Category Archives: GLBT documentary

“I’M A PORN STAR”— Famous on the Net

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“I’m a Porn Star”

Famous on the Net

Amos Lassen

There are people in my neighborhood and in yours who are famous but if we do not visit Internet porn sites we would not know it. Today there are about 370 million pornographic websites on the Internet. Porn is a thirteen billion dollar business. There is a good chance that people you know are involved in it to some degree. (It would be interesting to heart what the original Puritans would have to say about this.

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This film is about guys who are porn stars and the term “porn stars” is an interesting one. By this I mean that there are people who work all their lives to be stars and it doesn’t happen. Yet someone who has sex on camera just one time is called a porn star. The four stars we meet here are Brent Everett, Colby Jansen, Rocco Reed and Johnny Rapid. They speak openly and honestly about their experiences in porn and how it feels to objects of lust for so many men. That must be the ultimate ego trip.
First we get a brief history of porn from actor-director-producer-author Charlie David. We get to see fascinating silent footage of some of the earliest homoerotic action staged on film, as well as the “men’s physique” magazines and reels of the 1940s and ’50s that provided “spank-bank material under the guise of appreciating “male athleticism”.” We see “the arthouse-appreciated flicks of the ’70s, the home video boom of the 1980s, the AIDS crisis and it’s effect on porn, the higher budgets of the ’90s and the keywords, special interests and star-focused sites of the internet age” All of this comes before the opening credits.

Colby Jansen is what is known as “semi-straight” (whatever that means). A former Marine and defense contractor, Jensen is working on his Masters of Business Administration and what he makes from porn pays his college tuition. He is marred to Gia Darling, a transsexual porn star.

Johnny Rapid is known as a “twink” and a power bottom. He has in the last year become an important stat and it is said that he is as cute as a “button”. (Now this is a term that I have never understood—I have seen thousands of buttons in my life and not once considered them to be cute).

Rocco Reed is a porn fence straddler acting in both gay and straight porn. He can tell a lot about these two worlds. When he is not on screen, he is a personal trainer who hopes to open his own gym when he retires from porn.

Lastly there is Brent Everett who has a great deal written about him and lately has made the transition from porn to gay-themed film (in which he keeps his clothes on).

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The four guys share so much with us—their thoughts, their experiences, their hopes and what they like sexually. We learn about the cost of fame, how they get involved in porn and they tells us about the politics of the industry and what they like to do the best. They have worked with famous stars and have stories; how they stay fir, muscular and handsome, how they maintain erections for long periods. We learn what they get paid and how they have to behave to remain in good stead with government and they tell us how being a porn star has affected their lives and off-screen relationships.

This is a fun film that is fascinatingly interesting. We go behind the scenes (or behind the behinds) and see so much more than the average porn viewer.

WARNING: This documentary is meant for adults and contains scenes of graphic sexuality. Viewer discretion is advised.

“STUDLEBRITY”— Looks Make the Man

studlebrity

“Studlebrity”

Looks Make the Man

Amos Lassen

I must admit that when I first heard about this film I had on idea what it was about or what the title means. Now I know and I felt awfully not catching it earlier. A Studlebrity is a guy who is famous for his looks. Studlebrities are online celebrities getting their seconds of fame based only upon their outward appearances. Let’s face it, we live in a world that is dominated by celebrity status and it seems that everyone can be a celebrity for whatever reason.

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“Today there seems to be a new “social celebrity” every time we go online. We are inundated with guys famous for… well… we don’t really know”. Some of these “celebrities” have 10,000 followers on Twitter and when they post a carefully-posed half-naked shot on Instagram, they gain armies of followers that make them feel special when in actually the special they have is just what is visible. We all have heard the stories of how a handsome face and sculpted physique have helped pave the way to a charmed life (there may be more but that is all we about online). This film documentary is from Charlie David who goes a bit deeper into this new instant celebrity business.

Those of you who use social media and its websites know about the random pictures of the same guy coming across your computer screens. Many times you have no idea as to who they are but you realize that they are passed around for you to admire them. In the film we meet such half-undressed characters such as Mark & Ethan, Topher DiMaggio, Pablo Hernandez and Murray Swanby. We don’t know why these guys are famous and we really do not care. Each guy thinks that he is pretty and he knows that he is. More than that he wants to share every moment of his pretty life with you. Indeed he is a real person but he also becomes an illusion.

The film is a combination of archival video and photos from guys in conjunction with new original interview and photo-shoot style footage and this gives us “a layered look at this unique male mayhem.” We get a close look at boys who before becoming famous online just for being incredibly attractive were just regular guys. Here the guys open up about all their secret dreams and aspirations and talk about what they think of being watched.

“IT GOT BETTER”— A New Documentary

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“It Got Better”

A New Documentary

Amos Lassen

I just received word on this new documentary that sounds fascinating. It comes from the producers of ”Web Therapy” and the It Gets Better Project and is

new series that shares LGBT celebrities’ personal stories of struggle and success. It features Jane Lynch, Jason Collins, Laverne Cox, George Takei, Tegan and Sara and Tim Gunn. How have things gotten better? What change still needs to occur? What obstacles lie ahead for the LGBT Community? 

“Age Of Consent”— A London Gay Leather Bar

“Age Of Consent”

 A London Gay Leather Bar

age-of-consent-poster-slideThe documentary Age Of Consent premiered back in March at London’s BFI Flare Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, and now it’s set to make its NYC debut on Saturday July 26th At NewFest! That seems like a good reason to take a look at the trailer for this no-holds barred look in the gay leather bar scene.

Here’s the synopsis: ‘This documentary by festival favourites Lum and Verow tells the story of The Hoist (open since 1996 and now one of London’s only surviving leather bars) and in doing so tells the story of gay sex from decriminalization to Grindr, taking in police entrapment, the Spanner case, safer sex and Section 28. Age of Consent is informative and eye-opening – did you know more gay men were arrested and convicted of gross indecency in 1989 than in 1966? – while being playful, funny and downright filthy.

‘Described by the barman as a ‘sneaky, sexy, dirty wee hole’, The Hoist and its patrons could be seen as representing the antithesis of the recent trend in mainstream gay politics towards assimilation. But, with encroaching gentrification and more people using the internet to hook up, what does the future hold?’

 

 

age-of-consent-posterhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVqqBPl2orM

“FIFI HOWLS FROM HAPPINESS”— A Provocative Artist

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“Fifi Howls from Happiness”  (“Fifi az Khoshhali Zooze Mikeshad”)

A Provocative Artist

Amos Lassen

Bahman Mohasses is a provocative and enigmatic artist who is the subject of this new documentary by director Mitra Farahani. Mohasses has been called the “Persian Picasso” and his art has been acclaimed universally. It once dominated pre-revolutionary Iran and what makes this so interesting is that it is irreverent and uncompromising. Mohasses is a gay man in a world that does not accept him as such so his relationship with his homeland is one of conflict. Yet he is honored by the elite in the art world and lauded as a national icon yet he has been censored by the ruling regime. He had no choice but to flee his country (30 years ago) and he now lives in Italy maintaining a secluded life. He is known for his scathing declarations against the present regime in Iran and for his iconoclastic art. The regime destroyed much of his art and he did away with even more than they did. He rages at the thought of man’s inhumanity to man, the destruction of the environment and the futility of idealism.

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Mohasses is a chain-smoking recluse who loves to curse yet he possesses a tender soul (with a touch of mischief) and he can launch into an anti-political rant at any moment. His work is unforgettable and ranges from the tender to the playful to haunting to grotesque.

Mitra Farahani has been anxious to interview him and she finds him living alone in a hotel room in Rome as he is beginning his autobiography. She sees (and shares with us) the inimitable spirit of the man behind the image. He is both painfully sensitive and crudely comical, “condemned to paint,” but cannot compel himself to leave anything behind as a legacy.   We learn that when a pair of artist brothers and ardent fans of Mohassess commissioned him he became inspired and had a renewed sense of purpose.

His life is like a fable—he was a haughty neurotic who solely existed to paint and to smoke and maybe for a short while to speak to the outside world. Mohasses says that paint and pissing are very much the same in that both are vital and necessary to exist. He is arrogant but not unpleasantly so and even though his paintings and his sculptures are breathtaking and ageless,  only a few remain. After a protracted self-imposed exile, Mohassess returned to Iran in the early 2000s and was received with no fanfare and like most artists are in the country: with faint respect, unconcern, and quietude. He was so angry about his that he slashed nearly all of his paintings, chopped up most of his imposing and majestic sculptures, and left the country unhappy and disheartened again.

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Director Farahani found him just as he was about to become 90. The interview gave him the chance to retain “those fading glimmers of glory through the enraptured eyes and wonderment of an inspirited young artist and her camera”. Throughout the interview, Mohasses tries to get control of it yet he values Faharani. He was indifferent about leaving a legacy and was intent on winning back what he had lost in prior decades to history to revolution and to his flaunted self-destruction. He told Farahani to begin the film with a voice-over of him speaking of his childhood and birth, cast over a moving image of the sea. Immediately, Farahani obliged. At another point, he instructed her to drive through Rome and film the scenery, and once again, she was happy to indulge him. She wants to give back to him in return for his interview. Both artist and director are in love with the romance found in the intermingling of reality and fiction. She wants to film him painting again and to see her hero return, striving to be the one who captures this triumphant homecoming. As they speak, Farahani is struggles to find potential patrons interested in a new painting by Mohassess. Finally, two Iranian artists, Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh show interest.

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And then Mohassess dies. As the director is looking at some of the art in the hotel room, she hears a cough that becomes louder and louder and he says that he is hemorrhaging but not some simple, uncomplicated hemorrhage. “I am dying,” he then says in a voice completely unlike his own, charged with muck and pain and dying. “I am dying,” he asserts again, in front of the one person who cared to root him out.  Farahani decided to include the death scene in her documentary because it is vital to learning about Mohasses. His death captured on film almost presents itself as Mohassess’ gift to Farahani, as something that is more valuable than any painting, sculpture, or piece of art. His death is so sad and the build-up to it in the film is almost fictional in the way it happened. Here we see that art and life do not imitate each other except in the case of Mohassses. He not only appeared to live his own life as a great work art, with eccentricities and self-imposed exiles and a realistic and beautifully melancholic death, but he also seemed to live with his art on a more personal basis than most artists. who left his last act of destruction for a stunned camera to capture, almost as if death is no different an art than creation.

Opens at Lincoln Plaza in NYC – August 8
Opens at Laemmle Theaters in LA – August 15

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50Isgf9j9Dw

“THE NAKED ROSE”— The Story of Pierre Seel and the “Homocaust”

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“Naked Rose” (“Il rosa nudo”)

The Story of Pierre Seel and the “Homocaust”

Amos Lassen

Pierre Seel was a victim of the Holocaust. He was charged with homosexuality and sent to Schrimeck concentration camp yet somehow he managed to survive and after the war he married and fathered three children. He tried very hard to lead a “normal” life but in 1982, he came to terms with who he was and came out publicly and at the same time he spoke about the thousands of Homosexuals who were forced to wear the pink triangle.

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“Naked Rose” is an experimental film about Pierre Seel that is based upon and inspired by his life. It depicts in theatrically and evocatively the “Homocaust” and focuses on the scientific theories of SS Physician Carl Peter Værnet for the treatment of homosexuality. These theories were those that paved the way for the Nazi persecution of gay men. Seel was the first gay male survivor to speak out about what he had been through.

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This is such an important film. Cinematically there is a lack of films about gays during the Holocaust. I can recall “Bent” and “Paragraph 175” as the most important of them. Too often the fate of homosexuals at that time is not thought about although here in Boston there is a ceremony at the Holocaust memorial during Pride week so that we can remember those that died needless deaths. I also know of another film on the subject being made at the present.

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It goes without saying that this is a controversial film yet it is a film about an important issue that we all must be made aware of. It will haunt you.

“LIMITED PARTNERSHIP”— A Love Story

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“LIMITED PARTNERSHIP”

A Love Story

Amos Lassen

 This is a love story between Filipino-American Richard Adams and Australian Tony Sullivan, who, in 1975, became one of the first same-sex couples in the world to be legally married. After applying for a green card for Tony based on their marriage, the couple received a denial letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service stating, ‘You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.’ Outraged at this letter, and to prevent Tony’s impending deportation, the couple sued the U.S. government, filing the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history. This tenacious story of love, marriage and immigration equality is as precedent setting as it is little known… until now.

Adams and Sullivan met in 1971 at a Los Angeles bar called The Closet. They fell in love, and spent the next 40 years fighting the system in order to stay together. They became one of the first same-sex couples to be legally married—and the first to be denied legal immigration status. Long before the current battle over same-sex marriage was even a  thought in the minds of many, the two men were suing the U.S. government for the right to be married, and then for the right to have that marriage recognized so Tony could get a green card and not be deported. 



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They received a shocking response from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, then an unexpected outpouring of hate and bigotry from the general public, and then the ludicrous choice to either live apart or leave the country together (of course, they had to choose the latter—but with great consequence). In this film, director Thomas G. Miller takes us back and forth through the decades with this pioneering and persistent bi-national couple, two unsung heroes who paved the way for the eventual defeat of DOMA.

Naturally they were outraged at the tone, tenor and politics of this letter and to prevent Tony’s impending deportation, the couple sued the U.S. government. This became the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history. They spent forty years in legal challenges yet both men were able to keep their senses of humor, their sense of justice and their privacy.

Over four decades of legal challenges, Richard and Tony figured out how to maintain their sense of humor, justice and whenever possible, their privacy. What is so interesting here is that their personal story parallels the history of the LGBT marriage and immigration equality movements. The film celebrates Richard and Tony’s long road to  justice and citizenship and their challenge of the traditional definitions of “spouse” and “family.”

Critical moments in history are explored through the use of television news clips, newspaper headlines, radio announcements, Tony and Richard’s personal photos and letters, interviews, and animated graphics. Through artful juxtaposition, these sequences dynamically contrast Richard and Tony’s personal battle with the evolution of America’s values, the LGBT and mainstream marriage equality movement, and modifications in U.S. immigration policy.

“OUT IN EAST BERLIN—LESBIANS & GAYS IN THE GDR”— A Fascinating Film

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“OUT IN EAST BERLIN—LESBIANS & GAYS IN THE GDR” (“OUT IN OST-BERLIN—LESBEN UND SCHWULE IN DER DDR”)

A Fascinating Film

Amos Lassen

Paragraph 175 which made homosexual behavior punish able by law was abolished in the German Democratic Republic in 1968. Homosexuality was once considered, in Germany, to be a negligible issue in ‘real existing socialism’. The nuclear family constituted the center of social society. “Out in East Berlin” tells the various, impressive-to-absurd personal histories of gay men and lesbians during socialistic GDR until the fall of the Berlin Wall.  At that time they were watched carefully by the Ministry of State Security (Stasi) and even their actions in the bedroom were recorded in innumerable personal files. Based on the homosexual perspective, filmmakers Jochen Hick and Andreas Strohfeldt elucidate the political picture of the GDR, in which citizens are monitored, spied upon and whose movements are restrained. In addition, they are called upon to betray one’s own cause: homosexual emancipation. Coming out in East Berlin was concerned with politics, passion and personal toll. This film captures that as we watch an amazing documentary about love and identity in the Communist world.

 Filmmakers Jochen Hick and Andreas Strohfeldt focus on the fascinating and powerful stories of thirteen East Berliners who came to terms with their sexuality in a country strictly controlled by a single-party Marxist-Leninist government. We must understand that East Berlin was a country where spying was a part of daily life and an attempt to escape could be deadly. In the GDR’s strict ideological world, dedicated in theory to equality for all, homophobia is just under the surface of mainstream society, adding a level of complexity for gays and lesbians searching for connection and happiness. 
Through provocative, emotionally charged interviews and amazing archival discoveries and newsreel footage, “Out in East Berlin” gives us a full picture of an era, a place, and the people who lived through an emotional roller coaster of life-changing politics, sexual and otherwise. Even with the intensity of the subject here, the film captures the inspirational energy that comes when marginalized people are motivated to create a movement that matters. Each voice brings a unique and sometimes contradictory perspective. Yet the people that we hear from are bound together by the desire to be free and therefore they create an amazing film about the dangers of love in an authoritarian state, and how to find a place in the world against all odds.


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The focus is on gay men and women in the German Democratic Republic. We learn of the individual fates of several concerned as they visit places with a special meaning to them and give interviews to summarize the way they loved and were subsequently targeted by the government. The film unites the strange bedfellows of tragedy and humor  It’s really a good mix of tragedy and humor and the characters that we meet here are interesting and indeed have something to say.

This is so much more than a film with a gay theme—it looks at humanity and freedom and the characters who just happen to be gay lead us into territory we have, until now, known little about. The documentary brings together personal stories with what was once considered a workers’ paradise.

“The East German state may have officially decriminalized homosexuality in 1968, ahead of their western neighbors, but the regime remained systematically homophobic. By ordering compulsory check-ups at sexual disease clinics, they sought to monitor and control this “bourgeois perversion”. They coerced gay citizens into spying for the Stasi security services, and even sent undercover “Romeo” officers to seduce them.

As late as the mid 1980s, when a group of lesbian activists applied for official permission to commemorate LGBT victims of the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbrueck, they were arrested for “disrespecting” the dead and branded “terror lesbians.” There is no greater compliment”. We see the thin lines between victims and villains and we see veteran British campaigner Peter Tatchell recalling how he staged the Eastern Bloc’s first ever gay-rights protest almost by accident. For his troubles, he was physically attacked by both the police and his fellow left-wing Brits.

This is a film for anyone with an interest in European political and social history, particularly the failed utopia of Soviet Communism. The stories we see and hear are punctuated by archive photos and newsreel footage of life in the old East Germany and this helps us through some of the more mundane parts of the film.

“THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ”— Portrait of a Brilliant Mind

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“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz”

Portrait of a Brilliant Mind

Amos Lassen

Aaron Swartz was a brilliant guy—a programming prodigy and an information activist. He helped to develop the basic Internet protocol RSS and he was a co-founder of Reddit. He was all over the Internet but it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that found him involved in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. His story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This documentary is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

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He helped shape the digital landscape we all use today. Chronicling his pioneering efforts crusading for open access and free speech and the resulting legal nightmare and tragedy that ensued, “The Internet’s Own Boy” is a dynamic and moving portrait of a brilliant tech millionaire who renounced the values of Silicon Valley startup culture and used technology to tirelessly fight for social justice, no matter what the cost.

Gabriella Coleman, a cultural anthropologist, tells us that, “He contributed through his technical abilities, and yet it was not simply a technical matter to him.”

Technically Brian Knappenberger’s film is nothing special—he relies on a wide range of talking heads and Swartz’s old interviews via TV and web chats meshed with vintage photographs and archival footage, and its central character’s brief, turbulent, and radical existence is charted in concise chronological order. However, the film is far from a technical matter, fiercely promoting Swartz’s legacy and challenging us with the same questions its central subject was compelled to ask.

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Knappenberger follows Swartz”s from an inquisitive childhood to a technologically cognizant adolescence that remarkably found him helping to create RSS feeds and Creative Commons, two web-based conceptions specifically focusing on the Internet for its reservoir of knowledge. It was his quest for knowledge is that fuels the opinion that the World Wide Web should be a repository of information freely open to everyone. Yet, this also triggers his abruptly tragic downfall, prompting him to pirate research documents kept secured from ordinary citizens behind pay walls that would seem to violate privacy law. And while the illegality of his actions is made clear, the film also harshly critiques the punitive government investigation as merely making an “example” of him.

 We are well aware of Knappenberger’s sympathy toward Swartz so consequently, the film has no interest in offering counterpoints to its own argument, though, to be fair, we’re told that most Swartz dissenters declined to be interviewed. And for all the justifiable anger his plight engenders, the primary combatant still comes through at a remove, less a fully formed person than a pariah, seeing him more for what he did than who he was, unable to discern the precise emotional entanglements that might have brought about his death. Knappenberger is less interested in what precisely led to his death than what his death meant. This isn’t investigative journalism, but urgent advocacy filmmaking. Swartz’s mantra declared that “everything you learn is provisional,” suggesting one’s belief system can be remodeled with new information. The film commiserates a loss, but also effectively appeals for enlightenment, asking us to hear and consider what Swartz championed, which is a worthy testament to this young man’s legacy.

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 Swartz was a charming and selfless information prodigy that strived to use his talent to make this a freer and better world for which he ended up paying for with his life. Aaron Swartz was born in Chicago, the middle son, of successful middle-class Jewish parents. Inquisitive from birth, he taught himself to read by the age of three and by the time he reached high school he had trouble with his  teachers because he felt that they taught him less than what he could learn from a book in “about an hour”. At 13 he won a competition for young people who created non-commercial websites for which the prize included a trip to M.I.T.  From then on, there was no looking back for him.

 He then played a major part in the development of the basic Internet protocol RSS and also co-founded Reddit which became the most popular social news website in the world. His work brought fame in the online communities and also wealth (when Reddit was sold) but this affable young man couldn’t have been less interested in either. What did excite him was social justice and political organizing that focused on working to free up inaccessible information online that he believed belonged in the public domain and should be available to all without charge.   It was what would prove to be his undoing in time.

 Without Swartz’s involvement it is most unlikely that the Stop Online Piracy Act would have been defeated in Congress, but when he set about copying almost 5 million academic articles from JSTOR (Journal Storage) Database at M.I.T. and it was here that events did not go his way. Swartz maintained that since these articles had been financed from public funds they should be freely available. When he was caught, JSTOR chose not press any charges but the Federal Government did and very aggressively pursued Swartz and indicted him with a total of 13 felonies. To its shame, M.I.T. just stood on sidelines and did nothing.

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 The beauty of this wonderful documentary of this extraordinary young man is that the director makes a concerted effort to show not only why the online community was in awe of his seemingly unlimited talent, but by including his very supportive and proud family and friends. In this way, he showed what an exceptionally nice person Swartz was too. This very unassuming man was magnanimous and both reserved and quiet but he seemed to blossom as more people called on him to help. He was a passionate thinker who used the same logical approach he employed when programming also in how tackled any social injustice he came across.

Why he took his own life is never really explained in the movie, but what is very clear from listening to all the evidence is that was a wasted life cut short. However his memory just doesn’t live on with his loved ones, and with the online community who are in awe of all his inventions and achievements, but also last year in Congress a Bill was introduced to finally reform the ambiguous and outdated Anti-Hacking Law that the Government used so mercilessly against him. The Bill is called Aaron’s Law, as well it should be.

Even if hackers like  Swartz are still a problem for us to reconcile in real life, “maybe it is in the movies, with their capacity to empathize with the outré, their ability to present difficult, morally prismatic antiheroes, that we can properly come to terms with them”. Today’s world has been shaped by complex agents of change like  Assange and Snowden and  we may need movies to help us comprehend our shades of gray.

“MONDO HOMO”— French Gay Porn In the ‘70s

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“MONDO HOMO”

French Gay Porn In the ‘70s

Amos Lassen

Try to remember back to the 1970s when most of the gay porn available to us was imported from France; when there were no condoms and no shaved trimmed pubes. “Mondo Homo” is a documentary filled with nostalgia and takes us back to some wonderfully artistic films and some very filthy ones. Obviously they were made by horny directors who take a simple visit to the doctor and make it wildly erotic.

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We saw fantasies of all sorts starring men of all nationalities, sizes and colors. It was the imaginations of the filmmakers that made porn what it was and now these same people reflect on their productions and what was then known as underground cinema. The productions were crude and carried tiles such as “Young Prey for Bad Boys” and “Hand Balling” (no more discreet than say “Shaving Ryan’s Privates” or “Forrest Rump”). And we the viewers where so glad to see our sexuality on the big screen. The porn provocateurs took their cues from the masters of the “Nouvelle Vague” as they shot outdoors and on locations. They adheres to the motto of La Belle France, “liberty, equality, and fraternity” and indeed help to kick off the gay liberation movement while introducing audiences to water sports, facials, and fisting (in a scene rejected by censors as “an affront to human decency”). 
This is both  a fascinating look back at an important chapter in gay porn history and a total turn-on with its archival clips of “orgiastic writhing among big bears, leather daddies, and tender hooligans”.

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Between 1975 and 1983 a new kind of film could be seen in French cinema— homegrown gay pornography. They were essentially the work of three production companies: Les films de La Troika (Norbert Terry), AMT Productions (Anne-Marie Tensi) and Les Films du Vertbois (principally Jacques Scandelari). The genre met an untimely end with the advent of video, the last being made in 1983 ‘Mon ami, mon amour (My friend, my lover)’. The films were shot in 16mm and most of them were passed and given certificates by the CNC (National Cinema Centre). They were screened in a small number of Parisian cinemas dedicated to gay pornographic film—- Le Dragon, La Marotte and Le Hollywood Boulevard as well as several in the provinces. Sexy, sexual and oftentimes very explicit, “Mondo Homo” shows the progression of pornography as it builds from soft-core to fetish. An interesting history lesson here is told by many men who are still around to tell us how it was.  For people into history, the filmmakers uncovered a lot of early scenes from film archives and this certainly is a great way to see some of the roots of pornography, much of which crossed over to the United States.

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“Mondo Homo” is the result of five years of painstaking research and investigation. It features extensive interviews with the directors and actors illustrated by numerous extracts from their films. This is an opportunity to discover the hitherto forgotten yet memorable story of the pioneers of French gay cinema.

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