Monthly Archives: January 2020

“UNDER THE RAIN”— Four Men

“UNDER THE RAIN”

Four Men

Amos Lassen

Four men occupy an old building in order to create an artistic project. Mike, the photographer, leads the group while the three other men who are models perform in a session that seems to move from the screenplay into  their lives. As the scene moves forward, Viktor, an artist will go on an impassioned trip through his feelings of doubt, fear and ambition, before climaxing into an erotic burst with the group. This is a story of will and perceptions that could easily reference us and our individual impressions of erotica.

Directed by Noel Alejandro, this is a quite explicit and subversive film that looks at art, career and ambition and I understand that it is autobiographical to a degree as it questions  the boundaries of obscenity and pornography.

It is as if director Alejandro is asking the audience how far he can go. He blends a silent rain, voiced metalinguistics and pure aesthetic erotica to share a story that is both problematic and relatable.

“Under the Rain” is explicit film, but far from porn. It explores erotica as an art form. Drawing on the director’s personal experiences and his perspective on art, ethics, obscenity, pornography, career and ambition, this is a surreal, moody, enigmatic, and arousing piece of work.

It stars Valentin Braun, Anteo Chara, Markus Reid, and Enki Babylon as four men immerse themselves an abandoned building for an art project. The boundaries between fiction and reality are blurred. We are not sure whether the conversations are scripted or real as doubts, fears, ambitions, and passions come to the fore and needs are satisfied. There’s plenty of explicit sex that feels authentic.

Alejandro says that a film, for me, is a journey within his own psychology and malice. The film is based on a concept that has been growing, modifying, and producing during the actual filming and editing.

 

 

 

 

“THE THING ABOUT HARRY”— One to Watch For

“THE THING ABOUT HARRY”

One to Watch For

Amos Lassen

You will undoubtedly remember Peter Paige from “Queer as Folk”. These days he has moved behind the camera with his queer romance “The Thing About Harry” starring Jake Borelli as Sam and Niko Terho as Harry. 

Sam sets out on a road trip from Chicago to attend an engagement party in his small hometown in Missouri. He had once faced bullying there when he bravely came out during high school. He takes the trip with his high school nemesis Harry, a jock who’s is on the road to more self-discovery with Sam. During the course of the trip and a night at a roadside motel, the men develop a bond that promises to become something else. 

The two actors share a sizzling chemistry which is an edge to see how it will all play out.

“SEQUESTRADA” — An Environmental Thriller

“SEQUESTRADA”

An Environmental Thriller

Amos Lassen

“Sequestrada” is an environmental thriller about American investors building an illegal dam in the Amazon. Onscreen titles explain the plight of Brazil’s indigenous tribes, who have been displaced by the construction of river dams since at least 1989. Writers/directors Sabrina McCormick and Soopum Sohn give us a few statistics about the dams’ negative effect on not just the tribes but also on climate change. We meet characters who are real-life members of the Arara tribe, non-actors that are filmed in a loose, consumer-grade HD camera style. McCormick has worked on documentaries and this film feels just as well researched as any documentary. The directors use their material not for documentary purposes but the background for a dramatic thriller attempting to make the real-life issues of the film connect emotionally.

The film  revolves around an ensemble of characters of different social and ethnic backgrounds as it shows the effect of the dams’ construction on everyone. Arara teen Kamodijara (Kamodijara Xipia de Ferreira) is separated from her family while on a shopping trip to Altamira, causing her father (Cristiano G. Nascimento) to worry greatly. After Kamodijara is trafficked to a madam, she’s sold to a local member of the government organization FUNAI, Roberto (Marcelo Olinto). 

A series of circumstances causes the father to believe the American representative of a firm investing in the dam, Thomas (Tim Blake Nelson), is the man who took his daughter and Roberto encourages this as an opportunity to weaken foreign interests in his government’s swindle. Thomas is taken by the father to the Arara’s land where he is  strung up and tortured for something he didn’t do directly but is tangentially connected. The word “sequestrada” means “kidnapped” in Portuguese, and we immediately see the significance of the title, both in its literal meaning as well as the subtext of the larger political issue when people, land, and the environment are being taken against their will. 

However, the story and characters presented blandly. Part of that is due to the clash between untrained and professional actors and the language barrier. Using untrained real-life people to play themselves means that most of the film is improvised, or least written as the film is being made on location. There is a lack of dramatic intent in every scene; most moments feel aimless even if the overall message is clear. The film feels less like a narrative film and more like a lecture.

There’s nuance to the characters and situations that the directors won’t or can’t explore, leaving things like Roberto’s possible pedophilia in kidnapping Kamodijara a bizarre, uncomfortably unresolved element. Nonetheless, I recommend the film and found it interesting in parts and I realize the potential that was missed.

“ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME: IN CONCERT — THE BLU-RAY COLLECTION”

“ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME: IN CONCERT — 

THE BLU-RAY COLLECTION”

The Biggest and Best Video Music Collection Time Life Has Ever Produced

Amos Lassen

 For more than 30 years, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has honored rock music’s greats during annual prestigious black-tie ceremonies which have become nearly as epic as the artists they celebrate. Featuring the biggest names in classic rock from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, as well as once-in-a-lifetime collaborations that can only happen at these very special events, THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME: IN CONCERT – THE BLU-RAY COLLECTION is the biggest and best video music collection Time Life has ever produced. 

Giving home audiences front row seats to the greatest performances from the historic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concerts, this Blu-ray collector’s set – never before available at retail in one comprehensive collection – features nearly 30 hours of entertainment and over 150 unforgettable performances from 2009-2017, as well as historic, irreverent and emotional induction speeches across 6 gleaming discs. Among the iconic acts featured are Alice Cooper, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Electric Light Orchestra, Heart, James Taylor, Journey, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Ringo Starr, Simon and Garfunkel, Sting, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks, Glenn Frey, Green Day, Yes, Bill Withers, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Beastie Boys, Genesis, N.W.A., Randy Newman, Public Enemy and U2. Simply put, if you’re a fan of live classic rock, this is the collection to own. 

Housed in one handsome collector’s case are three distinct Blu-ray collections: Rock Hall In Concert – Encore (2 BD discs), Rock Hall in Concert (2 BD discs), and The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts (2 BD discs):

Housed in one handsome collector’s case are three distinct Blu-ray collections: Rock Hall In Concert – Encore (2 BD discs), Rock Hall in Concert (2 BD discs), and The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts (2 BD discs):

“Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert – Encore” features 44 iconic performances from the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 induction ceremonies. Among the highlights: 

  • The legendary Canadian power trio Rush performing fiery classics Tom Sawyerand The Spirit of Radio for their fervent fans.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers leading a searing all-star jam session of Higher Groundanchored by Slash and Ron Wood.
  • Heart going Crazy on Youbefore being joined onstage by fellow members of Seattle rock royalty from Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
  • Alice Cooper ripping into ferocious versions of Eighteenand Under My Wheels before closing the set with Rob Zombie on School’s Out.
  • The Hurdy Gurdy Man Donovan is joined onstage by John Mellencamp for a chilling performance of Season of the Witch.
  • Hall of Fame induction speeches including Don Henley inducting Randy Newman and Neil Young inducting Tom Waits. 

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert —Features 53 iconic performances from the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 induction ceremonies. Among the highlights: 

  • Bruce Springsteen joining inductees the E Street Band for the deep-cut classic The E Street Shufflefrom the Boss’s second album, from 1973.
  • Legendary grunge-rock group Pearl Jam delivering thundering performances of AliveGiven to Flyand Better Man.
  • The two surviving members of Nirvana joined on stage by Lorde, Annie Clark, Kim Gordon and Joan Jett for emotional renderings of the group’s biggest hits. 
  • Cat Stevens performing a spine-tingling version of Father & Sonthat rendered the massive Barclays Center quiet as a church.
  • Journey performing three classic cuts: Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)Lightsand Don’t Stop Believin’.
  • Hall of Fame induction speeches including Coldplay’s Chris Martin inducting Peter Gabriel and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich inducting Deep Purple 

The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts — On October 29th and 30th, 2009, rock n’ roll royalty held court at Madison Square Garden for what has been called “the mother of all concerts.” Featuring a who’s who of rock from the ’50s to the ’90s, the concerts, as always, included artists performing together in unprecedented combinations that will most likely never be witnessed again. Highlights include: 

  • Mick Jagger and Fergie in a blistering version of the Stones’ classic Gimme Shelter, with U2 
  • Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel on-stage for a rollicking rendition of Born to Run.
    Sting joins Jeff Beck for the Curtis Mayfeld classic People Get Ready.
  • Paul Simon, David Crosby and Graham Nash join together for a spine-tingling Here Comes the Sun.
  • Ozzy Osbourne sings with Metallica on the Black Sabbath classics Iron Manand Paranoid.
  • John Fogerty & Bruce Springsteen share vocals on Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman.

“WINTER FLIES”— A Road Trip

“WINTER FLIES”

A Road Trip

Amos Lassen

Two kids go on a road trip in this coming-of-age movie that has no borders. Directed by Olmo Omerzu, we see what happens when our travelers decide to leave the world behind instead.

The wiry, skin headed street smart but slightly world-weary Mara (Tomáš Mrvík) and the younger, pudgy but permanently positive Hedus (Jan František Uher) never share why they decide to take off giving us a  realistic sense of kids doing things on a whim or just for the hell of it.  The story is partly told in flashback after Mara finds himself in a police station being grilled by an  unsympathetic officer (Lenka Vlasakova).

As we hear of adventures with Hedus, including the acquisition of a dog and a heady encounter with a female hitchhiker (Eliska Krenkova) we see how he Mara spins the stories to best effect. Mrvík and Uher are a charming double-act and their bonding is unforced and totally believable. Mrvík moves from being hard-bitten and borderline adult to a much more vulnerable teen as required.

The title presumably refers to those that have refused to be cowed by seasonal colder weather and are attempting to make the very best of harsh conditions. There is a look at the snowy environs and the metaphor relates directly to the two teenage runaways. Much like flies, they’re considered unwanted pests, but prove hardy and robust – perhaps even thriving  as they travel over the Czech Republic in their stolen Audi.

We see adults without compassion and empathy: a man attempts to drown his dog in a lake; they encounter a would-be rapist; two small-town cops show their true colors – one is manipulative and one is unfaithful. In the face of this adversity, they retreat into boyish fantasies with Mára sharing tales of sexual prowess while Heduš imagines their future in the French Foreign Legion. When Mára first picks him up, he’s hiding in roadside bushes in full camouflage shooting pellets at passing cars.

They slowly building relationship is what provides the charm at the film’s core and they form a perhaps unlikely bond as they first rescue the dog (naming him ‘Jackal’) and then pick up an attractive older hitchhiker, Brána who they both have comically naïve designs on. A night around a campfire ends with Brána and Jackal curled up together in the locked car and Mára and Heduš sharing a sleeping bag in the cold. Even after an argument that sees them split up and Mára incarcerated for driving without a license yet they still have each other’s backs.

The characters make “Winter Flies” work, and in particular Mára’s spell in a police station across the country from his home. His interrogation is dotted throughout the main narrative which appears as in flashback and it’s these scenes through which we come to understand his situation. In another heart-rending scene, Mára begs for information about his sick grandfather, his idol, who he and Heduš found collapsed at home when they stopped by for a visit. The two boys’ resilience in conquering the hardships of winter keeps them in good stead.

The protagonists are 12 and “almost 15” and it is very clear they aren’t rich kids rebelling against their bourgeois parents either. The cold, damp and largely colorless countryside feels real while doubling as a kind of metaphorical no man’s land through which the boys must travel to reach adulthood.

The film from Film Movement comes with a bonus short Lithuanian film “Jackie” (Directed by Giedrius Tamosevicius). Tom’s parental rights are restricted. He can see his daughter Urte only in the child protection agency’s office in the presence of a supervisor and his ex-wife. Tom can’t come to terms with the situation and decides to kidnap his daughter. 

“WE”— Aimless Youth

 

“WE”

Aimless Youth

Amos Lassen

Artsploitation Films has released “We”,  a controversial film, directed by Rene Eller. It gives us quite a look at “a group of youths and their summer of illicit fun.” It is adapted from the novel “Wij” by Elvis Peeters.

We meet eight privileged and bored suburban teens begin to pull a series of harmless pranks which quickly escalate into games that become more and more depraved. The tees go from innocence to ruthless predators, becoming involved in arson, prostitution, pornography, assault and blackmail. We see a lot of flesh and naked nihilism here.

Director Eller’s portrayal of hedonistic youth has something to say about collective identity. We see this generation’s worst impulses are on display, suggesting that the larger ‘we’ of modern society is also inclined to destruction and debauchery. This depravity comes out of widespread emotional disconnect that brings us to question if  a collective ‘we’ can even exist today is these “lonely, narcissistic times.” The reality we see here is  based in cold exchanges of capital and instant gratification. People are disinterested in anything beyond pleasure and power.

The film’s fractured, nonlinear narrative presents the same escalating series of events from four different perspectives, each less sane than the last. The repeated scene of four teenage girls flashing motorists on a highway first shows only the group’s silly response to the distracted drivers. It then later shows the fatal consequences of their lurid distraction. With each narrative cycle, the film goes further into the illicit schemes and escapades of the eight central characters and this climaxes with the depraved power trip of the group’s sociopathic ringleader, Thomas.

What begins as a familiar adolescent social life of rebellion and sexual experimentation becomes more dangerous as the largely eight set up a teen brothel while documenting their services in order to blackmail their older clients. We see little regard for the wellbeing of outsiders. They go so far to  steal and abuse an old woman’s dog for no reason other than the thrill of doing something awful and the cruelty is also directed internally. The film’s uncensored scenes of genital-centric games and polygamous relationships seem to suggest an atmosphere of sexual liberation yet there is a clear gender hierarchy within the group and we see this when one of the prostitutes is made to undergo a crude abortion.

The film captures a post-modern numbness to the world that allows the characters to callously take part in despicable acts with little, if any, remorse. The film also shows how the older inhabitants of the village community are susceptible to corruption (most directly through the subplot of a local politician who regularly enjoys visits to the teen brothel).  Because there is no cultural context for the characters’ degenerate activities, “We” is simply a sensationalist work that often relies on the isolated, parent-baiting shock of its darkest scenes.

The simplicity of Eller’s vision is what gives the film its power as it does not allow the audience any idea of closure. The young and the old are in competition over who can be the exploiter rather than the exploited. There are no moments of reflection and no solutions to be found – and that is where the film’s true provocation lies.

This is not a n easy film to watch especially for parents with children in their teens. It is, however, interesting, daring and provocative. I am certain that it would have been banned outright a few decades ago.

“Later: My Life at the Edge of the World” by Paul Lisicky— Community, Identity and Sexuality

Lisicky, Paul, “Later: My Life at the Edge of the World”, Graywolf Press , 2020.

Community, Identity and Sexuality

Amos Lassen

I have been reading Paul Lisicky since before I began reviewing. I suppose what drew me to him is that he is a gay Jewish man of my generation and some of his life experiences mirrored my own and that he was one of the few who dared to write down and share them with us. In “Later”, we read of community, identity, and sexuality at a time in which we were all very vulnerable. Lisicky came to Provincetown as a young writer after leaving his own history of family trauma. He felt that not only did he want to live in a place that was known for its inclusion, acceptance and art but also because he wanted to move from the past to the present in surroundings where he would be accepted for who he is. It was the 1990s during the AIDS crisis when all of us wanted to feel accepted and that we belonged somewhere. On one hand our community was being devastated by the terrible disease and on the other hand we came together attempting to outlive the horrors that were happening to gay men. Provincetown was our Garden of Eden but then it was being consumed by the AIDS crisis causing the structure of town life to change and we could not all help but wonder if the town with such a large gay population would survive.

We were all afraid back then. I was lucky enough to be living out of the country at the height of the AIDS epidemic but I was constantly receiving news of who was gone and during one visit to my hometown of New Orleans, I realized that all of the gay men I had been friendly with before I left America were gone. “Later” reminded me of that visit and it is hard to think about Provincetown knowing that there were so many gay people living and dying there. We were all worried that our time was coming. We could no longer take life as a given and in order to stay alive, we were forced to be vigilant of and attentive to everything we did.

I love how Lisicky “explores the body, queerness, love, illness, community, and belonging in “Later’.” He brings us to tears and to smiles and we each learn something about who we are and that it is truly miraculous that we are alive and can look back. Candor and tenderness come together as we read of the writer finding his place. I am amazed that his beautiful words made me realize that I have also found my place. It is through Lisicky’s words that I looked at life in ways I had forgotten and reminded me that we can never forget the epidemic that took so many beautiful people from us along with many of our own feelings of self-worth. He has written an elegy to a time that was and a nostalgic memoir of living through the period. It was a time that we want to forget but cannot allow ourselves to do so. In sharing his life with us, we see that Lisicky is part of the lives of those he knew and lost and of those who stayed alive.

 

“THE ISRAELI BOYS”— Six Short Israeli/Gay Films

“THE ISRAELI BOYS”

Six Short Israeli/Gay Films

Amos Lassen

Many of you know that I lived in Israel for many years. While there I was somewhat involved in the Israeli film industry and I remember all to well that most Israelis would not go to see films from their own country and this was because they had the reputation of being silly. In the last twenty years that has changed tremendously and there has been a huge change with many films from Israel being considered critical darlings.

We do not often get to see short films unless we go to film festivals. NQV Media is changing that by bringing us anthologies of short films from various countries and so far we have had “The Danish Boys” and “The Latin Boys” with more coming soon. NQV also has a series of shorts in their male gaze series. Those that I have seen are superior in production values and they just keep getting better. I anxiously awaited “The Israeli Boys” and it lived up to beyond my expectations. Having lived through the period when Israeli finally came to accept its LGBTQ citizens, I was surprised at how bold there films are but then again, Israel has become a go-to stop for LGBTQ travelers and Tel Aviv Pride has become a place to be.

“THREE” (“Shlosha”) directed by Lior Soroka tells of Udi,

a young architect from Tel Aviv who agrees to go along with his partner Nimrod’s proposal to have a threesome with another man. This causes Udi to question his relationship with Nimrod.

Directors Nizan Lotem and Lior Haen’s “A TRIP TO THE DESERT” is the story of three best friends who take a trip to the desert where their friendship is put to the test. Lior, who is openly gay, and religious Jew Elad, suddenly have to face each other’s life choices. And then there is Yossi…

I had already seen “RUBBER DOLPHIN” from director Ori Aharon (there is a longer review elsewhere on this site). It is a gay love story set in a one-bedroom apartment in Tel Aviv where two guys meet, have sex and fall in love— at least for the night. Will it last until the morning?

“AUTUMN” (“STAV”) from director Michal Haggiag is about a young woman who is looking for a teen she’s responsible for as part of her volunteer work. As she searches, she discovers a lifestyle totally foreign to her.

“AFTER HIS DEATH”, another film directed by  Lior Soroka looks at Ayelet who learns. after her father passes away, that he had an affair with another man. Although her mother disapproves, she decides to meet her father’s lover. We gain insight  into how different two generations in one family can be.

Director Moshe Rosenthal’s “LEAVE OF ABSENCE” looks at Meir who, after a misfortune with some male grooming products, finds himself on a night out with a few of his former students. The film explores moving past middle age and is an introspective look at delicate masculinity.

This is a collection you do not want to miss and is a wonderful introduction to NQV media if you have not yet experienced their films.

 

“IN FULL BLOOM: TRANSCENDING GENDER”— Courageous Journeys

“IN FULL BLOOM: TRANSCENDING GENDER”

Courageous Journeys

Amos Lassen

Michael Brewer’s “In Full Bloom: Transcending Gender“ follows the journeys of thirteen transgender and two gay actors as they transform their lives through the use of monologue, dialogue and performance art while preparing for the world premiere of an original stage play.

We go behind-the-scenes, to rehearsals and see performance footage interwoven with candid personal interviews with the cast, who talk about how they deal with family, inner conflicts, discrimination, coming out, surgery, hormones and the complexities of sexual identity and orientation. As they share their own journeys, the actors transcend transgender and challenge us to go past stereotypes and see what we all have in common as human beings.

The stage play that they work on and perform, “Lovely Bouquet of Flowers: An Exploration of Non-Traditional Gender Voices,” by Jazzmun Nichcala and director, David Hays Gaddas” is the focus here.

Stereotypes are deep-seated and difficult to overcome (I define stereotypes as widely accepted lies), and this film will help to dispel some of the mystery surrounding transgender issues while shedding light on the beauty of diversity. The documentary humanizes the trans community against a backdrop of media that often sensationalize or poke fun.

Telling these stories normalizes the transgender community by “show[ing] what similarities they have with mid-America.” “Everyone wants to be loved, and I hope that comes through in the documentary.”

Fifteen characters embody the diversity and the sameness of the transgender community. We see how complex and diverse these people are and how much depth there is to them.

Although “In Full Bloom” takes on multiple issues — homelessness, religion, familial support, body enhancement, it is light-hearted as it plays out as an honest portrayal of trans experiences. The people in the film are funny, but what they say is so important.

We are all the same; we have the same emotions and issues that transcend gender, race and everything else. “Wherever you are in life, we can all identify on some level.”

This documentary gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of a marginalized segment of our society that is not well known or understood. Polls show that only less than two percent of Americans personally know someone of transgender experience. Most people get their information about people of transgender experience from the mainstream media, which, in the past, has sensationalized and minimized trans stories and trans lives. The time has come to change that and that is what this film does.

 

 

“GARDEN OF THE STARS”— An Enchanting Final Resting Place

“GARDEN OF THE STARS”

An Enchanting Final Resting Place

Amos Lassen

Bernd Bossmann swings himself up on a tree every Sunday morning to meditate. This tree is his “antenna for the universe” and is in a public cemetery, the old St. Matthäus churchyard in Berlin-Schöneberg. Children sit on the benches below and learn from their educators about dying. Not far away are the Brothers Grimm, from whose stories Pasquale Plastino and Stéphane Riethauser borrowed the narrative thread of their documentary.

Bossmann was a lot in his life. In 1984, the trained nurse and psychiatric nurse came to Berlin and mixed the scene under the pseudonyms Ichgola Androgyn, Theodor van den Boom and Kläre Grube solo or in various groups as an actor, cabaret artist, drag queen and gay activist. In the meantime he also works as an undertaker, who accompanies the relatives of the “star children” in their mourning. He has also been operating the first German cemetery café since 2006. He left gay life in the 1990s when realizing that all of his friends were dead and all under the age of 40. His friend and colleague Christoph Josten aka Ovo Maltine is one of them and lies in the community grave that he and his artist colleagues bought.

Directors Plastino and Riethauser deliberately built the Garden of Stars around Bossmann and his workplace. Apart from him, nobody has a say, archive material reminds us of old days. Then Bossmann & Co included Rosa von Praunheim and Michael Brynntrup. Now Bossmann pleads for a new sepulchral culture that sees cemeteries as living places where children’s laughter replaces silence. He considers death itself to be something really great, the “New Year’s Eve of our life”, as Bossmann calls it.

Cemeteries are very serious places. Places where you only sneak with your head down, as if you don’t want to see anyone, not seen. Bossmann takes a completely different view. He was always used to others looking at him when he appeared as one of his characters or as an activist for the gay scene. When he dies, he doesn’t think much of looking ashamedly away. Death is part of life and should be treated as such. Grief is necessary as are cakes, dance and laugher. Because everyone is equal before death.

Singer and actress Zazie de Paris reads Grimm’s fairy tale “Gevatter Tod”, which gives “Garden of the Stars” its frame. The Grimm Brothers are also buried in the Berlin cemetery, the setting for this documentary. “The Godfather Death” is the name of this fairy tale and it is read aloud at the beginning and is taken up again and again during the following sixty minutes. It is something like the constant in a film that is not going to unravel. Instead, every topic is touched on here, which somehow has to do with the cemetery, said garden or Bossmann himself.

No one in Germany had ever thought of opening a café in a cemetery as Bossmann did. Everyone thought he was crazy when he talked about this plan. But he had to do it and he did.

Of course, many people are buried in the cemetery. Bossmann also looks after funerals of a different kind here. He takes the view that people have to deal with death and funerals openly. Little children should have a name so that the parents can say goodbye and siblings should also be here, precisely because they are often not taken seriously during mourning. Death is too serious for that. Children grieve too, but in their own way. His rules on how and when to mourn, would not make many people happy.

There are many topics to take  from “The Garden of Stars.” The topic of death is bigger than the others. We learn about those who died from the LGBT community, many of whom have found their final resting place in the cemetery. Despite the actually morbid surroundings, we are relaxed as we watch this, feel-good documentary that is as colorful and varied as life. Bossmann does not serve the cemetery in any official capacity— it’s simply that he has found where he belongs.  As well as running the Cafe and being the Custodian of the Garden, he is happy to give tours to groups of school children.