original and offbeat delight whose mix of eccentricity and gentle social satire have ensured its enduring status as a cult movie. It’s good to have it back in this new digital restoration.

I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone

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The arrival of a new student in school changes everything in Leonardo’s life. This 15 year-old blind teenager has to deal with the jealousy of his long-lasting friend Giovana while trying to figure out the feelings he found out he has for his new friend, Gabriel.

Ouran High School Host Club is super queer and super great

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When scholarship high school student Haruhi Fujioka starts the new year at the prestigious Ouran Academy, she has no idea what she’ll be getting into. After accidentally stumbling into the unused classroom in which the host club entertains its female clients, she breaks a vase and must join the club to pay off the debt.

Haruhi, apparently a natural at hosting, spends the rest of the series keeping up with the club’s hijinks, presenting as a man so that she can continue making money for them, and developing close relationships with the other members of the host club.

By focusing on a group of teenage boys whose primary goal is entertaining their female counterparts, the one-season Ouran High School Host Club, based on the manga of the same name, addresses teenage sexual desire in a way that seems encouragingly direct for those of us used to the roundabout moralizing of Twilight and its ilk.

In a self-aware parody of shoujo fiction, the boys all inhabit different “types” (the boy Lolita, the strong and silent one, and the prince, for example), and cater to their clientele by playing up those aspects of their personality. Their willingness to put on a show for the benefit of others contributes to the show’s many subversions, and both in terms of gender presentation and sexual orientation.

Read on…

The Conners is a classic sitcom with a wholesome twist: Representation

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You remember about that Roseanne reboot on ABC that they ended up doing without Roseanne because she said some pretty nasty stuff? The show is called The Conners and seems to be pretty nice.

Decider writes: The new cast—although it feels weird still calling them “new” after all this time—also get moments to shine. That’s particularly the case with Darlene’s son Mark (Ames McNamara), a gender-nonconforming gay kid the likes of which I don’t think we’ve ever seen in a series regular role on a network multi-camera sitcom.

Season 2 finds Mark entering adolescence and actually, you know, being gay. Mark gets to do what 12-year-olds have been doing in sitcoms for decades: he gets the innocent middle school relationships that straight people take for granted and gay people have never been able to see on TV. 

Particularly great is Goodman’s onscreen rapport with McNamara. In a beautiful development, Dan Conner has become the kind of supportive grandpa that every gay person wishes he had growing up.

But also, The Conners knows what it’s doing with Mark is groundbreaking, and they use the fact that we never see characters like him on stage in front of an audience and three cameras to say something new and relevant. 

Esteros

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A familiar tale unfolds with uncommon lyricism in Argentine filmmaker Papu Curotto’s debut feature about two boys’ years-long relationship. Many other films have explored the theme of a central character learning to accept his sexuality after years of self-repression, but Esteros stands out for its uncommon restraint and sensitivity.

The story revolves around childhood friends Matias who spend their summers enjoying typical boyhood pursuits on the farm owned by Jeronimo’s family. Their relationship begins to take on a new, physical dimension during their adolescence, but is cut short when Matias’ father accepts a new job in Brazil and moves the family away.

Cut to 10 years later when the adult Matias, now an uptight scientist, returns to the area for a visit with his girlfriend Rochi. He reunites with his old friend, whose openly gay, bohemian lifestyle stands in marked contrast to that of Matias. It soon becomes clear that the two men are still attracted to each other, and when they decide to spend a few days in the house where they had spent idyllic summers, sparks inevitably fly.

In story and characterisations, Esteros (Spanish for “tidelands”) doesn’t really give us anything we haven’t seen before. But despite its recycled tropes, the film works beautifully thanks to its assured direction and economical, non-melodramatic script. The performers playing the younger and older versions of the main characters are excellent, with the latter heating up the screen in their inevitable torrid love scene. And the cinematography beautifully captures the glories of the Argentinian countryside, making the film a visual stunner.

A Handshake

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Léo and Baptiste go to the same school but don’t know each other yet. When they meet the first time, a passing handshake evokes a daydream for Baptiste. Turn on subtitles in the bottom right corner of the player if they’e not on by default.