Monthly Archives: June 2019

“Half Moon Street” by Alex Reeve— A Literary Surprise

Reeve, Alex. “Half Moon Street, (Leo Stanhope #1)”, Felony & Mayhem, 2019.

A Literary Surprise

Amos Lassen

As most of you can imagine, I get plenty of books every week but very few make me sit up and take notice. Now that does not mean that there is no good writing out there because there is and, of course, I have my own criteria for what will be great literature and I am as often wrong as I am right on this. Just imagine how boring it would be if we all liked the same thing. Even with that, I have a feeling that we will keep hearing about Alex Reeve.

I am generally not much of a mystery reader and for me to like a mystery is difficult. But then there is Alex Reeve who pulled me in on the first page and kept me going long after I finished the book. Set in 1880, we meet Leo Stanhope, a guy with great dreams and empty pockets. His dreams include  setting up house with Maria, his prostitute girlfriend and he dreams of getting of London and as far away from dead bodies as possible. Leo works at the morgue where he confronts blood and stink every day. He also dreams of a world

Like half the young men in London, Leo Stanhope is rich in dreams but poor of pocket. He dreams of making a home with Maria, the prostitute he loves. He dreams of a life far from the blood and stink of the morgue where he works. And he dreams of a world where no one cares about gender. You see, Leo has a secret that can lock him away in prison for life if he is not killed before that. However, Maria was killed instead, and Leo is the prime suspect. He is determined and desperate to clear his name and find the murderer but to do so, he is forced to make important sacrifices—  his books, his job, his home.

Leo was born Charlotte, but he knew he was meant to be a man despite his body saying otherwise. He ran away when he was just 15 and has lived as Leo since that day. Very few people knew about his original identity. 
Now with Maria dead and Leo accused of her murder, he lost the woman he loves, and now could lose his freedom and, ultimately, his life.

Alex Reeve is an amazing writer especially when we consider that he had create an atmosphere, draw characters and a plot that all work together.

It did not take long for Leo to understand that he barely knew Maria and her funeral gives Leo an opportunity to see and meet others from her life, including the brothel owner, a man who claims family connections with the powerful Bentinck family and his bookkeeper, Miss Nancy Gainsford. Before long, Leo is arrested as the main suspect for Maria’s murder by the police, but he is released after behind the scenes pressure is put on them. As Leo meets more and more people who knew Maria, he feels betrayed, begins to learn about human trafficking, and the misery and horror of it.  The mystery goes on but I want to leave that I can’t slip and give something away. It is important that we see Leo’s vulnerability  and how he has to live with the risks and dangers of being transgender in unenlightened times. He is forced to reinforce a self-protective barrier between himself and the world. There is a lot of brutality, abuse and rape in the novel.

Reeve wonderfully captures the  atmosphere of the times and I became so involved in reading that before I realized it, the sun rose and I was sitting in the same place I sat twelve hours earlier. The book was on my lap, closed but the story remained fresh in my mind and o it still is today. I must admit that I fell in love with Leo a bit and the good news is that he will be back in a series of books beginning in the fall of 2020.

 

“I’M FINE”: Season 3 July 25th Premiere on Dekkoo


“I’M FINE”: Season 3

July 25th Premiere on Dekkoo

 The final season of I’M FINE follows Nate and his band of friends as they continue to splinter off into their own journeys as other friendships develop. This season tackles themes of identity, monogamy, shame and the gay generational divide. Jeff progresses in his relationship with Zachary, revealing aspects of a past he was hardly prepared to grapple with himself. Nicole entertains an unexplored interest in women through an alluring new coworker, while Andy and Brian rekindle things with the possibility of a third. Mick continues to unabashedly be himself, figuring out his place in L.A. quicker than most. And lastly, after searching for himself and landing in a place of comfort, Nate gets an unexpected newcomer into his life, an older gentleman who challenges everything he thought he knew about himself and relationships.  Could this force him to make a big decision about his future in a city he finally learned to call home?

CREATOR COMMENTS – BRANDON KIRBY:

MOVING ON FROM ME: I’M FINE SEASON 3 

Working on I’M FINE has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and it’s all thanks to my creative IM FINE family I’ve been able to cultivate over these past three years.

This series began over a break up, as the cliche now says, all gay web series are about a breakup. And back in 2016, IM FINE was no exception. I used my heartbreak as a creative outlet to create Nate, a fictionalized version of myself brought to life by Perry Powell, who imbued the character with so much unexpected depth that I soon realized this character and this story would go quickly go beyond any real life touch points.

Season one was a project squeezed in on weekends, shooting an episode a day over saturdays and Sundays in the summer of 2016. We were able to move fast thanks to the brilliance of my DP Andrew Ceperley and the exceptional skill and recourses my entire cast & crew brought everyday.

After we threw up the first few episodes on Vimeo, lgbt streaming service Dekkoo soon thereafter took notice and expressed interest in producing further episodes. I was in no position to say no, so I gladly accepted their offer and never looked back.

Now in 2019, we have wrapped post production on season 3 and can look back on years of hard work. The show’s cast and crew, lovingly dubbed the I’m Fine family, grew into a tight knit group of creative collaborators who took on extra responsibilities in the third season.

The first two seasons were largely about Nate, while introducing a colorful and vibrant cast of supporting characters. We expanded on their stories in season 2 while still maintaining Nate as the central focal point of these characters’ lives. And so, for season 3 I decided it was time to move even further past this show’s origin.

Nate became a supporting character in his own story, and the stories of the supporting cast became centerpieces. Their stories were completely independent and didn’t rely on Nate for their importance. As it works in real life with friendships, sometimes as we get older, groups spread apart while still acknowledging each other in their lives. And I wanted to reflect this pattern of friendships coming-of-age in season 3.

And with this also came the most important aspect of all, which was expanding the stories beyond just myself and my perspective. Season 1 and 2 are populated with fictional characters drawn from inspiration of people in my real life. And so with season 3, I opened it up to my collaborators to tell stories. My insanely talented producers wrote and co-wrote scripts, my DP and several actors directed episodes, while I helmed the ship and admired the stories they were bringing to the table.

For this series, it was time for me to take a step back and fully embrace the I’m Fine family, and what we ended up coming up with for season 3, I can’t wait for everyone to see it.    

“I’M FINE is definitely one of our most popular episodic series. The decision to end the series now was a story-telling decision. We let Brandon Kirby tell the story he wanted to tell. He always felt 3-seasons was the proper length for the story.  We couldn’t be more proud of the success the series has had and we’re honored to have it part of the Dekkoo library.”  – Brian Sokel / Dekkoo President

BIOGRAPHIES:

BRANDON KIRBY – CREATOR

Brandon Kirby is the creator, writer and director of the Dekkoo original series I’M FINE, the third and final season of which releases this year. He also served as producer on the Dekkoo short film FACES and the Revry short film HE DRINKS, with more projects currently in production. Having graduated from Michigan State University, he began his career in L.A. seven years ago and is currently gaining his Master’s degree from Loyola Marymount University. In his spare time, he serves as co-host on the film podcast MOVIES IMO and is involved with fundraising efforts through AIDS/LifeCycle and Outfest.

 

FRANKIE A. RODRIGUEZ

Frankie A. Rodriguez has worked in television and film for the last four years and can be seen in the guest-starring role of Eduardo on ABC’s “Modern Family” and Dekkoo’s Original series “I’m Fine”.  Now cast as series regular on the Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical,” Rodriguez plays Carlos — captain of the color guard and the student choreographer for the show. Originally from central California, when he was five years old, Frankie dreamed of becoming a background dancer for Jennifer Lopez. That same dream still stands today.

 

LEE DOUD 

After graduating from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television with a degree in acting, Lee Doud began pursuing his professional endeavors in Hollywood. Along with Dekkoo Original “I’m Fine”, Lee’s TV credits include Showtime’s “Californication”, “House of Lies”, “Last Man Standing”, and upcoming thriller “Dark/Web”. On the film side, he can also be seen in SXSW hit “KTown Cowboys”. As a producer, Doud worked on short film “Another Stupid Day”, followed by feature film “The Amateur” with the same team. “The Amateur” can currently be streamed on Amazon Prime. Lee is inspired by storytelling that can help make a difference in the world by representing different points of views or ways of life. 

 

ULYSSES MORAZAN 

ULYSSES MORAZAN plays Brain in Dekkoo’s Original series I’m Fine. He can also be seen playing Abel in Somebody Else, an official selection at the 2019 Outfest Fusion’s Festival and last year got play alongside Angela Kinsey in Sherry a 2018 California’s Women Film Festival Selection for best comedy short. Other credits includes BuzzFeed’s “You Do Two” and “Lesbian Princess.”  He currently studies at The Groundlings Theater and School and loves it!  

 

PERRY POWELL

Perry Powell is a performer and art director based in Los Angeles. He has starred in dozens of plays and short films and created designs for clients including HBO, NBC, Comic Con, The LA Philharmonic Orchestra, Invertigo Dance Theatre, The Party By Ostbahnhof, Lightning in a Bottle, & Alaska Thunderf*ck. I’m Fine is his first experience leading a web series. 

 

WILL BRANSKE 

“Will Branske is an actor and photographer living in Los Angeles, CA.  He has appeared in a number of short films, commercials, and web series’ since moving to LA and is continuing to put out content involving/documenting the queer community of today.  He is so happy to have been involved with “I’m Fine” and to have directed an episode of Season 3.  You can see him as one of the lead characters in an upcoming web series titled ‘The Spins’ and his photography work on his instagram @willbranske.” 

  

JENNIFER DEFILIPPO 

Jennifer DeFilippo is an actress and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She has appeared in numerous television shows and films, as well as many national commercial campaigns. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Loyola Marymount University, she furthered her training in improv comedy at prestigious schools such as The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Second City. Jennifer has performed on television shows such as Modern FamilyMasters of Sex, ParenthoodShamelessNew Girl, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. She’s recurred in the Dannon Oikos Yogurt campaign opposite John Stamos and “fell from heaven” in the well-received AT&T Commercial opposite Karan Soni. Jennifer has also had the pleasure of working with directors such as William H. Macy, John Putch, and Larry Charles.

“Pride: A Celebration in Quotes” by Caitlyn McNeill— Inspiring Quotes and Words of Wisdom

McNeill, Caitlyn.  “Pride: A Celebration in Quotes”, Sterling, 2019.

Inspiring Quotes and Words of Wisdom

Amos Lassen

 In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Pride Parade,  Caitlyn McNeill’s “Pride: A Collection of Quotes”  brings us inspiring words of wisdom on loving ourselves as we truly are. 
 
“These thoughtfully selected quotations are the perfect way to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the first Pride parade.” They are taken from throughout history and come from a variety of voices and celebrate everything the LGBT community has achieved, “looking at inclusivity across the board and reminding us that love is one of the world’s greatest powers.”

“There has never been a better collection of quotes about pride–from around the world, throughout history, and from a variety of people from all walks of life. From Mayor Pete to Walt Whitman and Anaïs Nin; from Dolly Parton, Lena Waithe, and Tan France to Marsha P. Johnson, David Jay, and Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin (and activists from Taiwan, Palestine, the Philippines, Belgium, Uganda, India, and more), this is an amazing compendium of quoted material on everything from personal pride to global struggle, and a perfect gift for anyone who wants to learn about and celebrate pride, whether it’s this month or any time throughout the year.”

Quotes include: 
 
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.” —Barack Obama
 
“I’ve never been interested in being invisible and erased.” —Laverne Cox
 
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

“The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America” by Charles Kaiser— Struggle and Triumph

Kaiser, Charles. “The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America”, Grove Press, 2019 reprint.

Struggle and Triumph

Amos Lassen

 Charles Kaiser’s “The Gay Metropolis” is the story of the struggle and triumph of the LGBT movement in this country.  When first published fifty years ago, it was recognized as the most authoritative and substantial work of its kind. Now, for the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings, Charles Kaiser brings this history into the twenty-first century in this new edition in which he covers the three court cases that lead to the revolutionary legalization of gay marriage in America. He also includes the shifts toward inclusion in mainstream pop culture, with the Oscar winning films “Brokeback Mountain” and “Call Me By Your Name”.

The book is filled with amazing anecdotes and tales of heartbreak and transformation as it moves forward decade by decade presenting  the rise and acceptance of gay life and identity since the 1940s. We have a fascinating cast of characters that includes Leonard Bernstein, Montgomery Clift, Alfred Hitchcock, John F. Kennedy, and RuPaul. We read as gay people come into their own and out of the mire of fear and self-hatred. There are also many surprises like the story of Otis Bigelow who was known as the most handsome man in New York of the 1940s and desired by so many men who said that being gay “was an upscale thing to be”, but at the same time just “across town from Park Avenue there was a completely different kind of gay life was in Times Square. Here is New York City, a melting pot of cultures, where each culture wants to reclaim their identity. In the ’40s, we were hidden in plain sight and anonymity was the way to live. In the ’40s, the general opinion was that, you could be gay but you could not  flaunt it. One of them cite a certain Mrs. Patrick Campbell who said “My dear, I don’t care what people do as long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses”.

In a period when civil rights were starting to be a common agenda of many politicians, it was not the same when those rights regarded LGBT people. You were free inside your private home, (if you were wealthy enough to have that safe home), but you were also captive of your own golden cage.

During World War II, we read about those men who remained (or went back) into the closet, not for the fear of being discovered, but to avoid to be refused the chance to protect their country as soldiers. We reach the ’50s, a period of euphoria when being gay was dangerous, and was hidden; if in the ’40s you could be gay inside private walls, in the ’50s even that freedom was a danger, and the closet developed as a symbol of a safe place. As for many others, gays became the target of a witch hunt. Maybe for this reason, late in the ’50s the main tendency was to “blend” and you see gays people getting married, with or without the knowledge of the wife.

With the ’60s came a surge of consciences, in all levels of society and among gays and lesbians as well. New York saw not only the first religious congregation for gays, but also Columbia University was one of the first colleges to give formal recognition to a gay students organization. Homosexuality left the closet and television saw a ground-breaking documentary, “The Homosexuals”.

Stonewall bridges the ’60s and the ’70s and from that moment on there will be always a pre and post-Stonewall gay and lesbian movement and culture: “although millions would remain in the closet, within a year after Stonewall, thousands of men and women would find the courage to declare themselves for the first time”. Suddenly, being gay, or at least bisexual, was in style, and in many media, television, cinema, publishing, the gay characters not only started to make their appearance, they were also, sometime, positively accepted by the mainstream public. And also Forster’s Maurice came out of the closet. The ’70 see the sexual revolution, a sexual revolution that happened also within the LGBT community.

The ’80s and the beginning of the ’90 are the Dark Ages of the LGBT community with AIDS killing so many that an entire generation was lost. “New York had far more AIDS cases than any other city in America”. It’s painful to read this part of the book and it becomes more and more painful when you think about it.

The ’90s  bring us the LGBT community entering politics and starting to put their weight on those politicians who represent them. Writer Kaiser brings to life the men he writes about and he shares their dreams, fears, love and betrayals.

Kaiser’s book is a chronology of planned and deliberate oppression against gay men and women- not only by politicians and psychiatrists, but also by Christian churches. We gain a better understanding of LGBT community and reading it again fifty years later then the first time lets me see its relevance and importance.

“Fire Island Photographs” by Alex Gesna— Ode to Fire Island

Geana, Alex. “Fire Island: Photographs”,  with a Foreword by  Gonzalo Casals,   Glitterati Incorporated, 2019.

Ode to Fire Island

Amos Lassen

Just out in time for Pride is Alex Geana’s exquisitely photographed ode to the spirit of gay life in The Pines on Fire Island. The photos capture the uniqueness and the sense of place that makes the island so special

Shot over a four-year span, “Fire Island: Photographs” tells the story of The Pines from legendary pool parties to all-night dancing on the beach. Geana who is a fashion photographer in the commercial world, brings his unique ability to simultaneously capture elegance and lifestyle with his lens. He distills the essence of The Pines in this glamorous and expansive body of photographic work. His pictures reflect the happiness and joy the gay community in a place where everyone can be free to express their individuality and sexuality. We see freedom of expression, the uniqueness and sense of place in every picture. Here is a document of Fire Island from the Pines Party to the Meat Rack that also show how global warming is affecting the experience by bringing attention to the preservation needs of this special place.

 

 

“FM”— Late-70s US Radio

“FM”

Late-70s US Radio.

Amos Lassen

Jeff Dugan (Michael Brandon) is the ultra-cool program director at Q-SKY Radio, Los Angeles’s number one rock station. He encourages a free-wheeling culture at work and has hired quite a group  of eccentric DJ personalities: Mother (Eileen Brennan), a husky, world-weary ex-hippie; Eric Swan (Martin Mull), a mad-cap romantic looking for love played by Alex Karris, and The Prince of Darkness (Cleavon Little), a cool cat who keeps the night-time airwaves alive. When the station’s future becomes doubtful because corporate bosses are looking to cash-in, the Q-SKY troupe is forced to find a way to keep their jobs.

John A. Alonzo directed this film that brings together hilarious studio happenings epic footage of Linda Ronstadt and Jimmy Buffett in concert. The film’s soundtrack includes songs by Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, Eagles and Tom Petty (who also cameos). Digitally remastered, FM is released on blu-ray with many exciting new extras.

When the staff goes on strike, crowns form to support their stand against corporate hypocrisy and they are standing up for hipsters everywhere, telling the Establishment where it can get off. The throngs are so fired with admiration that they are on the verge of rioting, when suddenly the much-beloved station manager, Jeff Dugan makes a plea for sanity and brotherhood. The strikers will give up, he says sadly. He promises, “we’ll give you what you want and if we can’t do it here, we’ll do it someplace else. From the crowd, the station owner yells back, “No you won’t!” He is been so moved by his staff’s honesty, integrity and general panache that he is now willing to let them do everything just as they please.

This is a movie about rock that tries to stick it to the man with some of the safest, least revolutionary music ever recorded. When The corporate execs  demand that Q-Sky play less music and air more commercials, including one designed to get mellow Californians to join the Army, the staff strikes and   barricade themselves in the station and lead a protest by playing their music without commercials.

The DJs spent most of their time playing songs by such noted rockers as Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel, and REO Speedwagon and Q-Sky’s attempts to secretly broadcast a Linda Ronstadt concert that is being sponsored by a rival station.  

Michael Brandon is one of the most uninteresting incarnations of the ’70s anti-hero as the head of QSKY, a rock station that prides itself on non-commerciality. The central, never-addressed mystery of “FM” is that it does so while its DJs play the sounds of the times.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements

  Uncompressed stereo 2.0 PCM audio soundtrack

  Mono 1.0 music and effects track

  Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  No Static at All, a newly filmed interview with Michael Brandon, the star of FM

  Radio Chaos, a newly filmed interview with Ezra Sacks, the writer of FM

  The Spirit of Radio, a newly filmed video appreciation of the era of FM radio and the FM soundtrack by the film and music critic Glenn Kenny

  Extensive gallery of original stills, promotional images and soundtrack sleeves

  Original trailers

  Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options

  FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer and critic Paul Corupe

“AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT: Volume 2”— 3-Disc Limited Edition

“AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT: Volume 2”

3-Disc Limited Edition

Amos Lassen

I love whiling away time with a good horror film and I really love “American Horror Story: Volume 2” because it gives me three good horror stories.  Volume 2 continues Arrow Films’ “mission to unearth the very best in weird and wonderful horror obscura from the golden age of US independent genre moviemaking”. This second volume in its American Horror Project series was co-curated by author Stephen Thrower (“Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents”). 

We start off with a little-seen 1970 film, “Dream No More” from underrated cult auteur John Hayes (“Grave of the Vampire”, “Garden of the Dead”), “Dream No Evil” is a haunting, moving tale of a young woman s desperate quest to be reunited with her long-lost father only to find herself drawn into a fantasyland of homicidal madness. “Dark August” (1976) stars Academy Award-winner Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire) in a story of a man pursued by a terrifying and deadly curse in the wake of a hit-and-run accident. Harry Novak-produced “The Child” (1977) is horror mayhem in which a young girl raises an army of the dead against the people she holds responsible for her mother s death. 

All three films having been newly remastered from the best surviving film elements and are on Blu ray for the first time,. There is also an abundance of  supplementary material.  “American Horror Project Volume Two” gives us  “another fascinating and blood-chilling foray into the deepest, darkest corners of stars-and-stripes terror.” 

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

  Brand new 2K restorations from original film elements 

  High Definition Blu-ray presentation

  Original uncompressed PCM mono audio

  English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  Reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil

  American Horror Project Journal Vol. II limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Stephen R. Bissette, Travis Crawford and Amanda Reyes 

DREAM NO EVIL 

  Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower

  Brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan 

  Hollywood After Dark: The Early Films of John Hayes, 1959-1971 brand new video essay by Stephen Thrower looking at Hayes’ filmography leading up to Dream No Evil

  Writer Chris Poggiali on the prodigious career of celebrated character actor Edmond O’Brien

  Excerpts from an audio interview with actress Rue McClanahan (The Golden Girls) discussing her many cinematic collaborations with director John Hayes

DARK AUGUST

  Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower

  Brand new audio commentary with writer-director Martin Goldman

  Brand new on-camera interview with Martin Goldman

  Brand new on-camera interview with producer Marianne Kanter 

  The Hills Are Alive: Dark August and Vermont Folk Horror author and artist Stephen R. Bissette on Dark August and its context within the wider realm of genre filmmaking out of Vermont

  Original Press Book THE CHILD 1.37:1 and 1.85:1 presentations of the feature Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower Brand new audio commentary with director Robert Voskanian and producer Robert Dadashian, moderated by Stephen Thrower Brand new on-camera interviews with Robert Voskanian and Robert Dadashian Original Theatrical Trailer Original Press Book

“PIXELIA”— Realization and Acceptance

 


“PIXELIA”

Realization and Acceptance

Amos Lassen

Kumar is a 30-year-old bachelor who leaves his corporate job in Kochi to follow his dream of being an artist. He begins a new life as an Uber driver while working on an original graphic novel, ‘Pixelia’. One day a passenger, a transgender woman, Mandakini, gets into his cab and changes Kumar’s life forever. Kumar and Mandakini spend the whole day together and as they do, they opening each other’s minds. Mandakini shares her past life and desire to adopt a child, while Kumar tells her the story of his graphic novel. They develop a special bond and Kumar realizes his own queer identity. Their story is told to us with a stylized blend of documentary and magical realism and we understand that it is about the fragmentation of daily life and the longing to connect.

It really comes across like a documentary in that it feels so real but that could also be because we want the story to be real. We gain pleasure from beautiful stories and often want to include them in our own lives.

Ratheesh Ravindam beautifully directed this heartwarming story that resonates since we have all looked for connection and connection brings acceptance. We also see that there is such a thing as love at first site. Kumar and Mandakini in the course of just one day share their dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Kumar, a corporate employee turned graphic novelist meets a transgender named Mandakini and they share their hopes, views and dreams. As they enter into a relationship they find hardships to fulfill their desire to adopt a baby so we also see the hard realities of life.

“NIGHT OUT”— Saturday Night in Berlin

 “Night Out”

Saturday Night in Berlin

Amos Lassen

Greek director, Stratos Tzitzis’ “Night Out” takes us to Berlin on a Saturday night where we meet a mix of hetero and gay singles, couples and polyamorous pairs all looking for  fun and satisfaction. They explore both the city and their relationships for different reasons. They become part of the heart of a frenetic night where anything goes. Berlin’s infamous nightlife has always inspire filmmakers from all over the world yet this is a new attempt to capture the one thing that seems to be the city’s main trademark.

This film is centered on the more lustful aspects of the nightlife. The characters wanders off into the night from house parties, etc.  and enter sex shops visits and go to street parades, to dance sessions by the river and to underground punk concerts. As the day comes to a close,  they end up at the KitKat Club and are wearing much less clothing than when they set out.

On Saturday nights in Berlin, the city comes to life. Art gallery owner Felix (Thomas Kellner) shows his star artist Michael (Martin Moeller) and his enterprising wife Sarah (Alexandra Zoe) the hottest clubs, while Lena (Sulaika Lindemann) and her lover Ingrid meet the Syrian Amir, whose initial shyness irritates her to ever new erotic games. Martha (Mara Scherzinger) and Sebastian (Jenz Weber) try to find an investor in the nightlife and the young Layla (Katerina Clark) searches in the clubs for the father of her unborn child. During a night of dancing in the sex club KIT KAT, their paths cross and unravel as they take part in a party which none of them will ever forget ..

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With a few nice scenes on gender diversity and, of course, the nightlife that seems so important to Berlin, I was reminded of the decadence of Berlin before the second World War. We see liberation with those who went to the clubs but we also see the morbidity of a city that is overburdened. We sense that once the fun is coming to end , it degenerates into debauchery and tastelessness. A problem I had was not getting to know the characters. We do not get their background stories so all we know is what we see in the 88 minute length  of “Night Out”, the individual characters are not brought into a multi-layered causal connection with the celebrations, which are beyond the search for fun and sexual innovation. They seem completely detached from it, as if it were an essential coincidence that in the end all characters end up in KitKat.

The locations and nor t the characters are in the  foreground are not the characters. We see Berlin through her clubs and this can be a bitmonotonous . The image of Berlin and the party scene is that  everyone is welcome, everyone can have fun and everyone can find something. The film revolves around itself as a city with big nightlife.  We do not develop understanding, attraction or dislike for the film. We experience the film but I doubt that this will stay with us.

FILM MOVEMENT PLUS CELEBRATES PRIDE MONTH 

FILM MOVEMENT PLUS CELEBRATES PRIDE MONTH

WITH THE STREAMING PREMIERE OF GENDER TRANSITION DOC, COBY, ALONG WITH AN INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION OF ACCLAIMED LGBTQ CINEMA

Among other Gay Cinema Classics in the Specially-Curated FM+ Collection Are BENT, Starring Clive Owen and Ian McKellen, Derek Jarman’s EDWARD II, Arvin Chen’s WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW and More

Facebook Linkhttps://youtu.be/J37KPOsq9z8

This June, join streaming platform FILM MOVEMENT PLUS to celebrate Pride Month with the streaming premiere of COBY, an acclaimed doc that Queer Guru.com says “makes an important contribution to the continuing dialogue on transitioning, and is also a thoroughly entertaining documentary.” In addition to COBY, the Pride Month collection includes an international assortment of award-winning gay cinema, from the powerful Holocaust-set drama BENT, starring Clive Owen and Ian McKellen, and Derek Jarman’s iconic New Queer Cinema classic EDWARD II to XXY, Lucia Puenzo’s coming-of-age tale, a Cannes Critic’s Week Grand Prize winner.

In COBY, in a small town deep in the American Midwest, Suzanna begins a gender transition and becomes a boy: Coby. Coby’s transformation deeply impacts the lives the lives of all who love him – and each member of this tight-knit family must confront their own preconceived notions of gender and sexuality. Combining excerpts from Coby’s video dairy with candid, heartfelt interviews from his closet friends and family – Christian Sonderegger’s debut feature is an intimate and sensitive look at timely subject. Ultimately, Coby’s journey morphs into the transformation of a whole family compelled by love to modify their own perspectives. Stefan Dobroiu of Cineuropa says, “This story of a gender revolution takes place in the living room of an ordinary American family. It is difficult to find such a personal subject yet capable of touching and speaking to the whole society.”

 

Continue to celebrate Pride Month with FM+’s acclaimed collection of LGBTQ films from around the world, including:

 

BENT (1997, 105 mins., UK/Japan, dir. Sean Mathias) — In 1930s Berlin, Max (Clive Owen) sleeps with German SA officer Wolf (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), only to see him killed by his fellow Nazis the next morning as part of the Night of the Long Knives. Refusing an offer of new papers from his Uncle Freddie (Ian McKellan) for fear of leaving his boyfriend Rudy behind, Max and Rudy are found by the Gestapo, to whom Max lies about his homosexuality and his relationship with Rudy. Bound for the Dachau concentration camp, Max will have to reckon with his identity, and his dignity, in the face of terrible persecution. The cast also includes Lothaire Bluteau, Mick Jagger, Brian Webber, with cameos by Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Paul Bettany.

 

BLUSH (2015, 85 mins., Israel, dir. Michal Vinik) — 17-year-old Naama spends most of her free time drinking and partying in the hopes of escaping from her parents’ constant bickering, worsened by the recent disappearance of her AWOL soldier sister. When a free-spirited new girl shows up at school, Naama falls deeply in love for the first time and the intensity of the experience at once confuses her and gives her life new meaning. BLUSH was an Official Selection at film festivals in San Sebastian, Warsaw, Reykavik and Chicago, among others.

 

THE CHAMBERMAID LYNN (2014, 90 mins., Germany, dir. Ingo Haeb) – Lynn (Vicky Krieps) is the most meticulous chambermaid in her hotel, leaving no shelf undusted, no sheet untucked. Crippled by shyness, she rummages through guests’ belongings and even hides under their beds, vicariously experiencing their conversations, meals and discreet interludes. After clandestinely observing an S&M session, Lynn discovers the phone number of the call girl, Chiara. Bold and unrestrained, Chiara soon draws Lynn out of her shell, opening her up to a new kind of passion she had only dreamed about as a voyeur.

 

THE COUNTRY TEACHER (2008, 113 mins., Czech Rep., dir. Bohdan Sláma) — A gifted young teacher takes a job teaching natural sciences at a grammar school in the country. Here he makes the acquaintance of a woman and her troubled 17-year old son. The teacher has no romantic interest in the woman but they quickly form a strong friendship, each recognizing the other’s uncertainties, hopes and longing for love. When the teacher’s ex-boyfriend comes to visit from the city, he quickly realizes that nobody in the village knows that the teacher is gay and harbors a secret affection for the teenage boy. His jealous actions set in motion a series of events that will test the inner strength and compassion of the teacher, the woman and her son to a breaking point.

 

EDWARD II (1991, 90 mins., UK, dir. Derek Jarman) — In this new restoration of the iconic New Queer Cinema classic, Derek Jarman offers a postmodern take on Christopher Marlowe’s Elizabethan drama. Pleasure-seeking King Edward II sets the stage for a palace revolt by taking as a lover the ambitious Piers Gaveston – who uses his favor in bed to wield political influence – sending the gay pair from the throne to a terminal torture dungeon. This landmark of gay cinema features an incredible performance from Jarman muse and Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) as Edward’s spurned Queen Isabella and a rare film appearance by singer Annie Lennox.

 

IN THE NAME OF (2012, 102 mins., Poland, dir. Malgośka Szumowska) – Adam is a Catholic priest who discovered his calling as a servant of God at the relatively late age of 21. He now lives in a village in rural Poland where he works with teenagers with behavioral problems who fight and yell abuse. He declines the advances of a young blonde named Ewa, saying he is already spoken for. However, celibacy is not the only reason for his rejection. Adam knows that he desires men and that his embrace of the priesthood has been a flight from his own sexuality. When he meets Lukasz, the strange and taciturn son of a simple rural family, Adam’s self-imposed abstinence becomes a heavy burden. During its festival run, IN THE NAME OF won a prestigious Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival and a Golden Angel at Tofifest.

 

NUDE AREA (2014, 78 mins., Netherlands/Poland, dir. Urszula Antoniak) -In a series of 15 vignettes, NUDE AREA tells the sensual and seductive story of a forbidden love between two very different girls living in Amsterdam. Dutch teenager Naomi hails from posh Amsterdam South. Fama is a beautiful Middle Eastern girl from the poor quarters of Amsterdam East. They meet each other in the nude area of a female only sauna where nudity means equality.

 

WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW? (2013, 106 mins, Taiwan, dir. Arvin Chen) -In this madcap and lighthearted comedic romp, introverted optometrist Weichung begins to question his marriage with his wife Feng, upon learning of her desire to have another baby. At his sister’s engagement party, Weichung bumps into an old friend, Stephen, a wedding photographer who, though also married, is living the high life of a younger, single gay man. When Stephen teases Weichung for his newly straightlaced lifestyle, dormant emotions are awakened in Weichung, setting him off on a quest for true romance and desire.

 

XXY (2007, 91 mins., Argentina, dir. Lucia Puenzo) – For just about everybody, adolescence means having to confront a number of choices and life decisions, but rarely any as monumental as the one facing 15 year-old Alex (Ines Efron,) who was born an intersex child.  As Alex begins to explore her sexuality, her mother invites friends from Buenos Aires to come for a visit at their house on the gorgeous Uruguayan shore, along with their 16-year-old son Álvaro (Martin Piroyanski.) Alex is immediately attracted to the young man, which adds yet another level of complexity to her personal search for identity, and forces both families to face their worst fears. XXY captured the Grand Prize during Cannes Critic’s Week, as well as Best Film at the Goya Awards and Athens International Film Festival.

 

YOU WILL BE MINE (2009, 100 mins., France dir. Sophie Laloy) — Marie Dandin (Judith Davis), a promising young concert pianist, leaves home to study at the prestigious Lyons National Conservatory. Shy and innocent, she moves in with her childhood friend Emma (Isild Le Besco) who has lived alone since the death of her father years earlier. The intimate bond that the two women share eventually develops into an intense sexual relationship. But as Emma grows more possessive and controlling, Marie struggles to reconcile her feelings of desire with the need to escape Emma’s suffocating passion.

About FILM MOVEMENT PLUS

 

FILM MOVEMENT PLUS opens up a world of provocative, compelling and award-winning films from Film Movement’s singular library. Priced at $5.99 per month with a free 14-day trial, the SVOD subscription service, currently available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, mobile (iOS and Android), and Chromecast, offers consumers immediate access to 250 festival favorite feature films and 100 short films, including: THEEB, the 2016 Academy Award® nominee for Best Foreign Film; AFTER THE STORM, a powerful family drama from 2018 Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda; HUMAN CAPITAL, a political thriller from Paolo Virzi (The Leisure Seeker) that was Italy’s Best Foreign Film submission for the 87th Academy Awards® and MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER, an unforgettable documentary about true love that transcends generations and cultures and is South Korea’s most successful film of all time. Classics from the Film Movement catalog include Bille August’s PELLE THE CONQUEROR, an Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 1996 and much more. 

 

About Film Movement

 

Founded in 2002 as one of the first-ever subscription film services with its DVD-of-the-Month club, Film Movement is now a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide.  Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com.