Brotherly

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Based on a true story of two brothers in 1970s Ohio. It tells of their abandonment by their alcoholic parents and how the brothers turned to each other for support.

We Once Were Tide

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Set on the Isle of Wight, the film tells the story of Anthony and Kyle, and their last night together as Kyle moves away leaving Anthony to look after his terminally ill mother. Poetic in nature, the film is concerned with exploring the intimate and often unspoken moment in which we give something special away.

My Straight Son

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Diego, a successful fashion photographer in Caracas, has commitment phobia but the very night he is about to tell Fabrizio, his Doctor boyfriend that he will move in with him after all, is the same night that Fabrizio is the victim of a vicious fatal gay bashing. It is also the same night that Armando, his estranged teenage son, turns up from Spain to stay with him for a few months whilst his mother goes to London to study for a Masters degree.

These very melodramatic first 24 hours set the tone for a hectic story packed full of characters that deliberately sets out to tug at your heartstrings for the next two hours. Father and son are like strangers and must learn how to adapt to each other. Armando to the unknown homosexual world of a father grieving for his partner that he had never met, and Diego to the closed attitude of his adolescent son.

Added to the mix are both Diego’s parents and Fabrizio’s family which is pretty homophobic and obsessed with watching Venezuela’s most popular TV Chat Show with its buxom bigoted host who loves to stir up fear of the unknown with her inflammatory remarks. Plus Diego’s friend that keeps going back to her abusive boyfriend who beats her up most days, and the penniless trans choreographer who has to subsidise her modern dance troupe by still doing her lip-syncing drag act at a gay club at night to pay the rent. Between them all director and writer Miguel Ferrari insures that he covers the whole gamut of social issues from gay parenting and partners rights to gender identity.

Despite its (too) many layers and all its plot complications there is something very compelling about the unravelling of the relationship between the father and son that ensures our investment in watching to the end to see how its all going to turn out. Maybe it’s the sonorous tones of the orchestra’s lush string section that pervades the dramatic soundtrack, or just seeing a cute nervous Armando mastering the art of the Tango so that he can win the heart of his new online girlfriend.

It’s sweet, sometimes funny and moving with some fine performances from a talented cast. In Spain the film won the Best Foreign Picture Goya (their Oscars) when it still had the original and much better title of Azul y No Tan Rosa which literally translates into ‘Blue, and Not So Pink’, a slightly less clumsy title than My Straight Son.

Listen

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In time for Transgender Awareness Week, activist Jake Graf unveiled a powerful new short film this week highlighting the struggles of everyday life for trans kids. Listen shows numerous trans teens and the hardships they face, such as bullying, isolation, and more. Read more…

The Summer House

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The Larsens are a picture perfect family from the German upper-middle class. They have everything that means comfort and should mean happiness. Business success, a stylish, light-flooded home and a full scholarship for their daughter to study in England. However, the head of the family, Markus, an architect, lives a secret, bisexual double life as his wife Christine and their eleven-year-old daughter Elisabeth drown in unendurable loneliness.

Markus realizes that he has a strong yearning for one of his daughter’s school friends, Johannes, 12, also the son of his tax penalty-bedeviled business partner, Christopher. He succeeds in getting closer to Johannes and binds the boy to himself with ever-increasing intensity. His wife is desperately aware of the emotional distance of her husband, but only her daughter Elizabeth, reacting to the sexually laden atmosphere, sees through the lies and secrets that she instinctively knows to be an growing, disruptive threat to the entire family. As Markus loses control of the situation and in a final moment of strength, pushes Johannes away, the action nevertheless moves them all remorselessly into the abyss.

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.

2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten

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Life at a sleepy high school in Pampanga, rife with unethical and oppressive instructors, changes with the arrival of interracial pretty boy Magnus Snyder.

This is particularly true for top scholar Felix. When he’s enlisted to help the new student with his schoolwork, the quiet Felix is drawn out of his loner shell and into the wild ways of Magnus and his devilish younger brother Maxim. As Felix’s closeted attraction to Magnus grows, he becomes increasingly enmeshed in the Snyder family’s dark tensions, which involve their hard-partying mother. Despite uneven acting and a tendency toward heavy-handedness, the film demonstrates admirable attunement to the introverted Felix as he hurtles down a coming-of-age trajectory with seemingly no way out other than disaster.